Harvey’s Touchdown Classic Saturday in Dobson

The first public action for the Pulaski County football team will be this Saturday in Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium in the “Harvey’s Touchdown Classic.” The opposition will be very interesting as the Cougars will take on always strong Bluefield, W. Va., and Magna Vista. Junior Varsity action gets underway at 11 am, and the varsity teams will battle at 12:15.

Bluefield has battled for the West Virginia state championship for the past six consecutive seasons, and Magna Vista is expected to rebound and be a strong contender in Class 3 in 2019. The Beavers feature Jacob Martin, a huge 6-5 defensive end who has already committed to play college football for the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Jacob Martin and J.J. Davis are highly regarded running backs, and 6-4 Cole Simpkins returns to the team at quarterback. The Bluefield front will be 6-0, 280, 6-5, 344, 6-0, 280, and 6-4, 290.

Magna Vista is big up front as well. The Warriors will be 286, 270, 280, 270, and 288 in the offensive line. Quarterback Dryus Hairston is a duel threat at 6-2, 201 with speed, and Zayvion Estes is a highly regarded tailback.

“It’s our first big day, the first test,” says Pulaski County head coach Stephen James. “We’ve worked hard in the off season and have had good practices. We are pleased with the enthusiasm, effort, and attitude of the team. The coaching staff is excited to see how we play, how well we execute. I’m sure the kids would like to tackle somebody else. The opposition is outstanding. We will learn a great deal. We’ve got some things to look at, some decisions as to starting positions and playing time will be in the balance. We’re excited about seeing our kids in action,” added James.

The main gate to Dobson will open at 10 am. Fans will be asked to make a $10 donation to support Pulaski County football. That donation will also be good for a pit cooked barbecue dinner with baked beans, and cole slaw. Should a fan not wish to take advantage of the barbecue dinner just donate what you will, enter, and enjoy the football action.

Pulaski County will have excellent size on its football team as well in 2018 and you can get all the information about the Cougars in the “Cardinal & Gold Football Edition” that will hit the racks Friday morning. Check features on the history of the Pulaski County program, a question and answer session with James, a look at the offense, defense, the River Ridge and region, Virginia Tech, Virginia, schedules, and national college football.

Prep News:

Former Christiansburg head football coach and present athletic director Tim Cromer has returned to coaching and will be the offensive coordinator for the Blue Demons this season. … Northside, Pulaski County’s first opponent, is coming off a terrific 11-2 season in 2018. Lord Botetourt was the only team to defeat the Vikings. The two teams played three times, and Northside won the initial matchup. Coach Scott Fisher is impressed with his talent and says freshman quarterback Sidney Webb is far more mature than his years and is excited about his talents. … Botetourt has become a haven for transfers it seems, eight in all, particularly linemen. 6-6, 290 Gage Basham has transferred to Fincastle from Abingdon, end Isiah Stephens from Northside, and tackle Don Cordle from Covington. Salem has three transfers, two of them from Northside, the other from Cave Spring

… E.C. Glass figures to be a strong contender in Region 4C with 15 returning starters, a big front wall, and speed in the backfield. … Jefferson Forest finished 8-4 last year and knocked off Salem in the opening round of the region playoffs. JF returns outstanding Keenan Cupit at fullback where he rushed for over 2,000 yards last year, but new coach Paul White will need to shore up the Forest defense a bit. JF gained 555 yards a game last season but averaged giving up 455. … Amherst is about to embark on its first season under new head coach Bob Christmas who came over from Jefferson Forest. The Lancers have a senior class of only 10 players, but it’s likely that’s not a big deal this season as Christmas does a makeover. He will install a totally new style of offense, and he will need some time to reestablish what was just a few years ago a strong football program. C.J. Rose returns at quarterback, and Amherst has excellent size up front. The schedule is tough; Salem, Blacksburg, GW-Danville, Heritage-Lynchburg, Brookville, Jefferson Forest which could prove to be interesting, and E.C. Glass. It would not however be wise for anyone to overlook the Lancers.

Not Unexpected:

Some are trying to make a great deal out of Bland not playing football this year. I do not see it as a big issue at all. I questioned if Bland should have ever decided to play football in the first place. It was always a reach for Bland, and for those that say it’s a statement about football, Bland also has trouble getting enough players for baseball as well. There just aren’t enough kids in Bland County. I do feel sorry for those that want to play, and for sure some dedicated people and coaches gave a great effort to establish football in Bland.  I think the VHSL should do something for those kids that still may want to play. If those kids would be happy to play for Rural Retreat or the closest high school to Bland, by all means let them do it. But from the information I have, many schools are experiencing an increase in numbers for football this season.

College Stuff:

I’m not a big slogan guy. I understand slogans are fashionable these days. UVa has a new slogan. I don’t know what it is, but I find slogans work best if the team wins a lot of football games. Otherwise they aren’t much of a factor. … Last week I mentioned that recruiting for the 2021 class had already moved into high gear and that five of the top eight quarterbacks had already committed. That has changed in a big way. As of this week, 11 of the top 21 quarterbacks have already committed for the 2021 class before even taking a snap in their junior high school season. Sounds a bit quick to me. … ESPN’s Paul Finnebaum is an idiot. If that sounds harsh, I don’t know any other way to say it. Finnebaum tried to start a big fuss this past week because Clemson did not give Kelly Bryant a national championship ring. I don’t recall seeing Bryant on the sideline when the Tigers rolled the Tide of Alabama to win the title. He transferred when it became apparent his days as a starting quarterback were done. He came out of the “portal” and is now playing at Missouri and was in fact a “Missouri” Tiger when the national title issue was decided. Now Finnebaum, who must be just like other media who are disparate to fill airtime, calls Dabo Sweeney and Clemson “petty.” What is “petty” is Finnebaum. He is a shameless cheerleader for the SEC and Alabama. You are an idiot when you call other people “petty” for not rewarding a player who was not even on the team. The team, the team, the team! Finnebaum and anybody else looking for “petty” ways to fill airtime owe Clemson and Sweeney an apology. … Do bloodlines matter? Some of the time it certainly seems so. An impressive four-star freshman quarterback recruit at Nebraska, Luke McCaffrey is looking great in pre-season. He is the son of former great Bronco receiver Ed McCaffrey, the younger brother of Panther great running back Christian McCaffrey, and also the younger brother of backup Michigan quarterback Dylan McCaffrey. He is the last McCaffrey until somebody become a grandparent.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot