By MASON CLARK
The Pulaski County Cougars will be looking to bounce back from a rough game on Thursday night. The challenge this week doesn’t get any easier. The Patrick Henry Patriots, loaded with speed and athleticism, will visit Dobson Stadium for what will be the forty-ninth meeting between the two. A very storied rivalry will be renewed, with lots on the line for both teams.
Pulaski County Preview
The Cougars will likely have to win at least one of the next two games to qualify for the playoffs. That means that they will have to play better than last Thursday in what was a tough loss to the Graham G-Men. The Cougars were only able to get 188 yards of total offense on the night, as the G-Men took advantage of three lost fumbles to win 41-14. Burton scored each of the touchdowns, and that brings his total to 23 on the season.
Christopher Gallimore is currently 17/39 passing for 277 yards and 1 touchdown, and has rushed for 444 yards and 3 touchdowns. Trevor Burton is having a great senior campaign with 156 attempts for 1,162 yards and 23 touchdowns. With 3 more rushing touchdowns he will tie the single-season record held by Craig Hodge, and will surpass it with four. If he can score five more total touchdowns, he will surpass Frank Cobbs, who has the most total in a single season with 27. Burton is by far the most productive player for Pulaski County this year. Taner Mace has 28 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown rushing and three catches for 69 yards. Brett Jones, in seven games due to missing last week’s game, has 21 attempts for 158 yards and a touchdown and 2 catches for 41 yards. But receiving, Marcus Reed has been the most productive player with 8 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars didn’t complete a pass last week, and may need to do so against the Patriots to pull off the upset.
The offensive line has been solid on the year. Evan Alger and Hunter Hill are the tackles. Diego Turner and Aiden Moore are the guards, and Nolan Dalton is the center. Davis Neel is a tight end/wide receiver who blocks and sometimes splits out wide. They’ve paved the way to over 2,000 rushing yards on the year for the Cougars.
The defense will probably get the toughest test they will have this year from Patrick Henry. They are very explosive, have lots of athletes all over the field and will be hard to tackle in space. The secondary, which has struggled at times, will be tested. How they play will have a big impact on the game.
Patrick Henry Preview
The Patriots are having a good season. They come into Friday night’s game at 6-2, with their only losses coming to Brookville and the much-improved Cave Spring Knights.
They are led by sensational senior Carmelo Taylor. The 6’ 160-pounder has offers from countless schools, and is ranked as one of the top 300 players in America. He is committed to Penn State to play at one of the country’s finest football programs. He has 29 catches for 469 yards and 8 touchdowns on the year. He’s blazing fast, being clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Senior Sidney Webb transferred from Northside during the preseason and has been a huge part of the Patriot offense. He usually plays reciever, but has at times lined up in the backfield. Joey Boxley is the quarterback, a junior who has been excellent passing the ball with nearly 20 touchdown passes already on the year. Junior Chuck Webb has returned from an injury that kept him sidelined for most of the year, but he appeared to be back in full swing.
The Patriots lost week one to Brookbille 35-27. They bounced back with a 39-28 win over Albemarle. They strung together big wins over William Fleming (31-7), Northside (49-0), Blacksburg (42-3) and Hidden Valley (57-7). They then fell to Cave Spring 34-28, but rebounded with a 37-14 win over Christiansburg. They look noticeably better with Chuck Webb back on the field.
The Cougars lead the series with the Patriots 28-20, but PH has won 7 of the last 10 and 8 of the last 11. With a lot on the line for both sides, expect great effort from both teams. Come out to celebrate senior night at 7:00 Friday!