The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 10, 2013

Ashburn quite a catch

Jefferson standout will be heading to Mercyhurst in the fall

The Jefferson football team did something many people didn’t see coming heading into the 2012 season — the Falcons threw.

Jefferson coach Jimmy Henson let first-year starting quarterback Tony Chiacchiero air the ball out, which led 22 touchdown strikes and a plethora of yards.

On the receiving end of 31 of Chiacchiero’s tosses was Kyle Ashburn. Ashburn racked up 502 yards receiving and an impressive 16.2 yards per reception in scoring 66 points for the Falcons, second only to running back Scott Davidson.

In an offense that allowed him to showcase his talents, Ashburn will take those talents to Mercyhurst next year where he will continue his education and football career.

“I liked the location a lot, there was a lot of job placement for my major and the coaching staff really stuck out to me,” he said. “The coaches seemed the most eager to get me on campus and show me around. The campus is great because it’s located in Erie, so it has all the benefits of being close to Erie and the city.

“But when you’re on campus, you’re secluded and not in the city so it has a good college feel.”

Coming from a program that is on the rise, Jefferson is 15-5 over the past two seasons, Ashburn is going to another program that is rolling.

Mercyhurst went 9-2 last season and much like Falcons, “They’re definitely on the rise,” he said.

Being part of a Jefferson program that seems to have turned the corner of success was a great experience for the talented receiver.

“It was a great feeling,” he said. “Having two winning seasons like that, turning it around for the long run, hopefully next year’s team can continue the success. It’ll be great to look back and say we’re the ones that started the tradition.”

While he’s expected to play receiver at the next level, Ashburn is no slouch on the opposite side of the ball.

He was named the 2012 Star Beacon Ashtabula County Defensive Back of the Year.

“I’m recruited at wide reciever, but they especially took note that I played defense,” he said. “They said my defense will give me a better chance at getting on the field and playing special teams as a freshman.”

Ashburn said it was fun planning not just for a team that won, the Falcons went 8-2 this past season, but also playing with a talented group of receivers.

“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “Tony did a great job putting the ball in the receivers’ hands and letting us run. We (the recievers) all had a lot of different playing styles. It always depends on the week, but someone would show up every week and that was huge for us.”

Ashburn will be making a slight adjustment in offenses as he goes from the spread that Jefferson ran to the pro-style offense of the Lakers, but he isn’t concerned about the change.

“They do run more of a pro style, they like to do a lot of play action and air it out, which I like,” he said. “It’ll be a little bit different but I’m willing to do whatever to get on the field.”

The receiver said part of his decision was based on the fact that his grandparents Dianne and Bruce Ashburn, who he lives with, will be able to come watch him play.

“They were really open to doing what was best for me and wanted me to go where I was going to be happy,” he said. “My grandpa loves watching me and that was a big factor in my decision. He’ll be able to make it to all the home games.”

In a season with so many memories, Ashburn said it was tough to pinpoint just one game that he’ll look back on as his favorite.

But, two come to mind.

In a 43-20 win over Newton Falls, Ashburn touched the ball just twice, and scored both times. Once, on a 62-yard bomb from Chiacchiero and the second time, on an 85-yard kickoff return for a score.

The second game that sticks out was the defining game of the Jefferson season, a 24-21 win over Lakeview.

Ashburn reached the end zone twice, on receptions of 12 and 45 yards, the latter the touchdown that sealed the victory. All told, he racked up 148 yards on six receptions and picked off a pass.

“The homecoming game against Newton Falls was great, I touched the ball twice and scored twice,” he said. “But, that’s kind of minor compared to Lakeview. That was the best game of my life.

“It was just a night where everything that could’ve gone right when right for me.”

For Ashburn, the success of Jefferson during his junior season when it went 7-3, made him raise his playing level heading into his senior year.

“As a junior, I saw what I could do next year to help the team like the seniors did that year,” he said. “It really gave me goals to strive for. Making the playoffs was obviously our main goal, but we felt like we hopefully set an example for the teams to come after us.”

Ashburn credited Falcons head coach Jimmy Henson and assistant coach Rob Mead for much of his success.

“I spent a lot of time with Coach Mead in the offseason in the weight room,” he said. “He was a big part in the offseason. When it came to inseason, Coach Henson was a great help. He played safety in college and was a great safety coach for me.

“He kind of changed this year, too. He was open to new ideas and he listened and it helped in the passing game.”

Now, the future Laker will focus on getting stronger and faster, although he said his recruiters told him they were happy with his size and don’t want him to lose any speed.

But, before he heads to Mercyhurst, Ashburn has unfinished business on the baseball diamond — something he’s looking forward to.

“Baseball is great, I really love the spring time,” he said. “Baseball is one of my favorite things, even though football is obviously No. 1.

“I’ll miss playing.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video