Pulaski County will host Northside in its first home game of the season tomorrow evening at 7:30 at Kenneth J. Dobson/Joel Hicks Field.
Northside is a member of the Group AA Blue Ridge District.
The Vikings opened their season last week with an impressive, 20-14 victory over Amherst while Pulaski County suffered a disappointing, 13-12 defeat at Radford. The Cougars lead the series between the two schools, 17-10.
The task will be considerable, and Pulaski County head coach Todd Jones knows that his charges must be totally ready to compete with Burt Torrence’s team.
"Northside is big and very physical. That team is also experienced, very sound, and it’s a real good football team.”
Jones says it isn’t complicated as to what has to happen to knockoff the Vikings. "We’ll have to take ’em on. They will be right in front of us. We must stand strong. Northside can run the football, and they can throw it. They have good players at crucial positions, and they come off the football and block. They’re going to try and bring to us, but we must take it back to them,” said Jones this week.
Northside is led by quarterback Adam Hardister, a two-year starter at quarterback. Against Amherst he completed 14 of 21 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns.
He is also a very capable runner. Three-year starter Tyler Fisher is both a runner and receiver, and he caught five passes last week for 84 yards and a touchdown. Leading the ground game is big 220 fullback Jeremy Williams.
Leading the way up front for the Vikings is 6-4, 260 three-year starting tight end Dakota Jackson who has already committed to Virginia Tech. He will a member of a strong defensive front too.
Pulaski County will have to show improvement in certain areas in order to defeat Northside. "We’ve got to play solid,” says Jones. "We must play mistake-free football. We’ve got to drive the football, get some first downs, and put some points on the board. It will also take a great defensive effort.”
Jones was disappointed with his team’s defeat at Radford last week, but he believes this Cougar team will improve.
"The mistakes we made are correctable errors. The effort was there although at times we were a little hesitant in places. We’ve just got to block the right people, and we’ve got to hit the holes, and we have the ability to get a lot better.”
As far as meeting the challenge that Northside brings Friday and the rest of the season, it’s pretty much a maturing process for Pulaski County. "We need to be mentally tougher,” says Jones. "It’s a process, and it’s a growing process. Our recognition needs to get a little better, and we must be a determined, tough minded team.”
The starting lineup was undetermined at press time. Jones indicated there would be some changes in spots, but to what extent and how many changes would be made had not yet been determined.
"I’m not sure about how much will change as far as personnel, but some things we must do because of the opponent. Matching up with Northside will mean some things will be different, but I’m not ready to say how different yet,” said Jones.