Big Showdown in Gastonia

Last week, four teams – Ashbrook, South Point, Forestview and East Gaston – in the Big South 3A were in the race for the conference title. This week, it's just Ashbrook, Forestview and South Point.

East Gaston fell out last week losing 35-21 to Ashbrook which marked their second conference loss of the year. Forestview suffered their first loss in the conference last week as they were knocked off by South Point. South Point – like Forestview - is 3-1 with a loss to current front-runner, Ashbrook.

Ashbrook is now the only team left unbeaten in conference play, but that could change tonight as they travel to face cross-town rival Forestview.

Forestview was a co-champ of the BS3A in 2001 tying with South Point at 5-1, but have never won an outright title. Ashbrook hasn't won a conference title since 2000 before falling down from 4A to 3A. Both teams are hungry for this one.

Ashbrook has a chance to win an outright conference title with a win over Forestview, but the Jaguars of Forestview have other ideas. If Forestview wins, then the conference title will be split between Ashbrook, Forestview and South Point.

The conference has never been this tight before in its four-year history. For the past couple of years, it's been all South Point with Ashbrook at second. In 2001, it would have been North Gaston and South Point had it not been for the Wildcats' six forfeit losses. Instead, it was South Point and Forestview.

This year, however, South Point may lose their claim on it if the Green Wave wins. That would be the first time in six years that South Point hasn't won a conference championship. South Point already had their 16 conference game winning streak snapped by Ashbrook two weeks ago and would not want to see the title go as well.

The winner of this match-up will definitely be determined by who turns the ball over the least. When South Point played Ashbrook, the Red Raiders lost three interceptions and three fumbles while Ashbrook only lost just one fumble.

In the Forestview/South Point game, it was mostly the Jaguars that were doing the giving. The Jaguars outnumber the Red Raiders in turnovers 5 to 3. Two of those turnovers resulted in South Point touchdowns.

The last time that Forestview had a turnover free game was against East Lincoln as the Jaguars routed the Mustangs 34-14 in Denver. After that game, Forestview had three turnovers against North Gaston and probably would have lost the game had it not been for an interception returned for a touchdown. Then, there were those five against South Point the last week.

Forestview will have to cut down on the mistakes that they have been making over the past couple of games because Ashbrook has taken full advantage of their opponents' mistakes over the past four weeks.

The Green Wave forced five turnovers on East Gaston last week and six on South Point the week before. Ashbrook may do the same to Forestview this week if Forestview does not handle the ball carefully.

With so much on the line, this match-up will undoubtedly be Gaston County's Game of the Week.


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