The annual Purple And Gold Spring Game was contested on Saturday (April 13) at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field, and utilizing a modified scoring system, the Eagle defense defeated the AU offense, 52-50.
Soon-to-be junior defensive end Aidan Ammons, a transfer from Heidelberg seeing his first game action as an Eagle, earned Gridiron Club Defensive Player of the Game honors by recording six tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks.
"This is the best I could have imagined, honestly," Ammons said. "I've struggled a lot of this spring, but things have been pieced together. I'm really grateful for what I've done today."
Gridiron Club Offensive Player of the Game honors went to senior-to-be quarterback Jacob Heath, who finished 9-for-14 for 110 yards and a touchdown.
In terms of regular scoring, Ashland's offense posted 10 first-quarter points on a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Austin Brenner to tight end Ben Fago, and a 37-yard Satchel Denton field goal. The Eagles added single touchdowns each in the second and third quarters on touchdown passes of five yards from quarterback Zane Ries to tight end Michael Schweitzer, and 30 yards from Heath to wide receiver Dakota McPeak.
The fourth quarter saw Denton nail a 28-yard field goal, then Brenner added eight points on a TD toss of a yard to fullback Hunter Williams, and a two-point conversion pass to wide receiver Justin Davis.
"It was a good day," Brenner said. "There's always things that we need to work on going into the summer and going into camp."
Tailback Nick Arnold led the running game with 62 yards on 17 carries, while Schweitzer and wide receiver Garrett Turnbaugh each caught five passes. On defense, whip Ryan Coleman collected a game-high eight tackles and an interception.
"We're doing some things really good, on both sides of the ball," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. "We're really thin right now, there's no question about that. We've got to get healed up and get some more freshmen in here to fill in. We're going to be a pretty good football team.
"I think they had some fun out there with the new format."
At halftime on the field, Kay Jenney was recognized as the 2019 Gridiron Club Golden Helmet Award winner, former Eagle wide receiver Jeff Grubich was announced as the 2019 Dr. Fred Martinelli Coach of the Year, and former Eagle All-American Dominic Giunta was announced, as he was added to the Troop Center's Hall of Champions prior to the game.
Also at the half, those honored on the field included faculty and staff guest coaches, Ashland's 39 All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference academic award winners, 2018 Academic All-Americans Travis Downing and Isaiah Stiverson (also a 2018 GLIAC Commissioner's Award recipient), junior linebacker Clay Shreve as the winner of the Lee Owens Academic Award, and the program's 2018's first- and second-team All-GLIAC performers.
In pre-game, it was announced that the AU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has raised enough money over the last two years to grant a wish to Tyler Phillips, a 16-year-old Ashlander who battled cancer. This summer, Phillips and his family will go to Key West, Florida, for a dolphin experience.
Saturday's honorary coaches were Ralph Tomassi and Dr. John Flora.
"It's what we're all about here," Owens said. "We're a program with great history. We just have to take time to recognize and honor these people."