Pulaski Co. season ends, Glass makes big plays

     Lynchburg– Pulaski County’s outstanding 2019 football season ended Friday night at City Stadium in Lynchburg. The Cougars fell to a talented E.C. glass team, 27-10. But the final score is not indicative of the game. With 1:04 left to play the Hilltoppers only led, 14-10, and the go ahead score did not come until the fourth quarter. Glass moves into the region title game next Friday at Salem who defeated GW-Danville in the other region semi-final. The Hilltoppers are 11-1 while the Cougars finished at 9-3.

The difference in the game was obvious. It was Glass quarterback Dresaun Kendrick. He got free for a 79-yard run in the final seconds of the first half that enabled the Toppers to cut the margin to 10-7 at the break. In the third quarter while being tackled for what looked like would be a 10-yard loss he somehow managed to fire a third down bullet pass to Quoterrus Craighead for a 10-yard touchdown. Craighead scored the deciding touchdown when he was stopped trying to sweep left end, but broke a Cougar tackle attempt and reversed his field and ran 24 yards across the field to score just inside the right pylon. Kendrick then scored on an interception return of 40 yards in the final seconds.

In between those big plays Glass was not able to generate much against an always relentless Cougar defense. But this was a game decided by three big offensive plays. Glass made them all. All of Pulaski County’s big plays came on defense and with the kicking game.

PCHS head coach Stephen James could only nod in agreement when it was mentioned Kendrick was the difference. “That was pretty much it. He made some huge plays. It would have been big for us to be up 10-0 at the half, but he made that big run inside of the final minute. Then we’re still up, 10-7 and it looks like we’ve got him, but somehow he makes a great play and gets off a pass when most players couldn’t. But you have to give it to him. Our kids came after him with everything they had, and stopped him on all but a couple plays. But good players make big plays.”

While the disappointment in the locker room was obvious, and it was long trip back home from Lynchburg, James was very proud of his 9-3 football team. “We all wish it could have been a little better, and I know the kids do too, but I’m very proud of this team. This team gave great effort. They played with a great attitude and the right mindset. This team’s work ethic was outstanding. We had an excellent senior class. They led the way, and I’m really very proud of them,” said James.

The game opened perfectly for the Cougars who took the opening kickoff and kept the pigskin for 11 plays and slowly drove it down the field with three first downs, but Broc Simpson was just wide right on a 47-yard field goal. But Glass went three and out on its first two possessions and the Cougar defense swarmed over Kendrick. Then on the Toppers’ third possession Craighead was running to his right and received heavy contact, was knocked back, and Cougar linebacker Luke Russell took the ball from his grasp and set sail for the promised land to score on a 56-yard run. Simpson kicked the conversion for a 7-0 PCHS lead with 10:12 left in the first half. Russell’s play was the longest play and longest scoring play of the season for the Cougars.

The Cougars would get on the board again in the second quarter. Following the kickoff Glass was three and out again, and punting from it own end zone, the Cougars got a good punt return from Logan Burchett and it was first down Pulaski Co. at the Glass 37. On third and long A.J. McCloud passed 17 yards to Burchett to get one first down, but the drive was stopped at that point and Simpson split the uprights from 37 yards out and his 12th field goal of the season put the Cougars on top 10-zip.

Then came Kendricks’ big run and Glass scored with :55 left in the half to cut the deficit to 10-7. The second half began just like the first half. Glass was stopped again three and out and a punt gave the Cougars great field position at the Hilltoppers 47. Pulaski Co. inched down the field, but after seven plays Simpson had to try a 44-yard field goal and he got under it just a bit, and his effort was true but just a bit short.

That was the last time the Cougars had a scoring opportunity, but still led going into the fourth quarter. Then on third and seven from the Cougar 10, Kendrick was under heat and headed for the ground back on the 20 when he somehow got off a perfect pass to Craighead for the score. Then late in the quarter the Cougars tried a fake punt trailing 14-10, and it resulted in a fumble setting up Craighead’s score. Then with :41 left Kendrick picked off a pass and ran 40 yards to the end zone for the final, 27-10 tally.

Glass finished with 218 yards rushing, and 49 passing for 267 total yards. Kendrick ran 21 times for 117 yards, Craighead 11 times for 98. Kendrick was six of 11 passing.

Pulaski Co. rushed for 77 yards on 32 carries and passed for 64 yards on eight of 15 for 141 total yards. Keyontae Kennedy got 55 yards on 19 runs, and Gage Mannon 24 on six. Burchett caught two passes for 30 yards, and Layne Suthers one for 13. Russell’s fumble return for a touchdown was the 25th turnover on the season for the Cougar defense.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot