Pulaski County will be trying to go for its third consecutive football victory Thursday evening in Dobson Stadium at 6 pm. Due to coming concerns about heavy rains the game has been moved up from Friday. The game will also signal the return to the stadium of Jack Turner who was an outstanding player and coach for the Cougars.
PCHS head coach Stephen James thinks the date change is a good idea. “It certainly appears we’re in for very heavy rains over the next few days, particularly Friday and Saturday. Thursday is the best time to play. We’ve got a relatively young team. We don’t need to miss any games and our kids need all the reps they can get.”
The Cougars enter the contest 2-1 on the season after back to back convincing wins over William Fleming and Abingdon. Carroll is 1-2 after a setback against Galax last week.
Pulaski County’s lone loss was the season opener at Northside by a single digit, but James is pleased with the progress of the team. “We’d sure love to be 3-0, but you can’t get them back, but the team has improved. We’re getting better, execution is better, however, there is no area of our team that cannot still get better, a lot in some places.”
In the win over Abingdon the Cougars had one of its best rushing performances in many seasons, 272 yards, and ran for six touchdowns. “We’ve always said we want to run the ball better. It was good to see us get first downs on third and four and third and five with the running game. We feel good about that,” said James.
The Cougars did not score from long distance in the win at Fleming, but had scoring drives of 8, 10, and 12 plays. “You love that. When you do that you are controlling the line of scrimmage. You love long possessions particularly when they end in points. We won the line of scrimmage last Friday,” added James.
Defensively too. After giving up a long scoring drive in the first half, and a big run after suffering a blocked punt in third quarter, the Cougar defense held Abingdon to minus yards the remainder of the game. “The first part of that was bad, the second very good. We had a little gathering at the half, and challenged our defense a bit. We not only played smarter and executed our assignments better the second half, we were aggressive, ran to the ball well. We need to do it four quarters.”
Carroll County runs an old fashioned offense based on the running game. It’s pretty much the same winged-T type of attack utilized for many years at Pulaski County. Turner leaned it under the direction of Joel Hicks, former Cougar mentor.
“It is different,” says James. “The style of blocking is different. You have to prepare for it. It does require some emphasis in practice that is not your usual way of doing things, but there are keys. The winged-T forces you to read your keys and be where you need to be. Carroll has good size up front. They will come in here wanting to run the football and control the clock. We need to stop them from doing that,” said James.
The Cougar lineup will start with sophomore, 5-10, 270 nose tackle Zeke Surber, the outside tackles will be two seniors, Ben Arnett, 5-11, 195 and Cam Mariotti, 5-11, 200. The outside backers will have Noah O’Dell, a 6-3, 210 sr. and Jakari Finley, a 5-9, 175 soph. The inside backers will be 5-9, 195 junior Austin Gallimore and 5-10, 170 jr. Luke Russell. The cornerbacks will be 6-2, 170 sr. E.J. Horton and 6-1, 168 soph. A.J. McCloud. The safeties will be 6-0, 190 jr. Gage Mannon and 5-11, 175 jr. Chris Shay.
The Pulaski County offense will lineup 6-1, 265 sr. Jaxson Callahan at center, the guards will be 6-1, 290 jr. Logan Fox and 5-10, 270 sr. Carter Murray, the tackles will be two sophomores, 6-3, 268 Clay Phillips and 6-3 260 Cooper Dunnigan. The tight end is 6-5, 225 jr. Dillon Porter, the H-back is Gallimore, the slot is 5-11, 150 jr. Logan Burchett, Finley is the tailback, Horton the wideout, and Kade Akers, a 6-2, 200 sr. is the quasrterback. The kicker is Ryan Castle, the punter Broc Simpson.
Gates to Dobson Stadium will open at 4:30……….The game will be broadcast live on 107 PSK. Airtime will be 5:15 with the Insurance Center of Dublin Pre-Game Show……………In other games of interest played either Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday this week, Cave Spring travels to Alleghany, Christiansburg plays at Abingdon, Hidden Valley hosts Franklin County, Richlands will play at Blacksburg, and Northside will play at Salem. Pulaski County will travel to Cave Spring next Friday.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot