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Pulaski Co. vs. Salem

Just in case you hadn’t heard, there is a rather big prep football game on tap this Friday in Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium. You say control of the senate was at stake at the polls this week? That’s nothing compared to a Pulaski County vs. Salem football game.
It is without question the most anticipated matchup each gridiron season in these parts, and most of the time much is at stake when the Cougars and Spartans lock horns. There has never been a bigger confrontation between the two than this week though simply because everything is at stake.
The River Ridge District championship is on the line. It would be a fifth straight for Salem. The Spartans have been dominant in one of the toughest districts in Virginia. Pulaski County has not won a district crown since 2001. Most Cougar fans would like to think the Cougars are overdue, particularly since they used to hang trophies like bells on a Christmas tree.
The two schools have done battle on the football field 32 times. Each has won 16 times. I’d say that’s pretty close to being even. However, it’s been a series of streaks which is not usually the case in rivalries such as this.
During one stretch Pulaski County beat Salem eight straight times from 1978-1985. The Cougars also won three straight in ’93-’95, and four straight from 2000-’02. The fourth straight came by virtue of two wins in ’01, something that the Spartans have taken advantage of a couple of times in recent seasons.
Salem followed Pulaski County’s early winning streak with a five-gamer of its own from 1986-’92.  There were no games in ’88-’89 as Salem chose not to play after dropping to Group AA with Pulaski County remaining in the old Group AAA Roanoke Valley District.
Presently the Spartans are working on a seven-game streak that has lasted from ’03 until now. They have benefited from winning twice in ’05 and last season when the two teams met to end the regular season and also in the region playoffs.
It would be hard for a matchup to be any closer, at least on paper going into the game. Pulaski County is 9-0. The Cougars are ranked number two in the state by Associated Press, fourth by Virginia Preps, and tied for fourth with Salem in the Virginia High School League Power Ratings Scale, the only poll of any kind that actually counts for anything. Both teams have 28.7 ratings heading into Friday’s confrontation.
The 8-1 Spartans are ranked sixth in the AP poll, seventh by Va. Preps, and there’s the 28.7 deadlock by the VHSL for the fourth place tie.
With one loss, how could Salem be tied with the Cougars with the same power rating? Strength of scheduling is why. You have to give that edge to the Spartans as they have played both Brookville, the number one rated Division 3 team in the state, and Group AAA William Fleming, the top team in the Western Valley, in out-of-district games. Salem’s only loss came to Brookville, but the Spartans also gave Fleming its only loss of the season, and that comes up big on the VHSL power rating scale. Salem also owns a productive victory over Blue Ridge champion William Byrd as well. Pulaski County’s out-of-district, five-game slate didn’t give the Cougars as much help, but since everything is going to be decided by Friday’s matchup, the ratings and rankings of today really do not matter very much. It’s just something to talk about until kickoff. A friend of mine used to say the pigskin’s kicked and then all that other stuff stops.

The River Ridge title is up for grabs, so is the home field advantage in the Region Four, Division 4 playoffs which begin next week, and the home field in the state semi-final is also in the balance as the rotation comes to Region Four this year. All those things are in the pot as long as you continue to win.
How do the two teams stack up on paper? Offensively, Pulaski County appears to have an edge. The Cougars have scored 305 points on the season, a 33.9 points per game average. Salem has scored 201 points per game, a 22.3 per game average.
Defensively, it looks like the game is a tossup. Pulaski County has no doubt played better defense this season than it has in the past 10 years. The Cougars have allowed just 91 points on the season, 10.1 per game.
However, things haven’t changed a bit down in Salem. The Spartans are known for playing solid defensive football and they have done the same in 2008. I guess you could say the Cougars have gotten better, but the Spartans are still just as good as they have been. Salem has given up 107 points, 11.9 per game. That’s such a small difference it really doesn’t add up to much, and how do the schedules match up? Salem defeated two district champions in Fleming and Byrd, and it’s only loss was to strong Brookville. A good 7-3 Jefferson-Forest squad out of the Seminole was easily the toughest out-of-district opponent the Cougars played this season, and that issue was decided by the score of 10-7, and that’s just about how close Friday evening in Dobson Stadium could be.
Come early. Find a good place in the parking lots. Have a great tailgate. Hopefully the bottom gates will be open for ticket sales. Do yourself a favor and buy your tickets in advance so your family doesn’t have to wait in line. With the crowd that is expected for this brouhaha, it could get physical even before the fans get inside the stadium. Get a good seat. The 50-50 raffle might be big enough to send the family on a cruise. The concessions will be waiting, hot dogs, barbecues, and roast beef sandwiches. You can smell it in the air.
And you know what, we just might have a barn burner of a football game on tap too. Everything points in that direction. This is not just your typical high school football game. This game is not just about the two schools and two football programs, but about the pride of both communities.

This is a special event. There hasn’t been a game with this type of anticipation in Dobson Stadium since the Group AAA state semi-final against Heritage of Newport News in 2000.

Pulaski County’s football program has taken a few tough hits from Salem in recent seasons. Nothing hurts worse than when your pride hurts. The Cougars will try to restore some of that pride in a couple of days. The team will have plenty of help. All of Pulaski County will be there to cheer on our finest.

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Pulaski Co. vs. Salem

Just in case you hadn’t heard, there is a rather big prep football game on tap this Friday in Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium. You say control of the senate was at stake at the polls this week? That’s nothing compared to a Pulaski County vs. Salem football game.
It is without question the most anticipated matchup each gridiron season in these parts, and most of the time much is at stake when the Cougars and Spartans lock horns. There has never been a bigger confrontation between the two than this week though simply because everything is at stake.
The River Ridge District championship is on the line. It would be a fifth straight for Salem. The Spartans have been dominant in one of the toughest districts in Virginia. Pulaski County has not won a district crown since 2001. Most Cougar fans would like to think the Cougars are overdue, particularly since they used to hang trophies like bells on a Christmas tree.
The two schools have done battle on the football field 32 times. Each has won 16 times. I’d say that’s pretty close to being even. However, it’s been a series of streaks which is not usually the case in rivalries such as this.
During one stretch Pulaski County beat Salem eight straight times from 1978-1985. The Cougars also won three straight in ’93-’95, and four straight from 2000-’02. The fourth straight came by virtue of two wins in ’01, something that the Spartans have taken advantage of a couple of times in recent seasons.
Salem followed Pulaski County’s early winning streak with a five-gamer of its own from 1986-’92.  There were no games in ’88-’89 as Salem chose not to play after dropping to Group AA with Pulaski County remaining in the old Group AAA Roanoke Valley District.
Presently the Spartans are working on a seven-game streak that has lasted from ’03 until now. They have benefited from winning twice in ’05 and last season when the two teams met to end the regular season and also in the region playoffs.
It would be hard for a matchup to be any closer, at least on paper going into the game. Pulaski County is 9-0. The Cougars are ranked number two in the state by Associated Press, fourth by Virginia Preps, and tied for fourth with Salem in the Virginia High School League Power Ratings Scale, the only poll of any kind that actually counts for anything. Both teams have 28.7 ratings heading into Friday’s confrontation.
The 8-1 Spartans are ranked sixth in the AP poll, seventh by Va. Preps, and there’s the 28.7 deadlock by the VHSL for the fourth place tie.
With one loss, how could Salem be tied with the Cougars with the same power rating? Strength of scheduling is why. You have to give that edge to the Spartans as they have played both Brookville, the number one rated Division 3 team in the state, and Group AAA William Fleming, the top team in the Western Valley, in out-of-district games. Salem’s only loss came to Brookville, but the Spartans also gave Fleming its only loss of the season, and that comes up big on the VHSL power rating scale. Salem also owns a productive victory over Blue Ridge champion William Byrd as well. Pulaski County’s out-of-district, five-game slate didn’t give the Cougars as much help, but since everything is going to be decided by Friday’s matchup, the ratings and rankings of today really do not matter very much. It’s just something to talk about until kickoff. A friend of mine used to say the pigskin’s kicked and then all that other stuff stops.

The River Ridge title is up for grabs, so is the home field advantage in the Region Four, Division 4 playoffs which begin next week, and the home field in the state semi-final is also in the balance as the rotation comes to Region Four this year. All those things are in the pot as long as you continue to win.
How do the two teams stack up on paper? Offensively, Pulaski County appears to have an edge. The Cougars have scored 305 points on the season, a 33.9 points per game average. Salem has scored 201 points per game, a 22.3 per game average.
Defensively, it looks like the game is a tossup. Pulaski County has no doubt played better defense this season than it has in the past 10 years. The Cougars have allowed just 91 points on the season, 10.1 per game.
However, things haven’t changed a bit down in Salem. The Spartans are known for playing solid defensive football and they have done the same in 2008. I guess you could say the Cougars have gotten better, but the Spartans are still just as good as they have been. Salem has given up 107 points, 11.9 per game. That’s such a small difference it really doesn’t add up to much, and how do the schedules match up? Salem defeated two district champions in Fleming and Byrd, and it’s only loss was to strong Brookville. A good 7-3 Jefferson-Forest squad out of the Seminole was easily the toughest out-of-district opponent the Cougars played this season, and that issue was decided by the score of 10-7, and that’s just about how close Friday evening in Dobson Stadium could be.
Come early. Find a good place in the parking lots. Have a great tailgate. Hopefully the bottom gates will be open for ticket sales. Do yourself a favor and buy your tickets in advance so your family doesn’t have to wait in line. With the crowd that is expected for this brouhaha, it could get physical even before the fans get inside the stadium. Get a good seat. The 50-50 raffle might be big enough to send the family on a cruise. The concessions will be waiting, hot dogs, barbecues, and roast beef sandwiches. You can smell it in the air.
And you know what, we just might have a barn burner of a football game on tap too. Everything points in that direction. This is not just your typical high school football game. This game is not just about the two schools and two football programs, but about the pride of both communities.

This is a special event. There hasn’t been a game with this type of anticipation in Dobson Stadium since the Group AAA state semi-final against Heritage of Newport News in 2000.

Pulaski County’s football program has taken a few tough hits from Salem in recent seasons. Nothing hurts worse than when your pride hurts. The Cougars will try to restore some of that pride in a couple of days. The team will have plenty of help. All of Pulaski County will be there to cheer on our finest.

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