By MASON CLARK
After a couple weeks of scrimmages, the regular season at long last got underway Friday night in Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium. The Northside Vikings came to Dublin to renew an old RVD rivalry, but the result was unlike the majority of the matchups between the two. In fact, it was more lobsided than perhaps it ever has been.
The Cougar offense, led by the offensive line, completely dominated the Vikings’ front seven, and the defense swarmed and shut down anyrhing Northside tried to do, leading to a surprising 43-0 win in head coach Cam Akers’ first game as coach.
The 43-point margin of victory is actually the biggest win in the series by either team; it narrowly edged out the 63-21 win the 1993 team had.
Things got off to a rather odd start. Consistent thunder and lightning pushed the game’s start time back to after 8:00. When things finally cleared up though, it didn’t take long to see that it was going to be one of those nights in Dobson Stadium.
The Cougars won the toss and chose to receive. Zach Parker returned the kickoff to the 30. Trevor Burton got his season off to a nice start, rushing for 41 yards on the opening drive.
On a second-and-long, Gallimore rolled out and hit sophomore Taner Mace to set up a Burton run to move the sticks on third down. After a fourth down conversion, Trevor Burton took the ball on a pitch play and followed his blocks while also fighting through Viking defenders to score the first touchdown of the night. Nathan Pratt locked the PAT to make the score 7-0 Cougars.
The Vikings, led by a freshman quarterback, came out and went three-and-out, not gaining a single yard.
The Cougars began driving again, but the first quarter ended at 7-0.
Picking up where we left off, the Cougar offensive line continued to pound away at the Viking front, paving the way to a 331-yard rushing performance. A combination of quarterback Chris Gallimore, fullback Trevor Burton and a-backs Brett Jones, Taner Mace and Zach Parker led to a short Gallimore touchdown run to make it 14-0 early in the second.
Northside’s offense was completely unable to move the ball all night long, again going three and out.
Another methodical drive, and another Burton touchdown run made it 21-0. The drive was aided by a very nice pass from Chris Gallimore down the seam to junior Brett Jones, who reversed his body to haul it in.
While the Cougars offense isn’t thought of to be a fast-moving one, Gallimore led a very good drive towards the end of the half. Brett Jones prevented a would-be interception with a good play to bat the ball down out of a Viking player’s hands, and he was rewarded for it a couple plays later. Running towards the left, he took the pitch from Gallimore, made a guy miss, then cut back through several Northside defenders and hit a burst of speed to the end zone, making it 28-0 at the half.
In the second half, the first Cougar points came when Evan Alger blew through the Vikings punt team and blocked a punt. The ball rolled out the back of the end zone, which resulted in a safety for a 30-0 lead.
The Cougars then took the free kick after the safety and continued to pound Northside. The drive would culminate with Gallimore’s second trip to the end zone, and the route was on with a 37-0 lead.
The defense finally allowed a first down towards the end of the third quarter, but the Vikings were still forced to punt.
The Cougars then got some younger guys in the game to get some experience.
Freshman quarterback Bryant Nottingham came in and continued the execution, running it well. Trevor Gallimore pounded away inside, and freshman Cole Boone put together a couple good runs, finishing things off with a touchdown run with a nice cut between blocks to put the finishing touches on a resounding 43-0 domination of Northside.
Gallimore rushed 20 times for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns while also completing 2 of 4 passes for 35 yards, running it well and efficient when passing. Trevor Burton was the leading rusher with 97 yards on 16 carries and 2 touchdowns. Brett Jones only got three carries, but made them count with 51 yards and his first score of the year. He also had a nice 23-yard catch. Freshman Cole Boone, who is also a national champion track star, ran 3 times for 50 yards and a score. Zach Parker rushed 2 times for 22 yards, sophomore Taner Mace ran 4 times for 17 yards and caught a 12-yard pass along with a tackle for loss on defense. Tyler Underwood ran twice for 8 yards, and freshman Bryant Nottingham ran once for one yard. Altogether, the Cougars rushed 52 times for 331 yards, about 6.4 yards a carry. That is very good. Fifty-six plays of offense for 366 yards, a 6.5 yards per play average, is also very good.
Northside’s stats weren’t as pretty. Twenty-two rush attempts for -16 (negative) yards, and freshman QB Angel Rigney struggled, going 6 of 11 passing for 39 yards. That leaves the Vikings with 33 plays for 23 yards of offense. Less than one yard of offense will not get the job done.
As good as the skill position players were, the offensive line and defensive fronts were simply dominant. Hunter Hill, Aiden Moore, Nolan Dalton, Diego Turner and Evan Alger pummeled the Vikings all night. Then on defense, it was much of the same. Diego Turner, Alan Fernandez, Jack Allen, Evan Alger, Tyler Underwood, Trevor Burton and Nicholas Woolwine all dominated up front on that side of things too. It was an all-around great night and week for Pulaski County football.
With that, the Cougars will move ahead to Tennessee High. These Vikings will probably be better than Northside’s, so we’ll see where we’re at. But a big win to start things is always very welcomed!