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SHUTOUT!

CAVE SPRING — A zero is a big thing to a defensive unit. In football that means a shutout. In any athletic event that means a shutout.
Much has been written about Pulaski County’s improved defensive play in 2008. This writer has long felt like the main area that the Cougars are not as dominant as they used to be is defense. There’s a lot of reasons for that. Most of them center around changes in offensive philosophy, a large variety of schemes that make it much harder to prepare week to week, personnel, and other stuff too, but it still remains consistent today just like it was 20, 50, or 100 years ago. Almost always the best team has the best defense.
So far this football season, it appears Pulaski County has the best defensive unit in the region. Three times the Cougars have held teams to seven or fewer points in a game, and had chances of putting up goose eggs in a couple of other contests as well.
But then came Friday at Cave Spring. It was late in the second quarter before the Knights got a first down and they did not cross the 50-yard line in the first half. Cave had a paltry 47 yards of total offense the first half and finished the game with just 74, and no points. That’s right, a zero, a goose egg, a shutout for a very deserving defensive unit that has brought back the joy of playing great, physical, defense to Pulaski County.
It’s nice to see. You can feel it on the sidelines. You can hear it in the stands. The Cougar offense has been just fine, outstanding in fact, but often times anticipation and excitement has come from the play of the Cougar defense. And the players know it.
The front of Jared Cole, Josh Miller, Langston Lewis, and Brandon Hazzard has been tough. The linebacking corps of E.J. Dobbins, C.J. Burleson, Tahrick Peak, and Seth Parris gets to the football and usually puts a lick on somebody when they get there. The secondary has made plays. On Cave Spring’s only offensive threat of the game, cornerback Antwyne Calfee leaped and made a superb pass interception late in the third quarter. Safety Zane Quesenberry has six pass interceptions on the season.
The front made tackles behind the line of scrimmage all night. Peak deflected a pass attempt, Cole and Miller teamed up for a quarterback sack, and Josh Thompson recovered a fumble. The Cougar defense makes big plays, but it also plays consistently tough and makes the routine plays from the beginning of the game until the end, and make no mistake, given the opportunity, it will lay some wood on you. The Knights had 37 snaps in the game, and either lost yardage or gained nothing on 14 of them. Of the remaining 23 plays, Cave gained three yards or less on nine of them. It’s hard to make first downs like that.
Just like a big offensive night gets the attack force inspired, there is a great deal of satisfaction for a defensive unit when it gets a shutout. Defense wins, and it usually comes to the front in close games. There was once a season at Pulaski County when the team averaged scoring only 12 points a game, but advanced all the way to the state semi-final because that Cougar defensive unit allowed an average of less than five points a game. The fans got in the habit of giving that team’s defense a standing ovation when it came off the field. This one is getting close to being that good. You might remember that defense (1984). Present head coach Jack Turner, and coaching staff member Rodney Landreth were huge contributors. I got chills every time that unit took the field. It was a joy watching them break down an opponent’s offense.
That team’s leading rusher and scorer was Kenny Hampton. He ran for just 515 yards and scored only 42 points, but the problem was the opposition managed just single digits nine times and the Cougar “Gold Swarm’’ put up four shutouts on the way to 10 victories. There can be no better proof that defense indeed does win.
It’s important that an outstanding defense gets appropriate recognition, and putting up blanks will get that done.
“It’s very important,’’ said Cole in the Cougar locker room following the big 42-0 victory over Cave Spring Friday when asked if the shutout was big. “We’ve wanted a shutout all season. We’ve been close so many times. It’s definitely been one of our goals. I think we probably should have had two or three shutouts anyway, but it just hasn’t worked out for different reasons. These guys are great to play with, and they deserved that shutout tonight. Now, I just hope we can get another one, and then another and another,’’ smiled Cole.
“Oh man, I love it,’’ said Miller. “This defense has the ability to shut people down, and if you have the ability to do something, you should do it. We should have had a shutout or two long before tonight, but it just hasn’t worked out, but tonight it did, and I want to thank that second unit defense. In the past we would have a big lead and the first team defense would have to come out and we’d lose our shutout, but not tonight. The backups played great and they are obviously getting better. I’m happy for them too. It all starts up front on both sides of the football. If we do our job up front defensively, then the linebackers are free to take care of business and so are the buys in the secondary. We have the ability to be dominant at the line of scrimmage, and if you have the ability to dominate, then you should dominate,’’ said Miller.
That’s exactly what happened for the now undefeated 7-0 Pulaski County Cougars at Cave Spring Friday evening. They dominated. 

