Matt Duncan

Ashley Ridge quarterback Matt Duncan picks up yards on the ground before being tackled by Goose Creek defenders.

Ashley Ridge dropped its first six encounters against Goose Creek but has battled halfway back.

The Swamp Foxes clipped the Gators 21-20 on Friday at John Fulmer Field to win for the third straight time in the series.

“It’s always great to start out with a win,” Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “We did that last year then things didn’t really go the way we planned. We found a way to lose that game last year. This year, we found a way to win it. I’m not saying everything is going to be perfect down the road but I think overall we’ve got a pretty good football team.”

The Foxes overcame a 14-7 halftime deficit to hand the Gators their fourth straight season-opening loss.

A missed extra point after Cameron Cuttino’s 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter left the Foxes behind 14-13.

Ashley Ridge caught a break later, though, when Goose Creek muffed a punt at its own 30.

Quarterback Matt Duncan capped the ensuing drive on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Sammons with 10:23 left to put the Foxes on top and ran in the 2-point try to make it 21-14.

The Gators responded with a 25-yard touchdown from backup quarterback DJ Matthews to Damon Mouzon less than two minutes later but the extra-point try sailed wide.

Goose Creek had one last gasp, driving inside Ashley Ridge’s 40 in the final minute before a fourth-down reception was just out of bounds inside the 20.

Ashley Ridge’s first touchdown pass was on a hook-and-lateral. Duncan hit Sammons for 15 yards and he pitched it to Cordell Gaston, who went 31 yards to tie it 7-7 on the last play of the first quarter.

Emmanuel Mukuamu had two touchdown passes for Goose Creek, one to Damon Mouzon for 6 yards and the other a 22-yarder to Matthews.

The Gators are off Friday and travel to Summerville on Sept. 6. The Foxes host Berkeley on Friday.

Ashley Ridge went toe-to-toe with the Stags last season before falling 28-21 in Moncks Corner.

“I thought we were the more physical team but that doesn’t mean you’re going to win games,” Walker said. “I think we were down two scores and came back to tie it, but late in the game they had a big run and we had a couple of penalties that hurt us. They’re well coached. It will be a good game at our place.”