ASHFORD – Rehobeth kicked off its 2019 season in style. The Rebels snapped their school-record 16-game losing streak with a convincing 36-22 victory over the Ashford Yellow Jackets.
“Somebody asked me where these players came from,” ecstatic second-year Rehobeth head coach Donny Gillian said outside the Rebels locker room. “They’re the same players who couldn’t win a game last year. They were baptized by fire last year.”
Senior running back Cameron Hovey ran for four touchdowns as the Rebels’ offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, moved the chains, ran the clock and gradually wore down the Jackets. Hovey scored on runs of 2, 2, 7 and 4 yards. He had with 49 yards on 12 carries through midway in the fourth quarter, but was even tougher near the goal line.
Rehobeth fullback Brandon Austin was actually leading the Rebels with 65 yards on 10 carries through the middle of the fourth quarter.
It was a statement performance by the Rebels’ offensive line – Nathan Jueckstock, Spencer Carpenter, Zayne Littlefield, Jose Comparan and Avian Vickers.
It was Rehobeth’s first victory since the Rebels defeated Booker T. Washington 28-8 on Sept. 15, 2017.
The Rebels brought the thunder and Ashford brought the lightning throughout an entertaining first half.
The Yellow Jackets scored on their opening possession when, facing third-and-10 from the Ashford 46, quarterback Deshontae Kirkland hit wide receiver Kehion Walker in stride behind the defense for a 54-yard touchdown strike. The try for two failed, but Ashford led 6-0 with 8:08 left in the first quarter.
Rehobeth went three-and-out on its first two possessions but took advantage of an Ashford special teams mistake to get good field position. Walker dropped a Yellow Jackets punt snap and the Rebels started on the Ashford 41.
The visitors covered that in seven plays. Hovey gained 13 yards on the first play. Austin gained 11 more on the next. The Rebels kept the march alive when quarterback Jay Trawick gained four yards on a sneak over right guard on fourth-and-1 from the 8.
An offsides penalty – one of several the Yellow Jackets were called for – moved it to the 2. Hovey pounded off right tackle on the next play for the touchdown. His extra point failed and the game stayed tied 6-all with 8 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Rebels seemed to take command of the line of scrimmage for most of the second quarter. They marched 10 plays – all on the ground – to take the lead. Austin picked up 25 yards early in the 82-yard drive. Tristan Yount gained six yards and had 15 added on by a personal foul penalty. Treshaun Turner had a 9-yard carry inside the Ashford 10 and gained five more to the 2.
Hovey took it in for his second 2-yard TD run of the game. A facemask penalty moved the 2-point try up and Trawick scored on a sneak that made it 14-6 with just over five minutes left in the half.
Ashford fought back with its back against the wall. Facing third-and-22 from his own 12, quarterback Caleb Smith found John Luke Lasseter on a deep slant for 25 yards and a first down. Kirkland, who started at quarterback and moved to the backfield, carried twice to midfield.
Three plays later, Smith kept the drive alive with a 9-yard completion to Stelan Griffin on third-and-5. Smith found Lasseter on another slant for 21 yards and a first down at the Rehobeth 20. As the first half clock dipped inside a minute, Smith threw a fade pass on third-and-7 at the 17 for Walker, who caught his second TD pass of the game.
The two-point play, a Kirkland pass to Colin Still, tied the game at 14 with 23 seconds left in the half.
The game turned in the first minute of the second half. Ashford took the kickoff, but the Yellow Jackets fumbled on a big collision in the backfield on their second play from scrimmage. Trycon McHellon scooped it up and raced 30 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The two-point play made it 22-14 with 11:01 left in the third.
Ashford turned it over near midfield on downs on its next possession. A deep pass on fourth down fell incomplete when Walker went down with what appeared to be a cramping issue. The Rebels then marched 56 yards in 11 plays, a steady march capped by Hovey’s 7-yard run for a 28-14 lead on a drive that took 7:26 off the clock.
Rehobeth then recovered an onside kick that Ashford touched but couldn’t control. The Rebels kept it nearly half of the fourth quarter before Hovey again scored on a 4-yard run. Turner added the two-point run and it was 36-14 with 7:41 left in the game.
Ashford’s Kirkland capped a long Yellow Jackets touchdown drive with a 5-yard pass to Griffin with 3:09. The two-point conversion made it 36-22.