By KYLE LOVERN
RED JACKET – Ashton Cline made history Wednesday afternoon becoming the first football player from Mingo Central to receive a scholarship to play in college.
Cline signed a letter of intent to attend Emory and Henry College located in Virginia. A signing ceremony was held in the MCHS auditorium with the Miner’s football team in attendance, his parents and the administration.
Cline, who started at quarterback for the Miners, will play in the upcoming North-South All-star game in Charleston. The all-state performer also played defensive back and punted for head coach Yogi Kinder’s team.
Cline started at quarterback as a freshman at Gilbert High School for coach Gordon Carter. He played there during his first three years before the consolidation.
“He is a fine young man, one of the best I’ve been around in all of my years of coaching,” Kinder said. “His best football is ahead of him. I wish we had him for another year. He is a good person, which is even more important than the football aspect. That’s what it is all about.”
“I like their coaches and I felt more comfortable down there,” Cline said of his decision. Cline picked Emory and Henry over Fairmont State, Concord and other WVIAC colleges.
“It’s a small college and I think it’s made for me,” Cline said.
Cline said the coaches told him he would punt this year, but he is not sure whether they will use him on offense or defense. “I prefer to play on offense,” Cline added. “I think they are going to try me at different positions. I just want to play.”
Cline is also an honor roll student and had a GPA of 3.5.
“Ashton represents the kind of young man we are trying to recruit, both on and off the field,” said Stan Hodge, Emory and Henry’s offensive coordinator said.
“Recruiting players with character is important. Ashton is a role model,” Hodge told the assembly of Cline’s teammates.
Cline thanked his coaches, teammates and briefly talked about the memories he would have of working out with them, the tough practices and the games they played together.
Located in the Virginia Highlands, the Emory and Henry central campus encompasses 168 pristine acres and is surrounded by an additional 167 undeveloped acres and the village of Emory. The entire central campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Register of Historic Landmarks.
The athletic programs at the Virginia school play in Division III and claim a long winning tradition in one of the nation’s toughest conferences, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Their football team has won 11 conference championships and draws some of the largest crowds, according to the school’s web-site.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com)