It’s sudden victory. It’s sudden elation. It’s also sudden death, and it’s over, just like a smack in the face. And if it happens, it hurts, but Friday all across the state basically what amounts to a one and done sort of thing gets underway. If you are not successful, you are done, and it is indeed sudden.
But it’s also where all teams want to be. This is what was on your mind when the season began. Can we make the playoffs? Can we get a good seed? Can we do well enough to get the home field? For Pulaski County’s football team, the answer to all three of those questions is yes, yes, and yes.
The Cougars have gone 8-2 and it’s ooh so close to being even better than that. The third seed is an opening round home game. The opponent is rival Blacksburg and that has become very interesting in recent years. And should the Cougars win, and E.C. Glass get upset, festivities will remain in Dobson Stadium for another week.
No, it’s not the top seed and total control of the home field. Pulaski County came very close to having everything it wanted on its plate just like a big, juicy steak, but it’s not time to dwell on such things. The reasons why is simple. Two months ago if somebody had told you that the team might be in this situation, you would have been happy. And if you are to accomplish your ultimate goal, you’re going to have to take down all contenders anyway. What does it matter who comes first, second, and so on? The only concern is where you end up. The Cougars are exactly where they hoped they would be when it all started.
In Class 4, Region D top seed Salem hosts 8th seed Amherst, second seed Glass hosts 7ih seed Jefferson-Forest, 4th seed Halifax hosts 5th seed GW-Danville, and 6th seed Blacksburg will face the 3rd seed Cougars in Dobson. It’s a rematch. Pulaski Co. defeated Blacksburg 12-3 on the road in the first game. Last season the Bruins beat the Cougars twice. Maybe they can return the favor. If they do, Pulaski Co. will play the winner of Glass-Forest. At home if Forest wins, in Lynchburg if Glass wins.
Other very interesting and highly regarded teams in the Class 4 playoffs all across Virginia are 10-0 Broad Run, 10-0 Liberty Bealeton, and 9-1 Tuscarora, all out of Region C. Broad Run and Tuscarora were Class 5 schools last year. Out of Region B comes 10-0 Louisa and 9-1 Eastern View. The favored team out of Region A is 8-2 Lake Taylor.
As far as the final VHSL ratings are concerned in Class 4, Region D, Salem’s was 31.8, Glass 29-3, Pulaski Co. 29.1, Halfax 26-0, GW-Danville 25.9, and Amherst 24.4. Glass edged the Cougars out of the two seed by .02.
In smaller classifications around the region, 10-0 Galax, 10-0 Narrows, and 7-3 GW-Wytheville are the top three seeds in Class 1, Region C. In Class 2, Region C, 8-2 Appomattox is the top seed, and 8-2 Radford is the second seed. In Class 3, Region D, 10-0 Lord Botetourt is the top seed, 7-3 Northside is second seed, and Hidden Valley, Christiansburg, William Byrd, Magna Vista, and Abingdon all have a piece of the action too.
With new region setups across the state, it now takes three wins to get out of a region and advance to the state semi-final. So to win all the marbles in any classification, you must play in and win a 15th game.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot