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10-0 COUGARS RIVER RIDGE CHAMPIONS!!

Pulaski County pulled off one of its most memorable second half comebacks in program history Friday night in Kenneth J. Dobson / Joel Hicks Field, and the Cougars finished the season a perfect 10-0 and champions of the River Ridge District with an exciting, 34-24 victory over rival Salem who was trying to hang on to the crown.
The Cougars will now take that undefeated record into the Region Four, Division 4 playoffs and enjoy the home field advantage. They will face fellow RRD member Blacksburg next Friday for a second time this season. The Bruins qualified for the playoffs with a 17-14 win over Montgomery County rival Christiansburg.
The Spartans finished the regular season in second place in the RRD with an 8-2 record, and will host region third seed Bassett Friday.
Pulaski County received the opening kickoff and quickly jumped into the lead and made it look rather easy.
The Cougars drove 77 yards on just seven plays. There were no third down plays in the drive so dominant was Pulaski County. The touchdown came on a 36-yard sweep by slotback Jolly Martin. Matt Songer kicked the conversion and with 8:48 still left in the first quarter the Cougars were on top 7-0.
But suddenly the caravan stopped. That was it for Pulaski County. For the remainder of the first half there were no more points, not even a single first down, and just 24 total yards gained. It was nothing but three and outs.
And that awesome Cougar defense was not awesome at all. In fact, it had sprung a leak, a big one. Salem quarterback Hunter Sturgill picked Pulaski County’s pass coverage to pieces, particularly the underneath routes. There was not what one would term a single pass breakup in the secondary in the first half, and Sturgill was scary hot. If the pass wasn’t complete it was because the Spartan receiver dropped it. Sturgill was on target and his receivers were wide open, or else the Cougars simply didn’t make a play on the ball.
Following Pulaski County’s opening touchdown drive, Salem came right back and most of the game took advantage of the Cougars’ poor kickoff coverage. The Spartans moved 65 yards on 14 plays and Robert Powell got three on a field goal from 21 yards out.
After the kickoff the Cougars went three and out and it stayed that way the rest of the first half. Pulaski County could not get a first down and the Cougars couldn’t stop the Spartans who got 11 first downs the opening half.
On its second possession Salem moved 63 yards in a dozen plays and took a 10-7 lead when Sturgill drilled Donte Harvey from 10 yards out midway in the second quarter.
Then the penalty bugaboo hit Pulaski County again. Quarterback Luke Watson found wideout Antwyne Calfee running long and free down the middle of the field and the pass and run play went for 74 yards to the end zone, but illegal motion in the backfield took the touchdown off the board.
On its final possession of the first half Salem moved 52 yards in seven plays and scored when Sturgill teamed up with Harvey again, this time from 19 yards out. The coverage was there in the left corner of the end zone, but Harvey just went up and laid claim to the pigskin for a 17-7 halftime lead.
But sometimes things are hard to explain. Maybe it was something in the water, but the game turned quickly in the second half and Pulaski County dominated the Spartans. The Cougars outgained Salem 263-131 the second half.
Songer kicked off deep and got a good bounce to start the second half. Salem couldn’t get a first down on a drive that started from its own 12. A short punt rolled dead at the Spartans’ 37. Eight plays later fullback Seth Parris rammed into the end zone from a yard out. Songer was good and the margin was cut to 17-14.
But back came the Spartans. Antonio Medley returned the kickoff all the way to the Cougar 35. Eight plays later Adam Collie squeezed over from a yard out and quickly, the margin was back to 10, 24-14.
But this time it was Pulaski County’s turn to say back at you. On the first play following the kickoff Watson ran option right, saw daylight, kept the football, and turned down the visiting sideline. He zipped 64 yards to paydirt to cut the margin to 24-21, and the fireworks display was really underway.
“We just ran the play. I don’t know if they missed their key or what, but I know I got a good block, and suddenly it opened up. I just ran as fast as I could, and hoped they didn’t catch me,’’ said Watson. They didn’t.
But following Watson’s score, there was a noticeable change on the field. Salem could not answer back following the kickoff this time, Pulaski County’s defense was finally starting to play like most thought the Cougar defense was supposed to, and the offense was rolling. Players were making plays. The momentum had changed sides.
Salem went three and out, and here came the Cougars again. This time it was old fashioned here’s mud in your eye football. Nubian Peak ran for nine and two and a first down at the Salem 42. Then Parris roared through the guts of the Spartan defense for 17 yards to the 25, and then three more to the 22. Then it was back to Peak and he swept for another 17-yard run for a first and goal at the five. On third down the Cougars went back to the option and Peak scored from three yards out. Songer put Pulaski County back on top 28-24 with 11:53 left in the game.
Salem managed one first down the next possession, but had to punt again. However, the punt rolled dead at the Pulaski County 12 and the Spartans had a chance to get back its good field position again. It looked like it was going to happen too because the first two plays netted just three yards, but on third down Watson faked and then fired a perfect pass down the middle of the field to Martin who caught it for a 40-yard gain and a first down at the Salem 45. It was one of the game’s biggest plays.
It was also the biggest performance of the season for Martin. In addition to the clutch 40-yard pass play, he also had the 36-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter.
“Yes sir, this was my biggest game. I was just glad to make a couple of big plays for the team. All I want to do is help the team. I was also thinking about my Dad. This month last year my Dad died, and I was hoping I could do something this football season in his memory. This has been a super season. I just hope we can keep it going. I’m excited about the playoffs, and I’m excited about my game tonight,’’ said Martin.
The junior would certainly have pleased his Dad because just two plays after the 40-yard pass to Martin, Peak swept left, opened up all cylinders and ripped 43 yards to the promised land and Pulaski County had a 34-24 victory, and all the trimmings that came with it.
About his clinching touchdown run, Peak was both patient, and in a hurry.  “I took the pitch and headed left. I saw a lot of our jerseys (cardinal color) in front of me. Some of our linemen were cleaning house up front there, and suddenly a seam opened up. I tried to be patient and follow those blocks at the beginning, but when daylight shows, it’s time to go. Man, this is great, just look at how happy everybody is in this locker room. I’m loving every second of this,’’ laughed Peak.
Pulaski County finished with 315 yards rushing, and 49 passing for 364 total yards of offense. One other huge statistic in the game was zero yards in penalties the second half. Salem passed for 190, ran for 94, and totaled 284 yards.
Peak’s big touchdown run put him at 145 for the game on 19 carries and also put him over 1,000 yards for the season. Watson ran for 67 yards on five carries, Parris got 52 yards on 14 runs, Martin ran for 42 on two, and E.J. Dobbins got nine yards on three runs. Martin had his big catch for 40 yards, and Calfee had one for nine.
Kirk Coles was the leading rusher for Salem with 61 yards on 14 carries, Medley had 18 yards on seven tries, Collie got nine yards on six runs, and Sturgill got six yards on four runs. Harvey caught nine passes for 106 yards, and Stephen Barnette had two catches for 38. 

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10-0 COUGARS RIVER RIDGE CHAMPIONS!!

Pulaski County pulled off one of its most memorable second half comebacks in program history Friday night in Kenneth J. Dobson / Joel Hicks Field, and the Cougars finished the season a perfect 10-0 and champions of the River Ridge District with an exciting, 34-24 victory over rival Salem who was trying to hang on to the crown.
The Cougars will now take that undefeated record into the Region Four, Division 4 playoffs and enjoy the home field advantage. They will face fellow RRD member Blacksburg next Friday for a second time this season. The Bruins qualified for the playoffs with a 17-14 win over Montgomery County rival Christiansburg.
The Spartans finished the regular season in second place in the RRD with an 8-2 record, and will host region third seed Bassett Friday.
Pulaski County received the opening kickoff and quickly jumped into the lead and made it look rather easy.
The Cougars drove 77 yards on just seven plays. There were no third down plays in the drive so dominant was Pulaski County. The touchdown came on a 36-yard sweep by slotback Jolly Martin. Matt Songer kicked the conversion and with 8:48 still left in the first quarter the Cougars were on top 7-0.
But suddenly the caravan stopped. That was it for Pulaski County. For the remainder of the first half there were no more points, not even a single first down, and just 24 total yards gained. It was nothing but three and outs.
And that awesome Cougar defense was not awesome at all. In fact, it had sprung a leak, a big one. Salem quarterback Hunter Sturgill picked Pulaski County’s pass coverage to pieces, particularly the underneath routes. There was not what one would term a single pass breakup in the secondary in the first half, and Sturgill was scary hot. If the pass wasn’t complete it was because the Spartan receiver dropped it. Sturgill was on target and his receivers were wide open, or else the Cougars simply didn’t make a play on the ball.
Following Pulaski County’s opening touchdown drive, Salem came right back and most of the game took advantage of the Cougars’ poor kickoff coverage. The Spartans moved 65 yards on 14 plays and Robert Powell got three on a field goal from 21 yards out.
After the kickoff the Cougars went three and out and it stayed that way the rest of the first half. Pulaski County could not get a first down and the Cougars couldn’t stop the Spartans who got 11 first downs the opening half.
On its second possession Salem moved 63 yards in a dozen plays and took a 10-7 lead when Sturgill drilled Donte Harvey from 10 yards out midway in the second quarter.
Then the penalty bugaboo hit Pulaski County again. Quarterback Luke Watson found wideout Antwyne Calfee running long and free down the middle of the field and the pass and run play went for 74 yards to the end zone, but illegal motion in the backfield took the touchdown off the board.
On its final possession of the first half Salem moved 52 yards in seven plays and scored when Sturgill teamed up with Harvey again, this time from 19 yards out. The coverage was there in the left corner of the end zone, but Harvey just went up and laid claim to the pigskin for a 17-7 halftime lead.
But sometimes things are hard to explain. Maybe it was something in the water, but the game turned quickly in the second half and Pulaski County dominated the Spartans. The Cougars outgained Salem 263-131 the second half.
Songer kicked off deep and got a good bounce to start the second half. Salem couldn’t get a first down on a drive that started from its own 12. A short punt rolled dead at the Spartans’ 37. Eight plays later fullback Seth Parris rammed into the end zone from a yard out. Songer was good and the margin was cut to 17-14.
But back came the Spartans. Antonio Medley returned the kickoff all the way to the Cougar 35. Eight plays later Adam Collie squeezed over from a yard out and quickly, the margin was back to 10, 24-14.
But this time it was Pulaski County’s turn to say back at you. On the first play following the kickoff Watson ran option right, saw daylight, kept the football, and turned down the visiting sideline. He zipped 64 yards to paydirt to cut the margin to 24-21, and the fireworks display was really underway.
“We just ran the play. I don’t know if they missed their key or what, but I know I got a good block, and suddenly it opened up. I just ran as fast as I could, and hoped they didn’t catch me,’’ said Watson. They didn’t.
But following Watson’s score, there was a noticeable change on the field. Salem could not answer back following the kickoff this time, Pulaski County’s defense was finally starting to play like most thought the Cougar defense was supposed to, and the offense was rolling. Players were making plays. The momentum had changed sides.
Salem went three and out, and here came the Cougars again. This time it was old fashioned here’s mud in your eye football. Nubian Peak ran for nine and two and a first down at the Salem 42. Then Parris roared through the guts of the Spartan defense for 17 yards to the 25, and then three more to the 22. Then it was back to Peak and he swept for another 17-yard run for a first and goal at the five. On third down the Cougars went back to the option and Peak scored from three yards out. Songer put Pulaski County back on top 28-24 with 11:53 left in the game.
Salem managed one first down the next possession, but had to punt again. However, the punt rolled dead at the Pulaski County 12 and the Spartans had a chance to get back its good field position again. It looked like it was going to happen too because the first two plays netted just three yards, but on third down Watson faked and then fired a perfect pass down the middle of the field to Martin who caught it for a 40-yard gain and a first down at the Salem 45. It was one of the game’s biggest plays.
It was also the biggest performance of the season for Martin. In addition to the clutch 40-yard pass play, he also had the 36-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter.
“Yes sir, this was my biggest game. I was just glad to make a couple of big plays for the team. All I want to do is help the team. I was also thinking about my Dad. This month last year my Dad died, and I was hoping I could do something this football season in his memory. This has been a super season. I just hope we can keep it going. I’m excited about the playoffs, and I’m excited about my game tonight,’’ said Martin.
The junior would certainly have pleased his Dad because just two plays after the 40-yard pass to Martin, Peak swept left, opened up all cylinders and ripped 43 yards to the promised land and Pulaski County had a 34-24 victory, and all the trimmings that came with it.
About his clinching touchdown run, Peak was both patient, and in a hurry.  “I took the pitch and headed left. I saw a lot of our jerseys (cardinal color) in front of me. Some of our linemen were cleaning house up front there, and suddenly a seam opened up. I tried to be patient and follow those blocks at the beginning, but when daylight shows, it’s time to go. Man, this is great, just look at how happy everybody is in this locker room. I’m loving every second of this,’’ laughed Peak.
Pulaski County finished with 315 yards rushing, and 49 passing for 364 total yards of offense. One other huge statistic in the game was zero yards in penalties the second half. Salem passed for 190, ran for 94, and totaled 284 yards.
Peak’s big touchdown run put him at 145 for the game on 19 carries and also put him over 1,000 yards for the season. Watson ran for 67 yards on five carries, Parris got 52 yards on 14 runs, Martin ran for 42 on two, and E.J. Dobbins got nine yards on three runs. Martin had his big catch for 40 yards, and Calfee had one for nine.
Kirk Coles was the leading rusher for Salem with 61 yards on 14 carries, Medley had 18 yards on seven tries, Collie got nine yards on six runs, and Sturgill got six yards on four runs. Harvey caught nine passes for 106 yards, and Stephen Barnette had two catches for 38. 

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