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Cougars travel up I-81

Pulaski County gets back into action again this week, as they travel back up Interstate 81 for another road game. This week the Cougars are walking into a hornets nest, as the Lord Botetourt Cavaliers have a full squad of healthy players for only the second time this season.
After talking to Coach Jack Turner last week it really seems like this past off-week couldn’t have come at a better time, as several players were nursing injuries and illnesses after that tough and physical battle that took place two weeks ago at Jefferson Forest.
What a battle that one was! The Cougar defense really came of age in that game, and while it was in no way a pretty win or a dominating game by either team through most of the game, it certainly turned in favor of Pulaski in the end. Three straight sacks to stop the Cavalier offense with under two minutes left in the game, followed by a great run for a first down on 3rd and 6 by quarterback Luke Watson to seal the win. What a game!
While the Cougars may have learned a lot about themselves in that game, it did leave them with some injuries to deal with also. Heading into this week’s game against Lord Botetourt, the Cougar coaching staff will be asking some younger players to step up to the challenge, as some of the normal starters will be limited in their playing time due to those injuries and the flu bug that has been going around the schools.
“I think at this point it might be easier to ask who isn’t hurt or sick,” said Coach Turner. “We’ve got a lot of kids down right now. The week off certainly helped, but it just seems like it’s that time of year where everybody is getting sick. We’ve got several players fighting the flu bug right now.  Lord Botetourt is getting healthy at just the right time, and we are not.  We’ll find out a lot about our team this week, because we’re going to ask a lot of kids who normally don’t play as much to step up and make a difference.  If we can do that, we’ll be stronger as a team in the long run.  We’re going to have to play with heart and character, and we’re going to have to play Cougar Football the way it was meant to be played … hard.  We need to hit hard, we need to block hard, and we need to run hard.  We can’t take a play off, or Lord Botetourt will take advantage of it.”
Pulaski County leads the series with the Cavs by a record of four wins, no losses, and in 1976 the Cougars and Cavs played to a 6-6 tie. The Cavaliers bring a 2 – 4 record this season into the contest, but that record is absolutely deceiving. The Cavs started out the season with a 24-7 win over James River, followed by a 42-20 loss at the hands of the Salem Spartans. The following week they lost to Hidden Valley by a score of 36-30, and then they lost to Brookville 36-0. That was followed up with a loss to a strong Patrick County team 36-24.
Normally, a person would see those losses and think “oh well, they’re a team having a down year.” Not the case here. The Cavaliers have played those four losses without the services of their seven best players, who were all injured in the second week’s game against Salem. The Cavs were playing well against the Spartans, but who can blame them for losing when they have their starting quarterback, their star running back, their best receiver, and then four other starters go down to injuries. In their first game with most of those starters back, the Cavs defeated the Blacksburg Bruins, 20-17.
This is a dangerous team that the Cougars will be facing when the ball is kicked off on Friday night. Head Coach “Tater” Benson is trying to take his young program to the next level, and they have shown that they have the potential to get there.  Players to watch include their running back, No. 5 Zack Santolla, quarterback No. 8 Emory Straub, running back No. 9 Josh Colombini, and lineman No. 70 Patrick McNichols.
On offense, the Cavaliers have an excellent passing game and can run the ball well. They have moved the ball well at times in every game they’ve played, even with the injured players out. With all of those key players back in place, the Cavalier coaching staff can feel free to cut their team loose to run the offense they want to run.
Defensively, they are a young team that only returned four starters from last season’s team. They have been hurt by big plays so far this season more than long drives, but they have showed signs of improvement in all of their weak areas in each game. The Cavs do have an excellent special teams, however, which could be a big difference-maker in a close game. Last week against Blacksburg they returned a punt for a touchdown, and made a kick to win the game.
Pulaski County will have to have some players step up this week. This is the kind of thing that makes a win a true “TEAM” win. It has always been the belief of this team that if a man goes down, you put another gold helmet in his place and you do your best. I expect we will see no less this Friday.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article titled “It’s starting to feel like Cougar Football again.” I’ve been in the locker room with this team, and it just feels different. I’ve been on the sidelines with this team, and it just feels different. I’ve been at practice, in the weight room, and I’ve been there when they’ve done their film studies each week. It just feels different. I hope to see the same type of crowd or better this week, as the Cougars continue to face each game one game at a time, one week at a time, and one battle at a time. Let’s get out and make some noise this week, and let these young men know exactly how much we appreciate all of their hard work. It’s Cougar Football on a Friday night! I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.
———
A quick update on Dan “The Man” Callahan for all those who have been asking. Dan is out of the hospital finally, as the doctors were able to pinpoint his problem, and they have begun treating it. While Dan is feeling a bit better, he does still have a ways to go. He was scheduled to go back to the doctor on Wednesday, and depending on how things go, he may even be able to make it to the game on Friday. It will be against what his doctors want him to do, but that’s the kind of love that Dan has for this team, this program, and this school. Dan asked me to cover this week’s pre-game story for him, but with a little luck we may be able to read the postgame story from “The Man” himself. If not, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated as to his status. Let’s keep him in all of our prayers for a quick and full recovery.

