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PULASKI COUNTY ADVANCES TO REGION FINAL

Pulaski Country thrashed Blacksburg 42-0 Friday night at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium / Joel Hicks Field as the Virginia High School League state football playoffs got underway all across the Old Dominion.
The victory moves the Cougars into the Region Four, Division 4 championship game next Friday against Salem. The Spartans were equally impressive as the playoffs began and mauled Bassett 41-0.
The win upped Pulaski County’s record to a perfect 11-0 on the season. Blacksburg finishes the season at 6-5, and Salem will come to Dobson with a 9-2 slate next week.
It was the 24th all-time state playoff triumph for the Pulaski County program, and it will attempt to win its seventh region crown against the Spartans, a team they rallied to defeat 34-24 two weeks ago. Both are members of the River Ridge District, as is Blacksburg.
It was a totally dominating victory for the Cougars who out-gained the Bruins 343-78. The 78 yards were the fewest allowed in a game this season by the Pulaski County defense that posted its second shutout and is now allowing an average of only 10 and a half points per game.
The Cougar defense held Blacksburg quarterback Trey Gresh to only four of 15 passing for a paltry 22 yards. Gresh was also picked off three times and lost a fumble. The Bruins were only able to rush for 56 yards. Blacksburg never threatened to score in the game.
The Bruins’ possessions ended on their own 48, their own 28, their own 35, the 50, their own 13, the Cougars’ 41 and that was because of a 15-yard penalty on Pulaski County, and the Cougar 44 as Blacksburg was hampered by the four turnovers, and simply could not move Pulaski County off the line of scrimmage.
The Cougars jumped on the Bruins immediately and the issue was decided in less than eight minutes of clock time.
On Pulaski County’s first possession, it drove 62 yards in eight plays with fullback Seth Parris going over from a yard out. Matt Songer’s foot made the score 7-0.
Following the kickoff Gresh lost the handle while dropping back to pass and Brandon Hazzard recovered for the Cougars on the Blacksburg 24. Two plays later fullback E.J. Dobbins barreled 16 yards through the middle of the Bruin defense making the score 13-0 after Songer’s extra point kick was wide left.
It didn’t take long following the kickoff for another turnover. This time Nubian Peak picked off a deflected Gresh pass at the 40 and returned it to the Blacksburg 21. It was Peak’s first action in the secondary all season and he was there to help defend the Bruins’ passing game. He ended up being Gresh’s worse nightmare because his night’s work was not yet done.
Two plays following his pick, Peak scooted over from 12 yards out on an inside reverse play, and he also tallied the two-point conversion for 21-0 Pulaski County lead and there was still 4:39 left to play in the opening quarter, but it was obvious this issue was already decided.
The worse field position of the game came on the next possession for Pulaski County as it was forced to start from its own seven-yard line, but domination comes in a variety of ways, and this time the Cougars marched 93 yards on 15 plays with Dobbins going over from two yards out. Songer was true with his conversion kick this time and it was 28-0 midway in the second quarter. Peak scored on the fourth play of the drive on a twisting 60-yard run, but the effort was nullified by a holding penalty.
Pulaski County was using only live bullets this night, and its final possession of the half, its fifth of the first two quarters, resulted in a fifth touchdown. It took seven plays to move 51 yards. Parris was the featured back on this possession as he had back-to-back runs for 19 and nine yards, and carried the mail four times for 38 yards. His final four-yard effort found paydirt with 2:51 left before halftime. Songer’s good foot made it 35-0 at the half.
