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Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Ashwood gets second chance with Tigers

Published on -4/30/2012, 10:18 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Last Monday, the Fort Hays State University wide receivers and defensive backs engaged in a one-on-one drill at one end of Lewis Field Stadium. Wide receivers coach and ace recruiter Al McCray ran the drill and provided constant energy, motivation and some loud trash talking in between passes. The players did the same, depending on whether the wide receiver or defensive back made the play.

Junior defensive back Andreas Ashwood participated in the drill with several plays -- and plenty of back and forth with his teammates. It's a drill Ashwood remembers vividly when he played high school football at Hillsborough (Fla.) and had McCray as his coach sophomore year.

"It just brings back memories," he said. "...Awesome experience just having him here with us. He knows my father personally. The only bad thing is that he gives me a lot of (static). But it's all in fun."

Several years later, McCray and Fort Hays now represent a second chance for Ashwood, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound talented cornerback who has encountered several obstacles before and during his time at FHSU. Ashwood played in 20 games with two starts at NCAA Division I University of Toledo (Ohio). Then, Ashwood was kicked off the team for what he called "one thing here, another thing there," events that are now "in the past."

He is now part of a strong group of defensive backs that includes junior Sherod Murdock -- another Florida product who McCray coached in high school and is now starting in his second chance for the Tigers -- and senior Keke Paul, a returning all-MIAA honorable mention selection. On Saturday, Ashwood played in Fort Hays' annual spring game at Lewis Field Stadium.

"You are worried at first," second-year coach Chris Brown said of giving a player another opportunity. "You are happy they have grown up and straightened up and done things the right way. You bring them in and talk to them and give them your expectations and tell them that if you don't meet those expectations, then we are going to let you go. It's pretty cut and dried on what they can and can't do."

"Those two kids (Ashwood and Murdock) have come in and done a good job and done everything that we have asked them to do," he added. "Haven't had any trouble. They work hard and they are competitive. They've got great attitudes here. Love them to death. They are like my own kids."

McCray has brought multiple Florida natives and former Division I prospects with troubled pasts to Hays and made them strong football players and better people. That includes wideout O.J. Murdock, a 2010 Tiger All-American, and his brother, Sherod, who spent the first part of his career at the University of Pittsburgh before found a new home with the Tigers.

Sherod Murdock is one of FHSU's vocal leaders after he had 38 tackles, five tackles for loss and two interceptions last fall. Ashwood is another McCray recruit. He calls Fort Hays "a blessing" and a "neat experience."

"This is my second chance -- and my last chance," Ashwood said. "I am going to make the most of it. I am very grateful for Al giving me the opportunity to have a second chance and I am grateful for Coach Brown for taking me on."

Yet Ashwood couldn't play last year because he had academic trouble. Ashwood said he failed one class and couldn't play.

"It was so hard, because all I had to do was go to class," he said. "I missed a couple days here and there and that couple days transferred to a whole season of me not playing on the field."

While some transfers would leave if they couldn't play, Ashwood stayed in Hays because of McCray and the other Tampa players on the Tigers. He has improved in the classroom this year and will take some summer classes to give him "some cushion." Ashwood is expected to be eligible in the fall.

"I really think it was Coach Al and a lot of hometown people, because we have about four people from Tampa here and I have never been a quitter, so if I would have not been able to play and then just quit, where would I be now?," Ashwood said. "I have got too much pride just to quit. I want to play for my brothers. I want to play for Al. I want to play for Brown. I want to play for the people of Hays, the people that I go to school with, so that's why I stayed."

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