Keyonte Kennedy eyes a big hole created by his offensive line on his way to 114 yards rushing Friday night despite still having his right hand in a bulky cast. (Brian Bishop/The Patriot)
By MIKE WILLIAMS
The Pulaski County Cougars used a strong rushing attack and dominating defense Friday night to crush the Blacksburg Bruins, 56-0.
With the win the Cougars enter their bye week with a 4-0 record.
Pulaski County rushed for 399 yards in the game and had three running backs – Ethan Gallimore, Keyonte Kennedy and Quemar Porter – each rush for over 100 yards. Porter and Gallimore had over 100 by halftime.
Pulaski County added 30 more yards of offense through the air with quarterback Drew Dalton hitting Chase Dotson for the Cougars’ only completion.
While the offense scored on eight drives – the Cougars never punted – the Pulaski County defense was way too stout for the Bruins who could manage only 33 total yards of offense.
The Cougar “D” also forced three Bruin turnovers, with senior cornerback Corvin Carter snagging an interception followed by fumble recoveries by seniors Jacob Turman and Grayson Deu.
Dalton put Pulaski County on the board mid-way through the first quarter on a 12-yard carry at the 7:34 mark. Broc Simpson added the PAT for a 7-0 Cougar lead.
The Cougars were set up in great position for the start of the drive when junior return man John Lyman returned the Bruins punt 20 yards to the Blacksburg 25.
The score grew to 14-0 a couple minutes into the second quarter when Dalton and Dotson connected on that 30-yard strike. Simpson was good again and the Cougars added to their lead.
Gallimore and Porter did most of the damage leading to the score, with Gallimore rambling for 31 yards on one play, and Porter adding runs of 13 and 21 on the drive.
Just two minutes later, Carter got his interception of the Bruins’ sophomore signal caller, Spencer Campbell.
Campbell was handed the starting job early this season when Blacksburg’s starter, Parker Epperly, was injured.
Moments later Gallimore took off on a 52-yard carry from the Blacksburg 48 to score the longest rushing touchdown of the season so far for the Cougars.
Simpson was good again on the extra-point and Pulaski County led, 21-0.
Four minutes later, Kennedy carried three straight times and finished off the possession with a 2-yard TD run. Simpson’s PAT was good and Pulaski County’s lead had grown to 28-0.
Just before halftime, Porter became the Cougars’ featured back for the possession, carrying for runs of 25 and 24 yards before taking the ball into the endzone on a 1-yard score. Simpson added the PAT and Pulaski County led 35-0 going into halftime.
Kennedy became the Cougars’ featured back in the second half rushing behind a strong offensive line that continued creating holes in Blacksburg’s defense.
Lyman got things going in the third with a 52-yard kickoff return.
It took only eight plays before Kennedy broke loose on a 23-yard touchdown run. Simpson’s extra point made it 42-0.
Turman covered a Bruins fumble to give the ball right back to Pulaski County.
Kennedy went back to work again and – midway through the third – scored from the three for the Cougars’ seventh touchdown. Simpson’s kick made it 49-0.
The scoring drive was aided by a late hit personal foul by Blacksburg on one play.
Again, a turnover gave the Cougars the ball right back, with Deu recovering a Bruin fumble.
It didn’t take the Cougars long before Kennedy scored again, rushing untouched from 6 yards out for the score. Simpson’s kick made it the final 56-0.
When the dust had settled, Gallimore led the Cougar rushers with 133 yards on only 9 carries. Porter added 121 also on 9 carries. And Kennedy – complete with a cast on his right hand – added 114 yards on 19 carries. Dalton added 5 carries for 12 yards, while his understudy Cam Cooper rushed once for 1 yard. Brett Jones added 6 carries for 18 yards.
The Cougars had no turnovers, while Blacksburg lost the ball on an interception and two of five fumbles.
The Cougars again saw their fair share of yellow flags – mostly in the first half – getting flagged 8 times for 70 yards. Blacksburg was called for 2 penalties for 25 yards.
Pulaski County amassed 23 first downs to Blacksburg’s 3.
The Cougars are off this week and return to action March 26 when powerful Patrick Henry comes to town at 7 p.m.
The regular season comes to a close the next week on Good Friday when the Cougars travel to Salem on April 2.
Senior linebacker Will Bishop drags down a Blacksburg ball carrier. The Cougar defense allowed the Bruins only 33 total yards on offense. (Antonio Nottingham/PC TD Club)