Thankfully for the Bruins, the 35-0 deficit meant a continuous clock and the second half flew by. The only other score of the game came with 7:52 left in the fourth quarter when halfback Trey Smith swept right, and made a nice cutback underneath his blocking to score from nine yards out. Songer made the final tally 42-zip. The drive took 10 plays to cover 72 yards of real estate.
In the final scoring march Jolly Martin had a 27-yard run, and four total carries on the possession for 46 yards, and Smith marked off 26 yards on five runs.
“That felt so good,’’ smiled Smith in the locker room. “It was my second touchdown of the season, but this was a touchdown in the playoffs. That was special for me. I’m just glad to do what I can to help the team, and it was great to get the ball some in a playoff game,’’ said Smith who also had the only pass reception of the game for Pulaski County, good for 14 yards, and plays much of the time at cornerback in the Cougar secondary.
There were some highlights in the second half even though there was only Smith’s lone touchdown. Peak got his second pass interception, and Robert Cobbs picked off Gresh too while he was trying to go deep. Also, Hazzard, Jared Cole, Langston Lewis, Josh Miller, Tahrick Peak, E.J. Dobbins, and C.J. Burleson harassed Gresh all night, and if he didn’t get sacked, often times he was forced to throw hurriedly under pressure which obviously gave the secondary opportunities to make picks.
It was certainly a happy Cougar locker room, and getting the first playoff victory in football since 2001 was extremely satisfying, but quickly all thoughts turned once again to Salem.
First, Pulaski County head coach Jack Turner had a little fun with his team, but he made his point well.
“Hey, will somebody bring out that region championship trophy so we can celebrate,’’ he asked. Obviously, there was no trophy.
“Oh, that’s right. We didn’t win the region tonight. We don’t get a trophy. That comes next week. Following the game next Friday, the region championship trophy will be in somebody’s locker room. Will it be in this one, or the one down on the other end of the stadium?’’
It was obvious that the Cougar players understood what Turner was saying. “Tonight was great. You seniors continue to do a super job of leading the way. We did the job in all phases. We won this game on offense, defense, and on special teams. The entire coaching staff did a super job. I’m so happy with our improved defensive play. We made some changes (mainly Peak playing in the secondary). They worked. They worked because it was a good idea by our defensive coaches, but also because you players made them work. You did a great job, but we can’t be happy yet. We can’t be happy yet because we haven’t beaten Salem yet, and everybody in this room knows it’s going to be a huge challenge to beat them twice, and they will come here next Friday with the intentions of playing the best game they possibly can. I’m not sure we’ve totally earned their respect yet. I want that, and I want that trophy too,’’ said Turner.
Pulaski County ran for 329 yards on 49 carries and with Smith’s catch totaled 343 yards on the game. The Bruins managed only 78 total yards. Blacksburg’s leading rusher was David Bales with 43 yards on eight carries. Gresh ran six times for only five yards, and completed only four of 15 passes while suffering the three interceptions and a lost fumble.
In contrast, the Cougars got terrific production from a variety of players. Peak finished with 97 yards on 11 carries and did not run with the pigskin in the second half. Martin romped for 78 yards on nine carries, Dobbins got 66 yards on seven attempts, Parris rumbled for 62 yards on a dozen runs, and Smith got 26 on five carries.

COMPLETE, TOTAL, ABSOLUTE DOMINATION,

AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR SALEM BATTLE #2 

The Locker Room

By Dan Callahan 
 

    From the very first play, this was complete domination. Never has a Pulaski County football team displayed total superiority on the gridiron more than Friday night at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium / Joel Hicks Field as the Cougars manhandled Blacksburg 42-0 in the opening round of the Virginia High School League state football playoffs.
The Cougars are now 11-0. Could this squad actually be getting better? I think it’s possible, and certainly at playoff time and with a huge rematch for the region championship coming up next Friday with Salem, this is the very best time to be playing at your highest level.
In every phase of the game, Pulaski County was absolutely dominant. The Cougars had five running backs gain appreciable yardage as Nubian Peak ran for 97, Jolly Martin 78, E.J. Dobbins 66, Seth Parris 62, and Trey Smith 26. Four different players scored at least one touchdown. They were able to do this with seeming ease because the Cougar offensive front was dominant at the line of scrimmage.
Pulaski County ran 54 plays, but would have gotten off a lot more except for a region rule that allows for a continuous clock after one team takes a 35-point lead. This was the only break the Bruins got this night. The Cougars finished with 343 total yards of offense, an average gain of almost six and a half yards a play.
Defensively, if may have been even more impressive if that’s possible. Blacksburg managed just 33 snaps in the game, just 78 total yards of offense, and gained less than two and a half yards a play.
Highly regarded Blacksburg quarterback Trey Gresh was helpless to move his offense. The Bruins rushed for just 56 yards on 18 attempts, and Gresh was only four of 15 for 22 yards passing in what had to be one of the most frustrating nights in his career.
And the Cougar defense not only slammed the door shut at the line of scrimmage, it made big plays. For the first time all season Nubian Peak played in the secondary in the effort to defend against Gresh. It was a good move by the Pulaski County coaching staff. He picked off two passes. Robert Cobbs intercepted a third pass for the Cougars and Brandon Hazzard recovered a fumble.
Hazzard, Jared Cole, Tahrick Peak, and Josh Miller pressured Gresh all night as he tried to get the Bruin passing attack cranked up to no avail, and Gresh was sacked four times.
It was certainly a rousing beginning to the playoffs for Pulaski County, and the opportunity to win the Region Four championship and advance to the state semi-final game presents itself next Friday right back in the friendly confines of Dobson.
But the opponent will be Salem. It will be round two in 2008 between the major rivals for football supremacy in this region of Virginia. The Cougars got the victory the first time the two met with a big second half rally to win 34-24. Pulaski County is now 11-0 on the season, and after pounding Bassett, winners of the Piedmont District 41-0, Salem is now 9-2, and make no mistake, the Spartans want the opportunity to beat the Cougars every bit as much as Pulaski County wants to double up on Salem.
But while the locker room was a fun place to be following the domination of Blacksburg Friday, the Cougars appear to be focused.
“I’m so proud of our team,’’ said senior two-way tackle Josh Miller. “We just didn’t make the playoffs, we proved tonight we’re a real playoff team, but we know what’s coming. I believe we can get Salem again. We certainly cannot afford to be arrogant because of our win last week. That won’t mean a thing when they come back here for the second game. But we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready for a big battle. We want that region championship. For us to come as far as we have and to beat Salem twice in our senior year would be really meaningful and I’m confident this team will be ready,’’ said Miller.
Even after such a terrific defensive effort, any player interview quickly turned to Salem. Junior linebacker Tahrick Peak was thrilled the Cougars got another shutout.
“You always want a shutout, and this was a terrific win for us, but we want more. We wanted to get in that region final, and now we are, and there’s Salem. They want us too, and we look forward to it. I want to beat them again. I want it all (the state championship). We had to play Salem twice in two of the last three years (losses in 2005, 2007), but we’re a lot better team now, and all those games were down at their place. Well, we’ve got a big house in Pulaski County too, and both of these games will be at our house, and we’ll be ready for them. Everybody in Pulaski County will be here pulling for us, we know that, and we’ll be ready to get it on,’’ said Tahrick Peak.
Senior offensive guard Ralph Miller was quickly looking toward the Spartans too, but felt his team played very well against Blacksburg. “We got off to a great start, and that really helped. I think we blocked Blacksburg real well, but next week we’ve got Salem again. I’m sure a lot of people were surprised we beat them the first time and think there’s no way we can do it twice in the same season, but I believe we can. It’s going to be a great battle. It’ll sure be tougher to win than tonight, but we’ll be ready, and I think we can get it done.’’
One of his partners in the offensive line, senior guard Cam Bailey, felt the same. “We controlled the line of scrimmage tonight. I think we were more physical than Blacksburg, and I believe that was our best game of the year, and even now after 11 games, I think we’re still getting better and that’s what we need to do. Salem is coming back for a second game next week and we know what that’s going to be like. We’ll be ready,’’ said Bailey.
This is a huge time for this senior class. Friday was the 24th playoff victory in school history, next Friday will be the program’s 14th region championship game (currently 6-7 in region finals), and the Cougars have now moved in front of Blacksburg after two victories in the 2008 season and lead the overall series won/lost record 5-4.
But it’s very obvious that this senior class wants more. “It’s our turn,’’ says Hazzard. “We got Salem the first game, and we know they’ll come in here next week ready to play their greatest game, but the Cougars are going to be ready for a big battle too. We’ve got to spend the next week making sure we are totally focused and prepared. We’ve got to get right mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s all about Salem, and winning that region championship and then moving on,’’ said Hazzard.
Senior inside linebacker C.J. Burleson wouldn’t want it any other way. “Yeah, we can beat Salem again, and I’m looking forward to the game. We were ready for Blacksburg, and we’ll be more ready for Salem next Friday. Anybody would look forward to a game like this. It doesn’t matter what happened the first time. You know what the attitude is going to be. You take nothing for granted, and take everything very serious about this game. All of us, we just need to do the job, do what we’re supposed to do, and where I’m concerned that usually involves me hitting somebody, and that’s what I intend to do,’’ said Burleson.
And there you have it, a totally dominating victory for Pulaski County in what has turned into a thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable football season. How good is this Cougar team? Where does it rank in the history of the Pulaski County program? There’s no way to know the answers to those questions at this moment, but the answers will be crystal clear in a very short time.
Just a couple of days ago there were 16 teams trying to win the Division 4 state championship. Now there are only eight. Next comes Salem, and then there will only be four left. Will the Cougars be one of them? That’s another question that will get answered in just a matter of a few short days.

