With Ashe County officially kicking off the 2012 season this week with a nonconference bout against the West Caldwell Warriors, here is a game-by-game breakdown of the next 11 weeks of high school football.
Aug. 17 @West Caldwell
To say the Warriors of West Caldwell High will try to avenge last season's 41-6 shellacking in West Jefferson would be an understatement. The Warriors will be looking for redemption at every corner as the squad went winless in 2011. The Huskies will look to continue West Caldwell's dismal stretch to kick off a new campaign.
Aug. 24 @Watauga
Ashe will attempt a challenge several classes have not accomplished: beat archrival Watauga. In 13 seasons of this series, the Huskies have only once beaten the Pioneers. The Pioneers drubbed Ashe County last season 32-14 at home.
Aug. 31, North Surry
After what are sure to be two tough road games to open the season, the Huskies will be tested again by North Surry to begin the home slate. Last season, the Greyhounds beat Ashe 33-24 in Toast.
Sept. 7, Elkin (Parent Night)
The Huskies open up Mountain Valley Conference play against much improved Elkin. Ashe defeated the Buckin' Elks 28-14 last year, but Elkin looks to return to the upper echelons in the Yadkin Valley.
Sept. 14 @Starmount
The gauntlet of play in the MVC doesn't relent for Ashe in the fifth week. The Huskies will try to avenge a 51-6 beating in 2011 against the defending conference champs. Ashe County will hope a depleted Rams' backfield — thanks to graduation — will reverse the tide in the MVC.
Sept. 21, West Wilkes (Homecoming)
The stakes will be higher for Ashe's Homecoming showdown against the archrival West Wilkes Blackhawks. Last season, the Hawks held the Huskies scoreless on a rain-soaked field thanks to a pregame monsoon that stifled Ashe County's running backs, while leaving West virtually unfazed.
Sept. 28 @North Wilkes
There are no cupcake or easy games in the MVC, but the North Wilkes Vikings haven't exactly tested the Huskies in recent years. Ashe routed North 34-7 the last time these two teams face off, but the Huskies can expect a tougher challenge from the Vikings as conference action will turn up a notch in late September.
Oct. 5, Alleghany
The Alleghany High Trojans will be looking for their first victory against the Huskies since joining the conference in 2010. Last year, Ashe rolled past Alleghany 35-12. Ashe looks to continue this lopsided tradition.
Oct. 12 @Wilkes Central
Records matter little when these rivals take the field. If conference titles or playoff implications are not on the line, pride and bragging rights will be. The Ashe/Wilkes Central rivalry has brought some of the most heart stopping action in the MVC since the mid 2000s. The Eagles outlasted the Huskies 29-14 last year on a chilly evening in West Jefferson. Ashe has not defeated Central since 2009.
Oct. 19, Forbush (Senior Night)
The Huskies hope to send this year's platoon of seniors off with a win against the Forbush Falcons in another MVC showdown. Ashe escaped East Bend last season with a 16-11 win.
Oct. 26 @East Wilkes
For the past three seasons, Ashe County has ended its football campaigns against the Cardinals of East Wilkes. Each conference finale has also carried heavy playoff repercussions including Ashe's 2010 goal line stand that propelled them into the 2010 2-A State Playoffs. The Huskies hope to have a postseason birth secured before Week 11.