Pulaski County head football coach Stephen James said going into Saturday’s scrimmage action at the Touchdown Classic in Dobson Stadium that starting jobs could be won or lost. The feeling is far more positions were earned that lost as the Cougars displayed a renewed competitive spirit against very strong competition.
The offense was able to run the ball with better success than last season, the passing game was there and executed well, and the defense was obviously improved, more aggressive, and quick to the football. James was pleased after his charges went toe to toe with Bluefield, West Virginia and Magna Vista.
“I’m happy today. I liked the competitive spirit we showed. Our kids played hard all day right from the first snap of the junior varsity scrimmage. Magna Vista and Bluefield are going to have very good seasons. It would not surprise me if Bluefield wins another state championship. Our kids went up against some talented opposition, both in the areas of size and skilled athletes with speed. We didn’t back away from anything, didn’t turn anything down. There’s mistakes, we already know what some of them were, but we’ll look at the film. I’m anxious to see the film. We’ll go over it with the team on Monday. but I’m pleased. We threw a lot of sophomores into the fire. Now we need to see if we can’t get better.”
The Cougars will play at Radford Friday evening in a VHSL “Benefit Game.” Gates will open at 5 pm at Radford’s Stadium, admission is $7.00. The first official game of the 2018 season will be the following Friday at Northside.
Pulaski County’s first touchdown of the day came when tailback Jacari Finley popped a run for 40 yards, and Kade Akers passed 38 yards down the sideline to a streaking E.J Horton for the score. The Cougars actually scored again against Magna Vista when Akers hit the pylon in bounds in the right corner of the end zone, an obvious touchdown that was not called, however, an official said later it was a good score. But on this day it was not a matter of consequence.
In the first outing against Bluefield, defending West Virginia state champion, the Cougars drove with their first possession, but were stopped twice by the Beavers at the one-yard line. Bluefield then got on the board with a nice drive, and later Wes Riddle popped over from a yard out and Ryan Castle kicked the conversion for 7-6 Pulaski County lead. In the next matchup with Magna Vista, the Cougars drove 65 yards in eight plays and scored from three yards out again at a pass from Akers to Horton. Castle’s conversion was good again. The score was setup on a pass and run play of 37 yards by Akers and Noah O’Dell. The Cougars and Beavers matched up one more time and battled to a scoreless draw.
Also, in scrimmage action, the Pulaski County junior varsity won both its matchups against Magna Vista and Bluefield.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot