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It just might be their time

Pulaski County’s football team is 7-0 heading into Friday tomorrow night’s big clash at 5-2 Blacksburg.
Being 7-0 is great. It’s been awhile. You hear Cougars fans talk about how it used to be, and this team reminds me of this and that. I’m not sure that’s fair to this current squad of Cougars. “This’’ team reminds me of this team. I’ve watched it grow and mature, just like all those before it. It doesn’t need to be compared to any team before it, and this team doesn’t need to live in the past. This is now. This team is good, and it stands on its own.
But why is this team good? It’s good for a whole bunch of reasons, and usually good things comes together for an assortment of reasons.
Big defensive tackle Langston Lewis is a good place to start. He comes from Louisiana by way of hurricane Katrina. When he got to Pulaski to live with his uncle George Penn, he had never really been a serious football player before. But his uncle told him if you’re going to be 365 pounds and live here, you will have to answer a lot of questions about why you don’t play football.
So “Lang’’ as his teammates and coaches call him, decided he’d give the pigskin a try. It took a while, a couple of years in fact to learn how to play the game. He arrived as a sophomore, and now he’s a senior and he really knows how to play the game. He’s fourth on the team in tackles, averaging seven a game, and if you want to run up the middle of the Cougar defense you had better bring a load because “Lang’’ will be there to take you on. It was known that Pulaski County would have a strong defensive front this season, but there was one hole to fill at the line of scrimmage. “Lang’’ has filled it in a big way. He’s not just big. He can play the game.
Josh Miller, Brandon Hazzard and Jared Cole are also back for their senior seasons. Everybody knew they would be good, but they might be even better than expected. And now Lewis completes what is likely one of the best defensive fronts in Pulaski County history.
How about linebackers? There’s not a ton of experience, but this is where the maturing process is the most obvious in this opinion. E.J. Dobbins transferred up from Radford two years ago, but few really knew much about it. He had injured a knee during his sophomore season, played sparingly during the first game of his junior season, and then was out for the remainder of the year. Few people around the River Ridge District even knew Dobbins existed. Well, Dobbins is 6-0, 225, plays tough and is tied for fourth on the team in tackles with Lewis. He’s also far more than a capable backup at fullback and has scored four touchdowns. He’s a player.
Then there’s C.J. Burleson, another of those squad players you might say. He’s been around four years, played on the freshmen team, played on the junior varsity, was a reserve on the varsity as a junior, and slam, bam, he’s now a senior, and is the starting inside linebacker. He’s a very mature 6-0, 200 fourth year player who has paid his dues and is ready to play and ready to roll. Given the opportunity, Burleson will strike you like a good linebacker is supposed to do. He’s a player.
Then comes outside backer Seth Parris, another of those seniors. He was the starting fullback last year and is again, and a good one. He’s tough, likes to run the football inside, but has better speed than most realize. Given the opportunity, he can carry the mail. He’s paid his dues too, been on the team four years, has learned how to play the game, and he, along with the rest of this senior class, has great expectations for his final season. Parris is a player.
Then comes the most athletically gifted linebacker for Pulaski County. Tahrick Peak is 6-2, 200, and he gets to the football. He’s the team’s leading tackler at an even dozen a game. Find number “11’’ and you’ll find the football, and the guy that’s usually got it is laying on the ground because Peak has just knocked him down. Yes, he has an older brother who runs the football pretty doggone good, but I’m not sure that Nubian Peak is any better a running back than his brother is a linebacker. He makes plays, he loves to play the game, and as a senior in 2009, will be a highly recruited linebacker. He’s a player too and completes the best crew of linebackers around.
The defense makes plays. Senior safety Zane Quesenberry is a team leader in his second season as a starter and has six pass interceptions, six receptions from his wideout position on offense, and is an excellent natural athlete.
Quesenberry is the “Peter Pan’’ of the Cougar secondary. There is talent, enough size, speed, and ability. It’s the best secondary in a long time at Pulaski County. Antwyne Calfee has two interceptions and has also caught two passes, and is another example of what can happen when you have a strong program, and yes, Pulaski County still has a strong football program and always has. Calfee is another of those four-year squad guys that has worked hard, moved up the ladder, paid his dues, and now is ready to make plays as a senior. There are also numerous solid underclass players who will return with the ability to be leaders next season, and have played very well already this year.
And there’s another huge example of how sometimes a team just comes together on this 2008 Cougar squad. Junior quarterback Luke Watson just walked in one day and asked if he could talk about transferring from Auburn. He said he wanted to see if he could play at a higher level, and wanted to play for a program that took football seriously.
Well, Pulaski County takes football very seriously. So does Watson, and before he completes his career, he could very well be the best quarterback to ever play for the Cougars. He can throw it, he can run it, he plays with his body, but also his brains. He has allowed Pulaski County to open up its offensive attack and it has turned into what may well be the most diversified offense in school history. But the best thing about Watson is he’s just a junior.
We take things for granted. I was surprised during one game this season. A Cougar player standing behind me on the sideline was talking about all the people, and how he had never seen so many people at one of his games before. I turned, and it was Watson. Sure, he’s the starting quarterback, and all that, but I had to remind myself he had come from Auburn, and it was also a reminder that Pulaski County fans take football serious too.
Just a look at this team’s statistics tells you a lot also. The Cougars are averaging 19 first downs a game to the opponent’s seven. They lead in virtually every offensive category like 266-50 per game in rushing. Nubian Peak is getting 102 yards a game, but is hardly averaging double figure carries. Certainly nobody can complain about tired legs as we come down the stretch. There is a lot of productivity that comes from a lot of different players. The numbers tell the story.
Watson is 30 of 54 passing for 539 yards and four touchdowns. With the weapons at his disposal, Watson could probably be much more productive at some other schools, but all those other weapons make it unnecessary, and Watson himself is one of them. His ability has made it possible for the Cougars to install an option package to the offense and he has run 37 times for 237 yards. Watson’s total offense is almost 800 yards. Parris is second on the team with 101 rushes for 397 yards, and there are numerous others that have been solid contributors and many of them are underclassmen who should be even better in 2009. Nubian Peak has caught eight passes, Quesenberry is second with six, but eight players have caught at least one aerial. Such statistics make it obvious this team has talent, and a lot of capable players in the skill position areas.
The Cougars are tripling the opposition in total offense. Pulaski County is averaging 343 yards rushing and passing per game, the opposition just 142.
The Pulaski County offense has sputtered a time or two, but has given up only four turnovers. The Cougar defense has created 15 turnovers. Pulaski County makes big plays, on both offense and defense. Miller leads the way with two fumble recoveries, and Quesenberry has a region best six picks.
Pulaski County has scored 236 points, better than 33 per game on the season. The defense has allowed just 64 points, just barely nine per game. The Cougars are outscoring the enemy by 24 points a contest. Nubian Peak has scored 80 points, and Parris is second with 48.
Hazzard is third on the team in tackles, also averaging seven per game along with Dobbins, Burleson and Lewis, and all behind Tahrick Peak’s 12. In short, a lot of people are getting in on the action, and that’s good. This defense puts on the heat. The Cougars attack the opponent’s offense. Miller, Cole, Lewis, Hazzard, T. Peak, Burleson, Dobbins and Parris have given many a quarterback a headache, not to mention a nervous breakdown.
So is this one of the better Pulaski County teams in school history? Maybe. The next three games will provide the answer to that question. But it is interesting to see how all the parts have fallen into place, and where they came from. You also hear coaches speak often of being patient. That’s probably the biggest asset of this team. There are a lot of seniors, some of whom have been starters before during their careers, and some not, but all of them have put in the time. More than anything else, it’s been a maturing process, and now many of these Cougars are very capable as seniors. This team is quicker, more aggressive, has the ability to make plays, and I believe more important than anything else, believes it’s their time, and it just might be. 

