Loading...
BYH Chimer Clark. Your commercial bragging about how "TOUGH AS NAILS" you are as you glower at all of us with an AR-15...

Ahlers, Houston see promise in each other

111818ECUfootball-20.jpg
1 of 2

East Carolina's Holton Ahlers runs against Connecticut at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Nov. 17.

120518ECUFootballHouston-5.jpg
Loading…

By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Coach Mike Houston didn’t leave James Madison for East Carolina because of Holton Ahlers, but he is aware of the Pirates’ talented quarterback.

Ahlers, a left-hander standing 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, was one of the top freshman QBs in the country this year even during a third straight 3-9 record by the Pirates that led to coach Scottie Montgomery’s dismissal.

“It is definitely a positive, but it did not cause me to choose or not choose East Carolina University, based on one player,” Houston said after his introductory news conference on Tuesday. “But once I took the job, you have a quarterback who has some ability and has some experience and tremendous potential, certainly that makes you sleep a little better at night. I look forward to working with him and developing him, because he had some good days this fall and some bad ones. We all do.”

Ahlers was quick to point out that in dissecting Houston’s 80-25 career record at Lenoir-Rhyne, The Citadel and JMU combined, there is only one losing season. That came in 2014 when The Citadel went 5-7, which was followed by a 9-4 mark the next year in a season that included a win at South Carolina from the Southeastern Conference.

“I think if you just look at his track record, he has always had success with quarterbacks,” said Ahlers, who in the fall of 2017 as a star at D.H. Conley High School in Greenville finished second in North Carolina High School Athletic Association history with 14,784 career yards of total offense. “He’s always had quarterbacks that lead and do it the right way. I’m excited to work with him.”

Ahlers added that any hesitation with a coaching transition from Montgomery to Houston should mostly be quashed with Houston’s history of winning. The coach took JMU to consecutive Football Championship Subdivision national championship games — winning in 2016 — and ECU’s 2017 season began with a 34-14 loss to the Dukes in which James Madison totaled 614 yards in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“We are going to buy in to him, because he knows how to win football games,” Ahlers said.

The Pirates’ rookie QB finished as the team’s leading rusher this season with 592 yards (second-most in ECU history by a quarterback) and six touchdowns. He passed for 449 yards in a game against Memphis, part of his 1,785 yards through the air and 12 touchdown passes with three interceptions.

For all the positives that Ahlers brought to the program — especially as a Greenville native — his freshman year did play out well on a team that finished 0-5 in road games and 1-7 in the American Athletic Conference. Ahlers was 1-4 as the starting QB.

ECU started nine seniors in its final game at N.C. State, a 58-3 loss. Four were on offense in receivers Trevon Brown and Terrell Green joined by right tackle Garrett McGhin and running back Anthony Scott.

Houston described his desirable offensive style as a balanced spread offense built around running the football with physicality. He added that an effective offensive line is key to thriving with that style, which could put pressure on the Pirates’ linemen to progress greatly this offseason.

“We’re going to try to spread the field sideline to sideline and attack vertically in the passing game, and we’re going to try to get downhill on people in the run game,” Houston said. “I think the identity of your football team is built by your offensive line. That is very important, and it will be important the way they train this spring and during fall camp.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

April 23, 2019

Facing the final five-game week of its regular season, East Carolina’s baseball team had to battle to knock off rival UNC Wilmington on Tuesday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

ECU’s 8-5 victory required much more late-inning drama than in the Pirates’ routine 9-1 win over the…

042419ECUbaseball-3.JPG

April 23, 2019

With hints of the football press box and suites buildings already in place at the University of Cincinnati, TCU and Wake Forest as guiding posts, East Carolina University is in the final few months of putting a unique Pirate touch on the TowneBank Tower that should greatly enhance Dowdy-Ficklen…

042419ECUstadium-6.JPG

April 22, 2019

Base hits are vital in baseball, but hitting singles is only a small part of East Carolina first baseman Spencer Brickhouse’s game.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior is a run-producing slugger for the Pirates, and he showed that off in their last game on Saturday in a 9-7 victory over…

041418ECUBaseball-3.jpg.jpg

April 22, 2019

East Carolina moved up two places to eighth on Day 2 of the American Athletic Conference men’s golf championships at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Led by junior Blake Taylor and his even-par 71 thanks to a birdie putt on No. 18 to move into the top-10 as an…

April 22, 2019

The East Carolina men’s golf team is in 10th place after the first round of the American Athletic Conference Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The Pirates carded a team total of 15-over-par 299. SMU is the team leader at 1 over, followed by Memphis…

TaylorBlakeMGOLF17RTe.jpg

April 20, 2019

East Carolina made another strong statement on Saturday as the American Athletic Conference baseball leader, this time beginning at 9 a.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium and then during the afternoon hours in sunny and better hitting conditions in front of 3,655 fans.

The bullpen was key for the Pirates…

042119ECUBaseball-6.jpg

April 19, 2019

East Carolina pitcher Jake Agnos and coach Cliff Godwin had a heated exchange on the pitcher’s mound during the ninth inning Thursday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium, which turned into a more calm and productive conversation between the pair a few minutes later after ECU completed a 5-1 win…

041919ECUBASEBALL-1.jpg.jpg

April 18, 2019

Jeff Hoffman wowed plenty of professional baseball scouts at East Carolina from 2012 to 2014 before he was selected as the ninth overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.

It was Jake Agnos’ turn at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Thursday, when about 30 scouts were packed into their…

041919ECUBASEBALL-7.jpg

April 18, 2019

A pre­mier matchup on the pitcher’s mound should high­light Game 1 of the Con­necti­cut-East Carolina base­ball se­ries, which be­gins to­day at 6:30 p.m. and ends Satur­day at Clark-LeClair Sta­dium.

Jake Ag­nos has been the ace for the…

021319ECUbaseball-1.JPG

April 17, 2019

When Cincinnati eliminated East Carolina in the first round of the American Athletic Conference women’s tennis tournament on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., it marked the Pirates’ first loss since Jan. 23 and ended their season.

The Bearcats won 4-1 and advanced as the No. 10 seed to play…

041119ECUtennis-3.jpg
236 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 24
        Next Page»   Last Page»