Cougars go for four in a row at Byrd

Pulaski County will try to stretch its unbeaten record on the season to 4-0 Friday when it travels to William Byrd for only the second time in school history. The Terriers are 1-2 on the season. It will be only the fourth time the two schools have met on the gridiron. Pulaski County has won the previous three. The biggest margin came in 2001 when the Cougars rolled, 69-20. The closest tilt came in 2002, 28-16.

The Cougars are getting production from every phase of the game, offense, defense, and special teams. Seven different players have scored, and six different players have turnovers. There have been blocked punts, fumble recoveries, and pass interceptions. The kicking game has been exceptional. Broc Simpson is 15 of 16 on extra point kicks, hit field goals of 42 and 45 yards at Abingdon, kicks off into the end zone, and is punting for a 40-yard average with hang time. Last week the offense had its best game, and Keyontae Kennedy ran for 107 yards, the first time a Cougar running back has hit the 100 mark, and he had room to run as the Cougar front won the battle at the line of scrimmage. The defense has allowed but six points and has created 10 turnovers.

“You love to see that,” says head coach Stephen James, “but everything is not perfect. There have also been mistakes. For sure, when you win like we did at Abingdon last Friday it’s a great feeling. It’s nice to see what you practice on and prepare for work. Our defense continued to play well, our kicking game and special teams have been good, and our offense is starting to really come along. It’s great to see, but that’s last week. This is this week. Our goal is to continue to get better, and we can definitely get better. We want to go down to Vinton and be 1-0. We want to be 1-0 each week. We do not look beyond that, and we certainly don’t need to look back.”

James says Byrd last week had one of those Friday the 13th nightmares against Bassett.  “Sometimes thing just go wrong, and Byrd really had some bad luck. Their new coach (Brad Lutz) has put in a new scheme. They run the spread, and have some really nice athletes to work with. They have a wide receiver (Tyler Dean) that is an outstanding player and a 6-2 wideout with speed. The quarterback (Dylan Hatfield) is quick and can make plays, and we have to be careful because in the backfield with him is their other quarterback who is also a running back and receiving threat (Logan Baker). We need to be ready to play. Everything we do is taking us toward game 11, the playoffs. Where are we going to be when we get there? We need to go 1-0 again,” stressed James.

The leading defensive players for Wm Byrd are both their inside linebackers, 6-3, 225 Dustin Richards, and 5-11, 180 Trevor Thompson. Byrd’s top defensive lineman is on the nose, 6-0, 270 Shane Johnson.

There will be no lineup changes for Pulaski County. Defensively the Cougars will start 5-10, 250 senior Tyler Brookman at the nose tackle, the other two tackles will be 6-2, 290 junior Zeke Surber, and 5-10, 195 sr. Tristan Bowden. The inside linebackers and the two leading tacklers on the team are 5-9, 205 sr. Austin Gallimore and 5-11, 185 sr. Luke Russell. The outside backers are 5-9, 185 jr. Ethan Gallimore and 6-3, 220 jr. Chayton Rollins. The corners are 6-2, 185 jr. Layne Suthers and 5-11, 180 jr. Corvin Carter. The safeties are a pair of seniors, 6-0, 195 Gage Mannon and 5-11, 190 Chris Shay.

The Cougar offense will start Caleb Perfater, a 6-0, 180 sophomore at tight end, the tackles will be 6-2, 287 jr. Clay Phillips and 6-3, 280 jr. Cooper Dunnigan, the guards 6-0, 275 jr. Jacob Turman and 6-1, 285 soph. Marcus Wright, and the center will be 6-0, 280 jr. Levi Young. The quarterback is 6-3, 185 jr. A.J. McCloud, the wide receivers a combination of Logan Burchett, a 5-8, 180 sr., Suthers, and Landon McDaniel, a 5-10, 180 sr. The running backs will be a combination of 5-10, 180 soph. Keyontae Kennedy, Mannon, 5-11, 185 jr. Jakari Finley, and Russell. Simpson is the kicker and punter.

Cougars Paws:

If you cannot make the trip to Vinton for the game, it will be broadcast live on 107 Country PSK. Airtime is 6:15 with the pregame show. … In its history, Pulaski County has now won 320 football games, lost 183, and tied 3. … Be sure to check “” on Saturday morning for the wrapup and all the details on the game. … In other games of interest to Pulaski County Friday, Staunton River plays at Blacksburg, Salem visits Northside, Abingdon travels to Richlands, Dan River plays at Bassett, Cave Spring hosts Alleghany, Christiansburg travels to Rockbridge County, Glenvar plays at Hidden Valley, Jefferson-Forest is at E.C. Glass, and Patrick Henry plays at William Fleming.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot

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