Cougars go to 3-0 with 28-7 win over Christiansburg

Drew Dalton launches a pass under pressure during Friday night’s 28-7 thrashing of Christiansburg. (Brian Bishop/PC Patriot)

Pulaski County played some good ol’ fashioned smash mouth football in Christiansburg Friday night, pulling away from the Blue Demons in the second half on their way to a 28-7 victory.

The win keeps the Cougars perfect so far this season at 3-0. Christiansburg – easily the best team Pulaski County has faced this season – dropped to 0-2.

Senior running back Ethan Gallimore runs up the middle for some of his 149 yards rushing against Christiansburg. (Brian Bishop/PC Patriot)

Head Coach Mark Dixon’s Cougars rolled for 422 yards of total offense on the night – 216 on the ground and 206 in the air – while his defense held the Blue Demons to only 97 total yards.

While Dixon hasn’t always been satisfied with his offensive line’s play so far this season as they continue learning his new system, their play in the second half had to be more to his liking.

Leading 7-0 to start the second half, the Cougars opened with a statement drive of 11 plays – all but one on the ground – that featured the rushing of senior running back Ethan Gallimore.

Gallimore had carries of 5, 6, 5, 5, 4, 5 and 6 during the drive, scoring on that last 6-yard carry with 7:32 to go in the third quarter.

Broc Simpson’s PAT was good and – with half the third quarter already used up – Pulaski County lead 14-0.

After a quick three-and-out for Christiansburg, the Cougars’ offense went back to work.

Gallimore got the call on four straight carries of 9, 6, 4 and 13 yards before the drive got slowed by Cougar miscues, including a holding call and a couple of incomplete passes that set up a big fourth and 14 play at the Blue Demon 34. Or as former “Voice of the Cougars” Dan Callahan would have said, “fourth and Sylvatus.”

Dixon chose to go for it and senior quarterback Drew Dalton found Quemar Porter who rambled for 29 yards after the catch down to the Christiansburg 5-yard line.

Who else but Gallimore got the call on the next play,

Cougar Ethan Gallimore broke tackles and dragged defenders on several plays at Christiansburg. (Brian Bishop/PC Patriot)

breaking a tackle to score from 5 yards out. Simpson added the PAT and the Cougars led, 21-0.

This time Christiansburg responded with their only score of the night – and only the second touchdown given up by the Pulaski County defense this season – on an 11-yard run by Christian Cunningham. The PAT made it 21-7 with 9:12 to go in the game.

But the Cougars came right back with another dose of Gallimore.

The senior racked up carries of 13, 2, 12, 14, 9 and 13 behind his big offensive line as the Cougars drove from their own 30 to the Blue Demons one.

Junior wide receiver Jacob Johnson stays in bounds on his way to a 31-yard pass reception from QB Drew Dalton for a touchdown. (Brian Bishop/PC Patriot)

Dalton finished off the drive, sneaking up the middle for the score. Simpson was again good on the PAT and the Cougars had their 28-7 lead.

Gallimore also showed up on the defensive side of the ball.

On their next possession, Christiansburg ran one play, which resulted in a Gallimore interception to give Pulaski County the ball on their own 48.

Pulaski County ran five plays before Simpson came on to try a 46-yard field goal on fourth down from the Blue Demon 29 – his first FG attempt of the season. Simpson hit a low line-drive that fell short, keeping the lead at 28-7.

Gallimore ended the game with the Cougars’ first 100-yard rushing effort of the season, finishing with 21 carries for 149 yards. Dalton added 40 yards on 11 carries. Porter was 9 for 17 yards, John Lyman had 2 rushes for 10 yards and a banged up Keyonte Kennedy – who suffered a broken hand last week against Hidden Valley – still managed three carries for 10 yards while lugging around a cast on his right hand.

Dalton had his best passing game of the young season, going 13 completions for on 19 attempts for 206 yards and one interception.

Two highlights of Dalton’s evening came in the first quarter on the Cougars’ first scoring drive.

Dalton hit Chase Dotson with a 36-yard strike on the second play of the drive and followed that two plays later when he hit a wide-open Jacob Johnson on a 31-yard completion TD completion.

Johnson led the Cougars in receiving yards with 87 on 6 catches, while Dotson added 61 yards on 3 receptions. Will Bishop added one catch for 12 yards and Lyman hauled in two passes for 15 yards.

Christiansburg’s heralded starting quarterback M.J. Hunter went 0 for 5 with an interception on the night.

Their leading rusher was Cunningham who carried 6 times for 66 yards.

The Cougars have now scored 118 points on the season and given up only 14. The number of points scored could have been greater had the Cougars not hurt themselves Friday night on three drives that saw them reach Christiansburg’s red zone only to come away with no points.

On their first possession of the game, the Cougars drove to the Blue Demons’ 15 before Bishop was stripped of the ball after a pass reception with Christiansburg recovering to end the threat.

Another drive stalled right after the start of the second quarter.

Pulaski County drove to the Blue Demons 15 before a blocking below the waist penalty and a false start sent the Cougars backwards, with the drive ending with an incomplete pass on fourth down from the Christiansburg 33.

On their very next drive, the Cougars went from their own 19 all the way to the Blue Demons’ 14 before Dalton was intercepted at the goal line.

Next week, Pulaski County will entertain Blacksburg who has gotten off to a terrible start in 2021. The Bruins lost Friday night to Cave Spring, 34-7. That followed a season opening loss to powerful Salem, 50-0 and a second game loss to Patrick Henry, 56-0.

Game time is 7 p.m. at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot