By MASON CLARK
While naturally a lot of the attention in football goes to the varsity team, it’s always fun to watch the younger teams play. And with that, the PCMS Cougars are off to a tremendous start, simply dominating any team who has gotten in their way this far. A combination of crisp execution, lots of speed and talent, as well as power up front have been the catalysts for a 3-0 start, and an average score of 35 points, to 4 points per game and just two touchdowns allowed in three games.
Head Coach Hunter Thomas, along with his staff of Brody Fields, Logan Hutchens and Joel Burchett, have taken a lot of size, speed, talent and power and molded it into an efficient ground machine. In three games, the younger Cougars have rushed 73 times, for an astounding 732 yards. That’s right, an average of over ten yards per rush attempt. That is beyond impressive. And while it’s a rare occasion to throw the football for the younger Cougars-all I was able to find was 4 pass attempts in the games thus far-they have completed 3 of them for 84 more yards and 2 more touchdowns. That adds up to 77 plays from scrimmage, for 816 yards of total offense, and 15 touchdowns. That’s one touchdown every five plays. In an offense that often runs right at the opponent, and is usually more geared to grind things out and chew up clock, that is beyond amazing.
Defensively, they have been just as impressive. The starting unit has yet to allow a touchdown. Andrew Lewis returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and Patrick Henry, many of their starters still in, scored on the Cougar reserves. Opponents have ran the ball against the Cougars a total of 74 times, for 201 yards. That is well below three yards a carry, which is excellent. They have allowed just 5 of 17 passes to be completed-less than 30%-for 51 yards. That’s three yards per pass attempt. Opponents have ran 91 plays for just a measly 252 yards. 2.77 yards per play is not good for the opposition.
That includes a 46-6 win over Andrew Lewis (albeit their B team, mostly seventh graders), a 24-0 shutout at Clifton Forge, and a 36-6 thrashing of a big Patrick Henry team. Frankly, the baby Cougars easily could’ve scored more if they wanted to. Every Cougar has played plenty, and they’ve had a lot of fun during the season.
The ground game for PCMS has seen several contributors. Thus far, J.D. Grubb leads the way. The elusive eighth grader has weaved, juked and ran his way to 217 rushing yards on 20 attempts (10.9 yards per carry), with 3 touchdowns. He also has caught a pass for 38 yards. Close behind is Kaleb Sartin, who has ran 20 times for 213 yards (10.7 yards a pop), with 5 touchdowns, three coming in the most recent outing against PH. Brock Schneider has been excellent with 13 carries for 209 yards, over 16 yards per attempt, with 2 touchdowns. Caleb Cregger has also been great, running 7 times for 71 yards and a touchdown, and caught an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Seventh grader Tucker Williams has handled much of the quarterback position. He has rushed for a touchdown, thrown a touchdown pass, and caught a touchdown pass. He has 4 total touchdowns and runs the offense well. Boone Blevins has done great blocking at wide receiver and also has been sharp when playing quarterback with 2/2 passing for 66 yards and another touchdown. Trendon Mattox and Maddox Thompson have also contributed running the ball.
But of course the players who are most deserving of recognition is none other than the big guys up front. Parker Price, Anius Slaughter, Camron Burton, Rylan Coleman, and Riley O’Neal have paved the way to such amazing production on offense, as well as TJ Scott and some other young Cougars.
The PCMS Cougars play this Thursday, the 15th, at home against Christiansburg.