Abingdon– Pulaski County put up its second shutout of the season, and put 49 big points on the board in totally dominating Abingdon on the road Friday night in all phases of the game. The Cougars have allowed just six points in three games, and those came on a deflected pass to a lineman on the final play of the Bassett game. The Cougars move to 3-0 on the season, and the Falcons drop to 2-1.
Abingdon finished with a net total yards gained of minus two. The Cougar defense came up with six turnovers in the game, and sacked Falcon quarterback Jadon Boothe six times. Abingdon could not handle the Cougar quickness. The score was 39-0 at the half and the final two quarters were timed on a continuous clock.
Things started out all wrong for Abingdon and stayed that way. On the first play from scrimmage center Spencer Buddington turned his ankle. On the next play the backup center snapped the ball over Boothe’s head from the 26 and it zoomed all the way to the end zone and Pulaski County’s Ethan Gallimore recovered for six. Kicker Broc Simpson converted on five of six Cougar touchdowns.
It quickly moved to 9-0 when another bad snap resulted in Booth jumping on the lose pigskin in the Falcon end zone just ahead of Ethan Gallimore who got credit for the safety, so the defensive end/outside linebacker was credited with eight points in the first minute of the game. But things were only getting started. Pulaski County would intercept two passes and recover four fumbles as the Abingdon offense was overwhelmed.
Later in the first quarter the Cougars forced a punt from deep in Abingdon territory, and took over at the Falcon 34. Six plays later Gage Mannon went over the goal line from a yard out after running for 15 yards to the two earlier, and it was 16-0 with 4:23 still left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter a Cougar drive stalled and Simpson drilled a 42-yard field goal for 19-0. Following the kickoff Boothe tried to pass deep and Corvin Carter got his second pass interception of the season and weaved his way 35 yards with the pick to the Falcon 18. Two plays later Keyontae Kennedy zipped over from 10 yards out and it was 26-0.
Following the kickoff Boothe tried to pass downfield again. Mannon made a leaping interception and returned it 40 yards to paydirt and it was, 33-0 with still over six minutes left in the first half. Abingdon again had the ball knocked loose and Chayton Rollins jumped on it as the Falcon 24. Quarterback A.J.McCloud passed over the middle to Landon McDaniel for nine yards, Kennedy ran for eight, and then McCloud rolled to his right and found Logan Burchett in the end zone with an eight-yard touchdown pass. Surprisingly Simpson missed the conversion kick, but it was, 39-0.
It looked like the Cougars would strike again early when Layne Suthers returned the second half kickoff 53 yards, but the Cougars fumbled the ball away, but two plays later the Falcons returned the favor and Zeke Surber recovered for Pulaski County at the 44. Then came the most impressive offensive drive of the season to date for the Cougars as the offensive front began to knock holes in the Abingdon defense. Kennedy ran for 12 yards, then ran for 12 again as he began breaking the line of scrimmage clean. McCloud passed to Jakari Finley for 12, and then Kennedy again ran for a dozen. Three times on the drive Kennedy had 12 yard runs. McCloud than found Finley with a pass for seven more yard to the 13, and on the next snap Kennedy ran through a gaping hole off the right side for the touchdown making the score, 46-0, and there was still 4:57 left in the third quarter even though the clock never stopped running.
At this point personnel began to change as the game was not in doubt and Pulaski County head coach Stephen James emptied his bench. With 6:28 left in the game Simpson hit his second field of the season from 45 yards. The score would remain, 49-0 the rest of the way.
“Abingdon had bad luck when their center turned his ankle on the first possession,” said James. “He was able to return, but that first bad snap gave us a jump start. I thought we played a physical game. Our defense continued to play real well. Our offense is improving a bit every week, and our special teams are also playing very well. We shocked Abingdon early, and our guys really got after it. We won the battle at the line of scrimmage and when you do that you usually win, but we got big plays from a lot of kids, and we got them in all phases of the game. I’m really pleased with the team, but now we come back to practice Monday and we’ll see if we can continue to improve again,” said James.
Abingdon rushed the football 33 times for minus 15 yards. Highly touted tailback Martin Lucas who had rusher for over 400 yards the first two games was held to 21 on 12 carries. Boothe, under constant heat, was sacked and when he tried to keep the ball off the option was throttled. He finished with minus 87 yards on 12 plays. Boothe was two of nine passing for 13 with the two picks.
Pulaski County finished with 232 total yards of offense. The Cougars ran for 167 and Kennedy was the first player to run for over 100 yards in a game this season. The sophomore rushed the ball 13 times for 107 yards. Mannon ran five times for 25, Finley got 17 on four tries, Chris Shay gained 21 yards on two runs, Drew Dalton gained three yards on one carry, and McCloud finished with minus two on nine.
McCloud passed for 65 yards on six of 11 attempts, but he did suffer two interceptions. Finley caught three passes for 35 yards, Burchett two for 21, and McDaniel one for nine. The Cougars will be on the road again next Friday with a trip to Vinton scheduled to play William Byrd.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot