By MIKE WILLIAMS
The Pulaski County High School Cougars have a challenging 10-game schedule for the upcoming 2022 varsity football campaign.
The Virginia High School League on Wednesday released its master schedule for the season listing all the schedules for VHSL schools across the Commonwealth.
This season’s Pulaski County schedule is full of quirks with a Thursday game, a Saturday game and two against out-of-state opponents.
But first, the pre-season.
According to PCHS Athletics Director Scott Vest, the Cougars first action comes Friday, Aug. 12 with a scrimmage at Franklin County beginning at 6 p.m.
The next week, Friday, Aug. 19 the Cougars are at home for the annual Benefit Game against Radford. Gametime is 6 p.m.
The Cougars’ 2022 season gets underway for real on Friday, Aug. 26 when they entertain always tough Northside. All regular season games begin at 7 p.m. this season, with one exception.
Week two the Cougars stay at home to face Tennessee High on Friday, Sept. 2. Last season, the two teams were scheduled to face each other in Bristol, but COVID issues with the Vikings forced that game to be canceled. Pulaski County wound up playing Jefferson Forest instead.
Game three on the slate is a Thursday night contest on Sept. 8 and the first road trip for interim head coach Cam Akers’ charges as they travel to the Mountain State to play the Bluefield Beavers. That game starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Thursday date is due to the fact the Beavers and the Graham G-Men – of Bluefield, Va. – share Mitchell Stadium for their home games.
And if you’re going to share a field, Mitchell Stadium is a fine field to share, since it once was the winner of the “America’s Best High School Football Stadium” contest held by USA Today High School Sports. Built in 1936, it is located on the border of Bluefield, W. Va. and Bluefield, Va.
Another bit of useless information: Graham is the only Virginia high school to play its home games in another state.
A game against Bluefield last season didn’t happen due to COVID. That’s when the Cougars got to play James Wood instead.
While the Cougars’ third game of the season was a day early in coming, they get a break the next week with Sept. 16 being their bye week.
You could call it “bye week plus one,” as the Cougars’ fourth game will be played on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Cave Spring instead of that Friday. Again, field-sharing between Cave and Hidden Valley is the culprit.
Speaking of Hidden Valley, that’s who the Cougars line up against the next week in game five on Sept. 30 in Dobson Stadium.
Game six is the mid-season clash with old rivals, the Salem Spartans. The Cougars travel to Salem for this matchup on Oct. 7 – the second season in a row that game isn’t being played at the end of the season.
Game seven is a home matchup with Blacksburg on Oct. 14, and it’s also homecoming.
Game eight, we’re off to Bluefield again to face the Graham G-Men and it’s another one of those rare Thursday contests, Oct. 20. The Cougars get an opportunity for revenge in this one, as Graham won last season 58-18.
The Cougars close out their regular season home schedule on Oct. 28 when they host Patrick Henry.
The last game of the regular season comes the next Friday, Nov. 4 at Christiansburg.