Pulaski County’s football team will play its first home game in Dobson Stadium Friday evening when it hosts the Falcons of Abingdon. The Cougars will come into the game 1-1 on the season, the Falcons 2-0 and fresh off a, 45-13 victory over Gate City.
Cougar head coach Stephen James says it’s great to be playing at home. “The kids are excited. The first home game is always a big deal. We’ve been on the road since the season started. I have no doubt the team is looking forward to playing in the stadium.”
James was pleased with last week’s win at Fleming, but quickly adds it doesn’t count for anything this week. The Cougars scored on the run, pass, and in the kicking game and also shutout Fleming, 51-0. “That was nice. It’s always a big deal when you get the first win, but Abingdon will be a much tougher opponent. We need to forget about last Friday. It won’t help us this Friday. We’re playing a good team.”
The kicking game was much improved against Fleming, and the defensive changes worked very well. “We will stay with those changes,” says James. “We like where we’re at. But we still know that we must get better. There are challenges down the road. I’m not going to worry about them until we get there, but we must continue to improve throughout the season and I think this team can continue to get better.”
James does have some concerns on both sides of the football Friday. The Cougars are quick and aggressive on defense, but compared to the Abingdon offensive front, Pulaski County is very small. Up front for the Falcons are 6-3, 280 Major Cook, 6-5, 330 James Justice, 6-1, 270 Jackson Crumpton, and the ring leader is 6-4, 290 Greg Basham. “I guess we better be quick and come off the ball low,” said James. “Those guys from Abingson don’t look just big, they are tall and are good athletes. We must out-quick them.”
The Falcons run a spread offense and it’s led by duel threat quarterback Gabe Boothe. There is quickness with running back Martin Lucas. “Abingdon will want to try and run the ball first,” said James. “We need to force them to do what they don’t want to do. That’s where our defense is going to be tested because they are going to run behind that huge front. We must be able to deal with that.”
Pulaski County will counter with Jaxson Callahan, a 6-1, 265 senior at center, Logan Fox, a 6-1, 290 jr. will be one guard, and Carter Murray, a 5-10, 270 jr. the other, the tackles will be two sophomore, 6-3, 268 Clayton Phillips and 6-3, 260 Cooper Dunnigan. The quarterback will be 6-2, 200 sr. Kade Akers, the slot 5-11, 150 jr. Logan Burchett, the H-Back is 5-9, 195 jr. Austin Gallimore, the tailback 5-9, 175 soiph. Jakari Finley and the wideout 6-2, 170 sr. E.J. Horton. The kicker is Ryan Castle.
Defensively, the Cougars will have 5-10, 270 soph. Zeke Surber at the nose tackle, the two outside tackles will be seniors, Camden Mariotti, 5-11, 200, and Ben Arnett, 5-11, 195, the outside backers will be 6-3, 210 sr. Noah O’Dell and Finley, the inside linebackers Gallimore and 5-10, 170 jr. Luke Russell, the cornerbacks will be Horton and 6-1, 168 soph. A.J. McCloud, and the safeties will have 6-0, 190 jr. Gage Mannon and 5-11, 175 jr. Chris Shay. Broc Simpson is the punter.
Cougar Paws: The main ticket gate will open to Dobson Stadium at 5:30……………The game will be broadcast live on NASH 107/PSK. Airtime will be 6:30 with the Insurance Center of Dublin Pre-Game Show………………..In other games of interest Friday Danville will play at Jefferson Forest, Blacksburg travels to Amherst, Salem drives to Dinwiddie, E.C. Glass will host Franklin Co., Galas will play at Carroll County, Martinsburg, W.Va. will journey all the way to Lynchburg to face Liberty Christian, Hidden Valley will be at Northside, Liberty-Bedford will play at Christiansburg, and Glenvar travels to Cave Spring………..Pulaski County’s next game will also be at home against Carroll County.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot