Cougars face toughest test yet at HV

Pulaski County’s football team will easily face its toughest test yet on the season when it travels to Hidden Valley this Friday. The Titans are a battled tested team with a 3-2 record against a very formidable schedule. Scott Weaver’s team has posted victories over Patrick Henry, William Byrd, and Glenvar, and the two losses have come to good Northside and Franklin County teams.

The Cougars will take their spotless 5-0 record to Dwight Bogle Stadium where it’s defense will likely face its toughest challenge so far in 2019. “I’d say so,” said head coach Stephen James when asked if this would be his teams toughest challenge. “Hidden Valley is a well-rounded team. They have some players that can make plays. The quarterback does a good job of getting away from pressure and getting the ball downfield. He has good receivers and they can run the ball too. Our defense will need to continue to play well.”

It certainly has, allowing only a one-yard average per rush to the opposition and just 109 yards of total offense a game. “Those kids are really playing well, and playing hard,” said James. “But we will need to move the football and continue to do well on special teams to win down there this week.”

The two football programs will meet for the 17th time Friday. Pulaski County holds a slim, 9-7 lead in the series, and that’s because the Cougars have won the last four straight. The Cougars won, 49-21 in Dobson Stadium last season. PCHS also hung a 49 on the Titans in 2015. Hidden Valley scored 35 on the Cougars during a victory in 2009. Stephen James is now 40-20 in his five plus seasons at the helm of the Cougars and Pulaski Co. is now 322-183-3 in its football history.

The key players for the Cougars to defend will be quarterback Grayson Carroll who leads a team that returns 19 starters from a season ago. The Titans top running back is 195 Jovan Wilson. HV will be three wide much of the time, but the leading receiver is top notch top end Kelly Mitchell (6-4, 224) who is big, fast, and has great hands, the top tight end in the region. The Titans are also big up front with 6-4, 280 John Causey, 6-4, 293 Silas Fitzgerald, 5-10, 245 Josh Pinon, and Mitchell.

Hidden Valley is averaging 24 points per game, and allowing 21. Pulaski Co. is scoring 34.8 and allowing only 6.4, however, against like opponents Northside and Byrd, the numbers are much closer.

The starting defense for Pulaski County will have 5-10, 250 Tyler Brookman at the nose, the tackles will be 6-2, 290 Zeke Surber and 5-10, 195 Tristan Bowden. The outside backers are 5-9, 185 Ethan Gallimore and 6-3, 220 Chayton Rollins, the inside backers and the two leading tacklers on the team will be 5-9, 205 Austin Gallimore and 5-11, 185 Luke Russell. The corners are 5-11, 180 Corvin Carter and 6-2, 185 Layne Suthers, and the safeties 6-0, 195 Gage Mannon and 5-11, 190 Chris Shay.

The offense will have 5-8, 180 Logan Burchett, 5-11, 190 Chase Dotson, and 6-2, 185 Layne Suthers at the wideouts. The tackles will be 6-2, 287 Clay Phillips, and 6-3, 280 Cooper Dunnigan, the guards 6-0, 275 Jacob Turman anjd 6-2, 285 Marcus Wright, and the center is 6-0, 280 Levi Young. The quarterback is 6-3, 185 A.J. McCloud, the running backs will be a combination of Mannon, Shay, both Gallimores, 5-10, 180 Keyontae Kennedy, and possibly Rollins. Broc Simpson will handle the kicking and punting, Bryant Worrell is the long snapper, and Burchett the holder.

Game Notes: Gates to Bogle will open at 5:30. … If you cannot make it to the game it will be broadcast live on 107 Country PSK, airtime will be 6:15 with the pregame show. … In other games of interest to Pulaski County Friday Christiansburg will be playing at Salem, E.C. Glass and GW Danville tangle in a big matchup, Jefferson Forest travels to Liberty Christians, Blacksburg plays at Patrick Henry, Halifax will be at Bassett, and Abingdon will be hosting Central-Wise.

VHSL Ratings: Pulaski County is a member of Class 4, Region D. The mid-season power point ratings were revealed this week. This is the only rating system that has any impact on public school football in Virginia. There is an assortment of newspaper, television, and radio rankings from a lot of outlets, but they have no impact. Only the VHSL Ratings System matters. In Region 4D, Salem is the top rated team at 4-0, 28.0. E.C. Glass is the number two rated team at 4-0, 26.5. Pulaski County is a firm third going into the Hidden Valley game at 5-0, 26.0. Halifax, the newest member of the region is 3-1 and 23.5 for a fourth rating, GW-Danville is 3-1, and rated 5th at 20.7. Glass and Danville collide in a huge game Friday. Jefferson-Forest is 6th at 3.2 and 19.7, Blacksburg is seventh at 3-2 and 19.6, and Amherst is 8th at 1-4, 16.0. It’s important to note there are numerous matchups within the region the second half of the season that will greatly affect future ratings.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot