Ashton Ashford put on a special performance during Ramsay's 41-20 victory over Charles Henderson in the AHSAA Class 5A football championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He also had a lot of help from his teammates.

"This year has been really, really special, and we have a great group of guys," said Ramsay head coach Ronnie Jackson, who was also part of the coaching staff on the 2016 state championship team.

Ashford put on one of the most memorable performances in championship game history. He carried the ball 44 of the 48 running plays for the Rams. He gained 281 yards and scored five touchdowns. In the first half alone, he had a game's worth of carries (26) and yards (176).

Over and over and over, he ran straight at and straight through the Trojans' defense.

"It was like a punch in the face every time he touched it because we knew we couldn't stop it," said Charles Henderson senior linebacker Damien Hart said.

Ashford said afterward that he never got tired during the game. He also was thankful.

"It's big for me," Ashford said. "I want to thank my O-line, and I want to thank my coach for putting the ball in my hand."

The Ramsay defense, which has been the reason for the Rams' success in many games this season, also came up with a pair of game-altering plays.

The first came when QB Reese, who could be the state's top linebacker, grabbed an interception that set up Ashford's 8-yard touchdown run that gave Ramsay a 27-13 lead in the second half. The other was a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jermaine Foy to give Ramsay a 34-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Marquel Patterson led Ramsay with 13 tackles, and James Jones had three pass breakups.

Charles Henderson quarterback Parker Adams pointed the finger of blame at himself.

"Losing the game was pretty hurtful, I threw two picks, and I take blame for it," Adams said. "I'm going to use that pain as motivation during the offseason and hopefully come back stronger for my senior year."

Adams, the team's leader throughout the season, threw for touchdown passes of 64 and 34 yards to standout receiver Jywon Boyd.

Despite the outcome on Thursday night, it was a tremendous season for a Charles Henderson team that returns the bulk of the contributors. The Trojans were making the school's first championship game appearance since 2013 and trying to win the first title since 1980.

"Nobody in this room besides these four men thought we would be in this room," said Charles Henderson head coach Quinn Hambrite. "This senior class has led us to where we are now, and we are going to build on that. I love them to death."

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