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It just might be their time

Pulaski County’s football team is 7-0 heading into Friday tomorrow night’s big clash at 5-2 Blacksburg.
Being 7-0 is great. It’s been awhile. You hear Cougars fans talk about how it used to be, and this team reminds me of this and that. I’m not sure that’s fair to this current squad of Cougars. “This’’ team reminds me of this team. I’ve watched it grow and mature, just like all those before it. It doesn’t need to be compared to any team before it, and this team doesn’t need to live in the past. This is now. This team is good, and it stands on its own.
But why is this team good? It’s good for a whole bunch of reasons, and usually good things comes together for an assortment of reasons.
Big defensive tackle Langston Lewis is a good place to start. He comes from Louisiana by way of hurricane Katrina. When he got to Pulaski to live with his uncle George Penn, he had never really been a serious football player before. But his uncle told him if you’re going to be 365 pounds and live here, you will have to answer a lot of questions about why you don’t play football.
So “Lang’’ as his teammates and coaches call him, decided he’d give the pigskin a try. It took a while, a couple of years in fact to learn how to play the game. He arrived as a sophomore, and now he’s a senior and he really knows how to play the game. He’s fourth on the team in tackles, averaging seven a game, and if you want to run up the middle of the Cougar defense you had better bring a load because “Lang’’ will be there to take you on. It was known that Pulaski County would have a strong defensive front this season, but there was one hole to fill at the line of scrimmage. “Lang’’ has filled it in a big way. He’s not just big. He can play the game.
Josh Miller, Brandon Hazzard and Jared Cole are also back for their senior seasons. Everybody knew they would be good, but they might be even better than expected. And now Lewis completes what is likely one of the best defensive fronts in Pulaski County history.
How about linebackers? There’s not a ton of experience, but this is where the maturing process is the most obvious in this opinion. E.J. Dobbins transferred up from Radford two years ago, but few really knew much about it. He had injured a knee during his sophomore season, played sparingly during the first game of his junior season, and then was out for the remainder of the year. Few people around the River Ridge District even knew Dobbins existed. Well, Dobbins is 6-0, 225, plays tough and is tied for fourth on the team in tackles with Lewis. He’s also far more than a capable backup at fullback and has scored four touchdowns. He’s a player.
Then there’s C.J. Burleson, another of those squad players you might say. He’s been around four years, played on the freshmen team, played on the junior varsity, was a reserve on the varsity as a junior, and slam, bam, he’s now a senior, and is the starting inside linebacker. He’s a very mature 6-0, 200 fourth year player who has paid his dues and is ready to play and ready to roll. Given the opportunity, Burleson will strike you like a good linebacker is supposed to do. He’s a player.
Then comes outside backer Seth Parris, another of those seniors. He was the starting fullback last year and is again, and a good one. He’s tough, likes to run the football inside, but has better speed than most realize. Given the opportunity, he can carry the mail. He’s paid his dues too, been on the team four years, has learned how to play the game, and he, along with the rest of this senior class, has great expectations for his final season. Parris is a player.
Then comes the most athletically gifted linebacker for Pulaski County. Tahrick Peak is 6-2, 200, and he gets to the football. He’s the team’s leading tackler at an even dozen a game. Find number “11’’ and you’ll find the football, and the guy that’s usually got it is laying on the ground because Peak has just knocked him down. Yes, he has an older brother who runs the football pretty doggone good, but I’m not sure that Nubian Peak is any better a running back than his brother is a linebacker. He makes plays, he loves to play the game, and as a senior in 2009, will be a highly recruited linebacker. He’s a player too and completes the best crew of linebackers around.
The defense makes plays. Senior safety Zane Quesenberry is a team leader in his second season as a starter and has six pass interceptions, six receptions from his wideout position on offense, and is an excellent natural athlete.