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SHUTOUT!

CAVE SPRING — A zero is a big thing to a defensive unit. In football that means a shutout. In any athletic event that means a shutout.
Much has been written about Pulaski County’s improved defensive play in 2008. This writer has long felt like the main area that the Cougars are not as dominant as they used to be is defense. There’s a lot of reasons for that. Most of them center around changes in offensive philosophy, a large variety of schemes that make it much harder to prepare week to week, personnel, and other stuff too, but it still remains consistent today just like it was 20, 50, or 100 years ago. Almost always the best team has the best defense.
So far this football season, it appears Pulaski County has the best defensive unit in the region. Three times the Cougars have held teams to seven or fewer points in a game, and had chances of putting up goose eggs in a couple of other contests as well.
But then came Friday at Cave Spring. It was late in the second quarter before the Knights got a first down and they did not cross the 50-yard line in the first half. Cave had a paltry 47 yards of total offense the first half and finished the game with just 74, and no points. That’s right, a zero, a goose egg, a shutout for a very deserving defensive unit that has brought back the joy of playing great, physical, defense to Pulaski County.
It’s nice to see. You can feel it on the sidelines. You can hear it in the stands. The Cougar offense has been just fine, outstanding in fact, but often times anticipation and excitement has come from the play of the Cougar defense. And the players know it.
The front of Jared Cole, Josh Miller, Langston Lewis, and Brandon Hazzard has been tough. The linebacking corps of E.J. Dobbins, C.J. Burleson, Tahrick Peak, and Seth Parris gets to the football and usually puts a lick on somebody when they get there. The secondary has made plays. On Cave Spring’s only offensive threat of the game, cornerback Antwyne Calfee leaped and made a superb pass interception late in the third quarter. Safety Zane Quesenberry has six pass interceptions on the season.
The front made tackles behind the line of scrimmage all night. Peak deflected a pass attempt, Cole and Miller teamed up for a quarterback sack, and Josh Thompson recovered a fumble. The Cougar defense makes big plays, but it also plays consistently tough and makes the routine plays from the beginning of the game until the end, and make no mistake, given the opportunity, it will lay some wood on you. The Knights had 37 snaps in the game, and either lost yardage or gained nothing on 14 of them. Of the remaining 23 plays, Cave gained three yards or less on nine of them. It’s hard to make first downs like that.
Just like a big offensive night gets the attack force inspired, there is a great deal of satisfaction for a defensive unit when it gets a shutout. Defense wins, and it usually comes to the front in close games. There was once a season at Pulaski County when the team averaged scoring only 12 points a game, but advanced all the way to the state semi-final because that Cougar defensive unit allowed an average of less than five points a game. The fans got in the habit of giving that team’s defense a standing ovation when it came off the field. This one is getting close to being that good. You might remember that defense (1984). Present head coach Jack Turner, and coaching staff member Rodney Landreth were huge contributors. I got chills every time that unit took the field. It was a joy watching them break down an opponent’s offense.
That team’s leading rusher and scorer was Kenny Hampton. He ran for just 515 yards and scored only 42 points, but the problem was the opposition managed just single digits nine times and the Cougar “Gold Swarm’’ put up four shutouts on the way to 10 victories. There can be no better proof that defense indeed does win.
It’s important that an outstanding defense gets appropriate recognition, and putting up blanks will get that done.
“It’s very important,’’ said Cole in the Cougar locker room following the big 42-0 victory over Cave Spring Friday when asked if the shutout was big. “We’ve wanted a shutout all season. We’ve been close so many times. It’s definitely been one of our goals. I think we probably should have had two or three shutouts anyway, but it just hasn’t worked out for different reasons. These guys are great to play with, and they deserved that shutout tonight. Now, I just hope we can get another one, and then another and another,’’ smiled Cole.
“Oh man, I love it,’’ said Miller. “This defense has the ability to shut people down, and if you have the ability to do something, you should do it. We should have had a shutout or two long before tonight, but it just hasn’t worked out, but tonight it did, and I want to thank that second unit defense. In the past we would have a big lead and the first team defense would have to come out and we’d lose our shutout, but not tonight. The backups played great and they are obviously getting better. I’m happy for them too. It all starts up front on both sides of the football. If we do our job up front defensively, then the linebackers are free to take care of business and so are the buys in the secondary. We have the ability to be dominant at the line of scrimmage, and if you have the ability to dominate, then you should dominate,’’ said Miller.
That’s exactly what happened for the now undefeated 7-0 Pulaski County Cougars at Cave Spring Friday evening. They dominated. 

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