Virginia Prep Football How They Fared-2008 Final
By The Associated Press
Class AAA
1. Oscar Smith (12-0) beat Bethel 35-6.
2. Stone Bridge (12-0) beat Mount Vernon 42-0.
3. Phoebus (12-0) beat Green Run 47-0.
4. Lake Taylor (12-0) beat Hampton 34-7.
5. Oakton (12-0) beat West Springfield 49-43.
6. Woodbridge (11-0) beat C.D. Hylton 34-10.
7. Varina (10-0) vs. Hermitage, ppd. to Nov.17.
8. Ocean Lakes (12-0) beat Kellam 36-7.
9. Edison (12-0) beat James Madison 47-7.
Class AA
1. Brookville (11-0) beat Northside 38-0.
2. Pulaski County (11-0) beat Blacksburg 42-0.
3. Amherst County (10-1) beat Harrisonburg 28-21.
4. Chancellor (11-0) beat Courtland 35-12.
5. Broad Run (11-0) beat Loudoun County 47-28.
6. Monticello (10-1) beat Briar Woods 30-13.
7. Handley (10-1) beat Millbrook 24-13.
8. Powhatan (10-1) beat Tabb 27-17.
9. Salem (9-2) beat Bassett 42-0.
(tie) R.E. Lee-Staunton (10-1) beat Liberty-Bedford 35-7.
Class A
1. William Campbell (10-1) beat Riverheads 64-6.
2. Buffalo Gap (11-0) beat Cumberland 46-12.
3. Gretna (10-1) beat Goochland 36-0.
4. Essex (11-0) beat Northampton 56-20.
5. Colonial Beach (11-0) beat West Point 42-22.
6. Floyd County (11-0) beat George Wythe-Wytheville 15-14.
7. Clintwood (10-1) beat Thomas Walker 60-0.
8. J.I. Burton (10-1) beat Haysi 54-17.
9. Gate City (9-2) beat Powell Valley 28-13.
10. Clarke County (9-2) beat Appomattox 27-19.

PULASKI COUNTY ADVANCES TO REGION FINAL

Pulaski Country thrashed Blacksburg 42-0 Friday night at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium / Joel Hicks Field as the Virginia High School League state football playoffs got underway all across the Old Dominion.
The victory moves the Cougars into the Region Four, Division 4 championship game next Friday against Salem. The Spartans were equally impressive as the playoffs began and mauled Bassett 41-0.
The win upped Pulaski County’s record to a perfect 11-0 on the season. Blacksburg finishes the season at 6-5, and Salem will come to Dobson with a 9-2 slate next week.
It was the 24th all-time state playoff triumph for the Pulaski County program, and it will attempt to win its seventh region crown against the Spartans, a team they rallied to defeat 34-24 two weeks ago. Both are members of the River Ridge District, as is Blacksburg.
It was a totally dominating victory for the Cougars who out-gained the Bruins 343-78. The 78 yards were the fewest allowed in a game this season by the Pulaski County defense that posted its second shutout and is now allowing an average of only 10 and a half points per game.
The Cougar defense held Blacksburg quarterback Trey Gresh to only four of 15 passing for a paltry 22 yards. Gresh was also picked off three times and lost a fumble. The Bruins were only able to rush for 56 yards. Blacksburg never threatened to score in the game.
The Bruins’ possessions ended on their own 48, their own 28, their own 35, the 50, their own 13, the Cougars’ 41 and that was because of a 15-yard penalty on Pulaski County, and the Cougar 44 as Blacksburg was hampered by the four turnovers, and simply could not move Pulaski County off the line of scrimmage.
The Cougars jumped on the Bruins immediately and the issue was decided in less than eight minutes of clock time.
On Pulaski County’s first possession, it drove 62 yards in eight plays with fullback Seth Parris going over from a yard out. Matt Songer’s foot made the score 7-0.
Following the kickoff Gresh lost the handle while dropping back to pass and Brandon Hazzard recovered for the Cougars on the Blacksburg 24. Two plays later fullback E.J. Dobbins barreled 16 yards through the middle of the Bruin defense making the score 13-0 after Songer’s extra point kick was wide left.
It didn’t take long following the kickoff for another turnover. This time Nubian Peak picked off a deflected Gresh pass at the 40 and returned it to the Blacksburg 21. It was Peak’s first action in the secondary all season and he was there to help defend the Bruins’ passing game. He ended up being Gresh’s worse nightmare because his night’s work was not yet done.
Two plays following his pick, Peak scooted over from 12 yards out on an inside reverse play, and he also tallied the two-point conversion for 21-0 Pulaski County lead and there was still 4:39 left to play in the opening quarter, but it was obvious this issue was already decided.
The worse field position of the game came on the next possession for Pulaski County as it was forced to start from its own seven-yard line, but domination comes in a variety of ways, and this time the Cougars marched 93 yards on 15 plays with Dobbins going over from two yards out. Songer was true with his conversion kick this time and it was 28-0 midway in the second quarter. Peak scored on the fourth play of the drive on a twisting 60-yard run, but the effort was nullified by a holding penalty.
Pulaski County was using only live bullets this night, and its final possession of the half, its fifth of the first two quarters, resulted in a fifth touchdown. It took seven plays to move 51 yards. Parris was the featured back on this possession as he had back-to-back runs for 19 and nine yards, and carried the mail four times for 38 yards. His final four-yard effort found paydirt with 2:51 left before halftime. Songer’s good foot made it 35-0 at the half.
Thankfully for the Bruins, the 35-0 deficit meant a continuous clock and the second half flew by. The only other score of the game came with 7:52 left in the fourth quarter when halfback Trey Smith swept right, and made a nice cutback underneath his blocking to score from nine yards out. Songer made the final tally 42-zip. The drive took 10 plays to cover 72 yards of real estate.
In the final scoring march Jolly Martin had a 27-yard run, and four total carries on the possession for 46 yards, and Smith marked off 26 yards on five runs.
“That felt so good,’’ smiled Smith in the locker room. “It was my second touchdown of the season, but this was a touchdown in the playoffs. That was special for me. I’m just glad to do what I can to help the team, and it was great to get the ball some in a playoff game,’’ said Smith who also had the only pass reception of the game for Pulaski County, good for 14 yards, and plays much of the time at cornerback in the Cougar secondary.
There were some highlights in the second half even though there was only Smith’s lone touchdown. Peak got his second pass interception, and Robert Cobbs picked off Gresh too while he was trying to go deep. Also, Hazzard, Jared Cole, Langston Lewis, Josh Miller, Tahrick Peak, E.J. Dobbins, and C.J. Burleson harassed Gresh all night, and if he didn’t get sacked, often times he was forced to throw hurriedly under pressure which obviously gave the secondary opportunities to make picks.
It was certainly a happy Cougar locker room, and getting the first playoff victory in football since 2001 was extremely satisfying, but quickly all thoughts turned once again to Salem.
First, Pulaski County head coach Jack Turner had a little fun with his team, but he made his point well.
“Hey, will somebody bring out that region championship trophy so we can celebrate,’’ he asked. Obviously, there was no trophy.
“Oh, that’s right. We didn’t win the region tonight. We don’t get a trophy. That comes next week. Following the game next Friday, the region championship trophy will be in somebody’s locker room. Will it be in this one, or the one down on the other end of the stadium?’’
It was obvious that the Cougar players understood what Turner was saying. “Tonight was great. You seniors continue to do a super job of leading the way. We did the job in all phases. We won this game on offense, defense, and on special teams. The entire coaching staff did a super job. I’m so happy with our improved defensive play. We made some changes (mainly Peak playing in the secondary). They worked. They worked because it was a good idea by our defensive coaches, but also because you players made them work. You did a great job, but we can’t be happy yet. We can’t be happy yet because we haven’t beaten Salem yet, and everybody in this room knows it’s going to be a huge challenge to beat them twice, and they will come here next Friday with the intentions of playing the best game they possibly can. I’m not sure we’ve totally earned their respect yet. I want that, and I want that trophy too,’’ said Turner.
Pulaski County ran for 329 yards on 49 carries and with Smith’s catch totaled 343 yards on the game. The Bruins managed only 78 total yards. Blacksburg’s leading rusher was David Bales with 43 yards on eight carries. Gresh ran six times for only five yards, and completed only four of 15 passes while suffering the three interceptions and a lost fumble.
In contrast, the Cougars got terrific production from a variety of players. Peak finished with 97 yards on 11 carries and did not run with the pigskin in the second half. Martin romped for 78 yards on nine carries, Dobbins got 66 yards on seven attempts, Parris rumbled for 62 yards on a dozen runs, and Smith got 26 on five carries.

COMPLETE, TOTAL, ABSOLUTE DOMINATION,

AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR SALEM BATTLE #2 

The Locker Room

By Dan Callahan 
 

    From the very first play, this was complete domination. Never has a Pulaski County football team displayed total superiority on the gridiron more than Friday night at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium / Joel Hicks Field as the Cougars manhandled Blacksburg 42-0 in the opening round of the Virginia High School League state football playoffs.
The Cougars are now 11-0. Could this squad actually be getting better? I think it’s possible, and certainly at playoff time and with a huge rematch for the region championship coming up next Friday with Salem, this is the very best time to be playing at your highest level.
In every phase of the game, Pulaski County was absolutely dominant. The Cougars had five running backs gain appreciable yardage as Nubian Peak ran for 97, Jolly Martin 78, E.J. Dobbins 66, Seth Parris 62, and Trey Smith 26. Four different players scored at least one touchdown. They were able to do this with seeming ease because the Cougar offensive front was dominant at the line of scrimmage.
Pulaski County ran 54 plays, but would have gotten off a lot more except for a region rule that allows for a continuous clock after one team takes a 35-point lead. This was the only break the Bruins got this night. The Cougars finished with 343 total yards of offense, an average gain of almost six and a half yards a play.
Defensively, if may have been even more impressive if that’s possible. Blacksburg managed just 33 snaps in the game, just 78 total yards of offense, and gained less than two and a half yards a play.
Highly regarded Blacksburg quarterback Trey Gresh was helpless to move his offense. The Bruins rushed for just 56 yards on 18 attempts, and Gresh was only four of 15 for 22 yards passing in what had to be one of the most frustrating nights in his career.
And the Cougar defense not only slammed the door shut at the line of scrimmage, it made big plays. For the first time all season Nubian Peak played in the secondary in the effort to defend against Gresh. It was a good move by the Pulaski County coaching staff. He picked off two passes. Robert Cobbs intercepted a third pass for the Cougars and Brandon Hazzard recovered a fumble.
Hazzard, Jared Cole, Tahrick Peak, and Josh Miller pressured Gresh all night as he tried to get the Bruin passing attack cranked up to no avail, and Gresh was sacked four times.
It was certainly a rousing beginning to the playoffs for Pulaski County, and the opportunity to win the Region Four championship and advance to the state semi-final game presents itself next Friday right back in the friendly confines of Dobson.
But the opponent will be Salem. It will be round two in 2008 between the major rivals for football supremacy in this region of Virginia. The Cougars got the victory the first time the two met with a big second half rally to win 34-24. Pulaski County is now 11-0 on the season, and after pounding Bassett, winners of the Piedmont District 41-0, Salem is now 9-2, and make no mistake, the Spartans want the opportunity to beat the Cougars every bit as much as Pulaski County wants to double up on Salem.
But while the locker room was a fun place to be following the domination of Blacksburg Friday, the Cougars appear to be focused.
“I’m so proud of our team,’’ said senior two-way tackle Josh Miller. “We just didn’t make the playoffs, we proved tonight we’re a real playoff team, but we know what’s coming. I believe we can get Salem again. We certainly cannot afford to be arrogant because of our win last week. That won’t mean a thing when they come back here for the second game. But we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready for a big battle. We want that region championship. For us to come as far as we have and to beat Salem twice in our senior year would be really meaningful and I’m confident this team will be ready,’’ said Miller.
Even after such a terrific defensive effort, any player interview quickly turned to Salem. Junior linebacker Tahrick Peak was thrilled the Cougars got another shutout.
“You always want a shutout, and this was a terrific win for us, but we want more. We wanted to get in that region final, and now we are, and there’s Salem. They want us too, and we look forward to it. I want to beat them again. I want it all (the state championship). We had to play Salem twice in two of the last three years (losses in 2005, 2007), but we’re a lot better team now, and all those games were down at their place. Well, we’ve got a big house in Pulaski County too, and both of these games will be at our house, and we’ll be ready for them. Everybody in Pulaski County will be here pulling for us, we know that, and we’ll be ready to get it on,’’ said Tahrick Peak.
Senior offensive guard Ralph Miller was quickly looking toward the Spartans too, but felt his team played very well against Blacksburg. “We got off to a great start, and that really helped. I think we blocked Blacksburg real well, but next week we’ve got Salem again. I’m sure a lot of people were surprised we beat them the first time and think there’s no way we can do it twice in the same season, but I believe we can. It’s going to be a great battle. It’ll sure be tougher to win than tonight, but we’ll be ready, and I think we can get it done.’’
One of his partners in the offensive line, senior guard Cam Bailey, felt the same. “We controlled the line of scrimmage tonight. I think we were more physical than Blacksburg, and I believe that was our best game of the year, and even now after 11 games, I think we’re still getting better and that’s what we need to do. Salem is coming back for a second game next week and we know what that’s going to be like. We’ll be ready,’’ said Bailey.
This is a huge time for this senior class. Friday was the 24th playoff victory in school history, next Friday will be the program’s 14th region championship game (currently 6-7 in region finals), and the Cougars have now moved in front of Blacksburg after two victories in the 2008 season and lead the overall series won/lost record 5-4.
But it’s very obvious that this senior class wants more. “It’s our turn,’’ says Hazzard. “We got Salem the first game, and we know they’ll come in here next week ready to play their greatest game, but the Cougars are going to be ready for a big battle too. We’ve got to spend the next week making sure we are totally focused and prepared. We’ve got to get right mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s all about Salem, and winning that region championship and then moving on,’’ said Hazzard.
Senior inside linebacker C.J. Burleson wouldn’t want it any other way. “Yeah, we can beat Salem again, and I’m looking forward to the game. We were ready for Blacksburg, and we’ll be more ready for Salem next Friday. Anybody would look forward to a game like this. It doesn’t matter what happened the first time. You know what the attitude is going to be. You take nothing for granted, and take everything very serious about this game. All of us, we just need to do the job, do what we’re supposed to do, and where I’m concerned that usually involves me hitting somebody, and that’s what I intend to do,’’ said Burleson.
And there you have it, a totally dominating victory for Pulaski County in what has turned into a thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable football season. How good is this Cougar team? Where does it rank in the history of the Pulaski County program? There’s no way to know the answers to those questions at this moment, but the answers will be crystal clear in a very short time.
Just a couple of days ago there were 16 teams trying to win the Division 4 state championship. Now there are only eight. Next comes Salem, and then there will only be four left. Will the Cougars be one of them? That’s another question that will get answered in just a matter of a few short days.

Virginia Prep Football How They Fared-2008 Final
By The Associated Press
Class AAA
1. Oscar Smith (12-0) beat Bethel 35-6.
2. Stone Bridge (12-0) beat Mount Vernon 42-0.
3. Phoebus (12-0) beat Green Run 47-0.
4. Lake Taylor (12-0) beat Hampton 34-7.
5. Oakton (12-0) beat West Springfield 49-43.
6. Woodbridge (11-0) beat C.D. Hylton 34-10.
7. Varina (10-0) vs. Hermitage, ppd. to Nov.17.
8. Ocean Lakes (12-0) beat Kellam 36-7.
9. Edison (12-0) beat James Madison 47-7.
Class AA
1. Brookville (11-0) beat Northside 38-0.
2. Pulaski County (11-0) beat Blacksburg 42-0.
3. Amherst County (10-1) beat Harrisonburg 28-21.
4. Chancellor (11-0) beat Courtland 35-12.
5. Broad Run (11-0) beat Loudoun County 47-28.
6. Monticello (10-1) beat Briar Woods 30-13.
7. Handley (10-1) beat Millbrook 24-13.
8. Powhatan (10-1) beat Tabb 27-17.
9. Salem (9-2) beat Bassett 42-0.
(tie) R.E. Lee-Staunton (10-1) beat Liberty-Bedford 35-7.
Class A
1. William Campbell (10-1) beat Riverheads 64-6.
2. Buffalo Gap (11-0) beat Cumberland 46-12.
3. Gretna (10-1) beat Goochland 36-0.
4. Essex (11-0) beat Northampton 56-20.
5. Colonial Beach (11-0) beat West Point 42-22.
6. Floyd County (11-0) beat George Wythe-Wytheville 15-14.
7. Clintwood (10-1) beat Thomas Walker 60-0.
8. J.I. Burton (10-1) beat Haysi 54-17.
9. Gate City (9-2) beat Powell Valley 28-13.
10. Clarke County (9-2) beat Appomattox 27-19.