Quesenberry is the “Peter Pan’’ of the Cougar secondary. There is talent, enough size, speed, and ability. It’s the best secondary in a long time at Pulaski County. Antwyne Calfee has two interceptions and has also caught two passes, and is another example of what can happen when you have a strong program, and yes, Pulaski County still has a strong football program and always has. Calfee is another of those four-year squad guys that has worked hard, moved up the ladder, paid his dues, and now is ready to make plays as a senior. There are also numerous solid underclass players who will return with the ability to be leaders next season, and have played very well already this year.
And there’s another huge example of how sometimes a team just comes together on this 2008 Cougar squad. Junior quarterback Luke Watson just walked in one day and asked if he could talk about transferring from Auburn. He said he wanted to see if he could play at a higher level, and wanted to play for a program that took football seriously.
Well, Pulaski County takes football very seriously. So does Watson, and before he completes his career, he could very well be the best quarterback to ever play for the Cougars. He can throw it, he can run it, he plays with his body, but also his brains. He has allowed Pulaski County to open up its offensive attack and it has turned into what may well be the most diversified offense in school history. But the best thing about Watson is he’s just a junior.
We take things for granted. I was surprised during one game this season. A Cougar player standing behind me on the sideline was talking about all the people, and how he had never seen so many people at one of his games before. I turned, and it was Watson. Sure, he’s the starting quarterback, and all that, but I had to remind myself he had come from Auburn, and it was also a reminder that Pulaski County fans take football serious too.
Just a look at this team’s statistics tells you a lot also. The Cougars are averaging 19 first downs a game to the opponent’s seven. They lead in virtually every offensive category like 266-50 per game in rushing. Nubian Peak is getting 102 yards a game, but is hardly averaging double figure carries. Certainly nobody can complain about tired legs as we come down the stretch. There is a lot of productivity that comes from a lot of different players. The numbers tell the story.
Watson is 30 of 54 passing for 539 yards and four touchdowns. With the weapons at his disposal, Watson could probably be much more productive at some other schools, but all those other weapons make it unnecessary, and Watson himself is one of them. His ability has made it possible for the Cougars to install an option package to the offense and he has run 37 times for 237 yards. Watson’s total offense is almost 800 yards. Parris is second on the team with 101 rushes for 397 yards, and there are numerous others that have been solid contributors and many of them are underclassmen who should be even better in 2009. Nubian Peak has caught eight passes, Quesenberry is second with six, but eight players have caught at least one aerial. Such statistics make it obvious this team has talent, and a lot of capable players in the skill position areas.
The Cougars are tripling the opposition in total offense. Pulaski County is averaging 343 yards rushing and passing per game, the opposition just 142.
The Pulaski County offense has sputtered a time or two, but has given up only four turnovers. The Cougar defense has created 15 turnovers. Pulaski County makes big plays, on both offense and defense. Miller leads the way with two fumble recoveries, and Quesenberry has a region best six picks.
Pulaski County has scored 236 points, better than 33 per game on the season. The defense has allowed just 64 points, just barely nine per game. The Cougars are outscoring the enemy by 24 points a contest. Nubian Peak has scored 80 points, and Parris is second with 48.
Hazzard is third on the team in tackles, also averaging seven per game along with Dobbins, Burleson and Lewis, and all behind Tahrick Peak’s 12. In short, a lot of people are getting in on the action, and that’s good. This defense puts on the heat. The Cougars attack the opponent’s offense. Miller, Cole, Lewis, Hazzard, T. Peak, Burleson, Dobbins and Parris have given many a quarterback a headache, not to mention a nervous breakdown.
So is this one of the better Pulaski County teams in school history? Maybe. The next three games will provide the answer to that question. But it is interesting to see how all the parts have fallen into place, and where they came from. You also hear coaches speak often of being patient. That’s probably the biggest asset of this team. There are a lot of seniors, some of whom have been starters before during their careers, and some not, but all of them have put in the time. More than anything else, it’s been a maturing process, and now many of these Cougars are very capable as seniors. This team is quicker, more aggressive, has the ability to make plays, and I believe more important than anything else, believes it’s their time, and it just might be. 

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