Cougars travel up I-81

Pulaski County gets back into action again this week, as they travel back up Interstate 81 for another road game. This week the Cougars are walking into a hornets nest, as the Lord Botetourt Cavaliers have a full squad of healthy players for only the second time this season.
After talking to Coach Jack Turner last week it really seems like this past off-week couldn’t have come at a better time, as several players were nursing injuries and illnesses after that tough and physical battle that took place two weeks ago at Jefferson Forest.
What a battle that one was! The Cougar defense really came of age in that game, and while it was in no way a pretty win or a dominating game by either team through most of the game, it certainly turned in favor of Pulaski in the end. Three straight sacks to stop the Cavalier offense with under two minutes left in the game, followed by a great run for a first down on 3rd and 6 by quarterback Luke Watson to seal the win. What a game!
While the Cougars may have learned a lot about themselves in that game, it did leave them with some injuries to deal with also. Heading into this week’s game against Lord Botetourt, the Cougar coaching staff will be asking some younger players to step up to the challenge, as some of the normal starters will be limited in their playing time due to those injuries and the flu bug that has been going around the schools.
“I think at this point it might be easier to ask who isn’t hurt or sick,” said Coach Turner. “We’ve got a lot of kids down right now. The week off certainly helped, but it just seems like it’s that time of year where everybody is getting sick. We’ve got several players fighting the flu bug right now.  Lord Botetourt is getting healthy at just the right time, and we are not.  We’ll find out a lot about our team this week, because we’re going to ask a lot of kids who normally don’t play as much to step up and make a difference.  If we can do that, we’ll be stronger as a team in the long run.  We’re going to have to play with heart and character, and we’re going to have to play Cougar Football the way it was meant to be played … hard.  We need to hit hard, we need to block hard, and we need to run hard.  We can’t take a play off, or Lord Botetourt will take advantage of it.”
Pulaski County leads the series with the Cavs by a record of four wins, no losses, and in 1976 the Cougars and Cavs played to a 6-6 tie. The Cavaliers bring a 2 – 4 record this season into the contest, but that record is absolutely deceiving. The Cavs started out the season with a 24-7 win over James River, followed by a 42-20 loss at the hands of the Salem Spartans. The following week they lost to Hidden Valley by a score of 36-30, and then they lost to Brookville 36-0. That was followed up with a loss to a strong Patrick County team 36-24.
Normally, a person would see those losses and think “oh well, they’re a team having a down year.” Not the case here. The Cavaliers have played those four losses without the services of their seven best players, who were all injured in the second week’s game against Salem. The Cavs were playing well against the Spartans, but who can blame them for losing when they have their starting quarterback, their star running back, their best receiver, and then four other starters go down to injuries. In their first game with most of those starters back, the Cavs defeated the Blacksburg Bruins, 20-17.
This is a dangerous team that the Cougars will be facing when the ball is kicked off on Friday night. Head Coach “Tater” Benson is trying to take his young program to the next level, and they have shown that they have the potential to get there.  Players to watch include their running back, No. 5 Zack Santolla, quarterback No. 8 Emory Straub, running back No. 9 Josh Colombini, and lineman No. 70 Patrick McNichols.
On offense, the Cavaliers have an excellent passing game and can run the ball well. They have moved the ball well at times in every game they’ve played, even with the injured players out. With all of those key players back in place, the Cavalier coaching staff can feel free to cut their team loose to run the offense they want to run.
Defensively, they are a young team that only returned four starters from last season’s team. They have been hurt by big plays so far this season more than long drives, but they have showed signs of improvement in all of their weak areas in each game. The Cavs do have an excellent special teams, however, which could be a big difference-maker in a close game. Last week against Blacksburg they returned a punt for a touchdown, and made a kick to win the game.
Pulaski County will have to have some players step up this week. This is the kind of thing that makes a win a true “TEAM” win. It has always been the belief of this team that if a man goes down, you put another gold helmet in his place and you do your best. I expect we will see no less this Friday.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article titled “It’s starting to feel like Cougar Football again.” I’ve been in the locker room with this team, and it just feels different. I’ve been on the sidelines with this team, and it just feels different. I’ve been at practice, in the weight room, and I’ve been there when they’ve done their film studies each week. It just feels different. I hope to see the same type of crowd or better this week, as the Cougars continue to face each game one game at a time, one week at a time, and one battle at a time. Let’s get out and make some noise this week, and let these young men know exactly how much we appreciate all of their hard work. It’s Cougar Football on a Friday night! I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.
———
A quick update on Dan “The Man” Callahan for all those who have been asking. Dan is out of the hospital finally, as the doctors were able to pinpoint his problem, and they have begun treating it. While Dan is feeling a bit better, he does still have a ways to go. He was scheduled to go back to the doctor on Wednesday, and depending on how things go, he may even be able to make it to the game on Friday. It will be against what his doctors want him to do, but that’s the kind of love that Dan has for this team, this program, and this school. Dan asked me to cover this week’s pre-game story for him, but with a little luck we may be able to read the postgame story from “The Man” himself. If not, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated as to his status. Let’s keep him in all of our prayers for a quick and full recovery.