DANVILLE – Pulaski County had a dramatic come from behind 17-14 victory Friday night at Averett University over George Washington of Danville to advance to the second round of the Region 4D Playoffs.
Pulaski County is not 8-3 on the season, Danville finishes it season also 8-3.
The Pulaski County defense came up with three big turnovers and kept Danville’s major weapons under control most of the game.
Quarterback Kade Akers and wide receiver E.J. Horton led the way offensively for the Cougars.
Akers completed nine passes to Horton for 123 yards and set up both Pulaski County touchdowns.
On Pulaski County’s first possession of the game, Akers and Horton connected on third down three straight times for first downs as the Cougars drove 66 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
Pulaski County’s second score of the first half came on a 46-yard field goal by Ryan Castle, and that score was also set up on an Akers pass to Horton for 14 yards to the GW 29.
Castle also kicked both conversions in the game for the Cougars.
Danville got on the board late in the second quarter when quarterback Carlos Poole escaped a Cougar rush and threw up a Hail Mary that was caught by Shawn Wattlington inside the Pulaski County 10. Poole scored on an eight-yard run, but GW missed the two-point conversion and it was 10-6 Cougars at the half.
GW Danville came out strong in the second half, and on fourth and four Wattlington got outside the edge and ran 20 yards to the endzone. He also scored the two-point conversion to put Danville up 14-10.
Jakari Finley and Austin Gallimore both recovered fumbles for Pulaski County, but the Cougars couldn’t take advantage as Castle missed a 35-yard field goal because of a poor spot, and Horton dropped a wide- open touchdown pass.
But the Cougar defense held on and would not allow Danville’s big players to break out, and after Horton dropped the open touchdown pass, the Cougars still forced a three-and-out.
On first down, Pulaski County went play action and Akers put it up deep for Horton again. This time he jumped over a GW defender and caught a 37-yard pass to the GW seven. Two plays later Finley scored from the one and Pulaski County led 17-14 with 8:08 left to play.
Once again, the Cougar defense forced GW to go three-and-out and the Cougars tried to run the clock out. But a penalty and lost yardage play forced Pulaski County to punt with 3:05 left to play.
Poole led his team down the field, and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Pulaski County moved the ball to the Cougar 20. But here the Cougar defense stiffened. Poole was thrown for a four-yard loss and on fourth down from the 24 he lofted a pass into the back of the endzone and Horton knocked it away with two seconds left to play and Pulaski County was advancing in the state playoffs for the first time in eight years.
GW Danville had a total offense of 269 yards. They rushed 43 times for a 166. Poole was 7 of 11 passing for 103.
Pulaski County had 256 total yards. The Cougars ran 39 times for 136 yards, but Akers was 9 of 16 passing for 123 yards, all to Horton.
Pulaski County will face top seeded Blacksburg in the second round of the 4D Playoffs next Friday
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot