By DAVID GRAVELY
SWT Sports Editor
Tommy Hale will make it to Homecoming night at PCHS for the first time since 1998.
The former 14-year employee of the Pulaski County School system and former DMS head coach and Cougar assistant coach will be bringing his Carroll County Cavaliers to Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium to take on the Cougars in the first matchup between the two teams since 1983.
He has been a bit busy since leaving the Cougar family, taking over the head coaching position at Carroll County in 1999. Upon his arrival he led his team to a very respectable 7-4 record, falling to Martinsville in the first round of the playoffs. His best season to date was the 2003 season where his squad went 10-2, falling to Magna Vista in the second round of the playoffs in a 3-0 defensive battle. His worst season so far was without question the 2001 season, where the Cavaliers went 0-10. Overall, he has a 76-75 record at Carroll County.
The Cavaliers come into Friday nights contest with a 1-2 record. They earned a big win on the road against Floyd County in week one, 55-14, but found the going tough in a week two 15-34 loss to Mt. Airy, N.C. Last week the Cavs lost a barn-burner last week on the road to Blacksburg, 13-17.
“They’ve got a good group of kids,” said Cougar Head Coach Todd Jones. “They play hard, and they’ve got some kids that get to the ball. I know their record doesn’t show it, but they haven’t been out of these games by much. Their quarterback is really good, and they have some players that he can count on. It should be a pretty good matchup.
On offense, expect to see the Cavs come out in a spread wing-T formation, but the quarterback will alternate between being under center and in the shotgun. Senior Conner Lundy (6’4″, 195) will be the quarterback, and he’s a good one. His wing-backs will be seniors Kendall Edwards (5’8″, 165) and Ethan Underwood (6’1″, 171). The split-ends will be seniors Bronson Bowman (5’9″, 170), Blake Dalton (5’10″, 146), and Duncan Reece (6’7″, 174). When a tight-end is in the game, it will be junior Jared Haga (6′, 200). The center will be junior Jacob Adams (5’11″, 244). The rest of the offensive line will consist of senior Garrett Burcham (5’11″, 221), juniors Jeremiah Mollett (5’9″, 283), Daniel Wolford (5’8″, 183), D.J. Thomas (6’4″, 225), and sophomore Chanz Quesenberry (5’9″, 215).
The Cavs will have Burcham and Adams as the down linemen, along with senior Hunter Hoback (6’1″, 180). The linebackers will be Underwood, Wolford, and junior Austin Spence (6′, 162). The defensive-ends will be Mollett and and Edwards. The corners will be Bowman and Dalton, with Blankenship at the safety, with freshman Jared Mollett (5’6″, 191) coming in at times.
Pulaski County will have Marcus Johnston at quarterback, along with Quincy Rollins at running back. Brandon Jones and Dillon Alley will be the wings, with Tyler Ervine at the split-end. Tanner Dotson will hold down the center of the line, with Rhen Jones and James Reynolds to his left. To his right will be Bret Smith, Kareem Calfee, and Jake Callahan at tight-end.
Defensively, the Cougars will line up Rob Quesenberry at the nose, with Calfee and Bradley Church on each side. Chase Huff will be one end, and depending on his status at game time you will either see Elliot Brewster on the other end, or a combination of juniors Austin Harless and Tyler Gravely, along with senior Brad Rupe. The middle linebacker will be J.D. Sutphin, with Heath White and sophomore Noah Patterson at the outside linebackers. The corners will be Jesse Draper and Marcus Payne, with Jake Tabor holding down the safety spot. Junior Austin Leeper and senior Josh Epperly performed well last week, playing in reserve, and should be expected to do the same this week.
The Cougars will be without the services of junior Malik Eaves, as he was ejected from last weeks game and will have to sit out for one week. Brewster’s condition will continue to be evaluated throughout the week, and his playing time will be decided Friday night. Senior Alex Simmons, who was injured in the Radford game, has begun to suit up for practice and is slowly beginning to work his way back into playing shape, but his availability is still questionable.
“We came out Monday and I felt good about the team’s attitude,” said Jones. “Coming off of a win you can see a let-down sometimes. We didn’t have that. Monday and Tuesday were good days of work. We looked at the film and we saw some good things from last week, but we still have plenty of room for improvement. It was great to see the special teams go out and do well. Our kickoff team and field goal units did a good job. We had a fumble, and we still had some penalties though. We missed some blocks here and there, and we missed some tackles. We’re not going to be satisfied with last week. We have to keep getting better. We still need to be more physical, and we still need to get after it.”
One thing Jones was concerned about was the usual Homecoming week distractions.
“It’s great to see the student body getting involved with the team and all the stuff going on for Homecoming,” said Jones. “I think our kids are handling it pretty well though. They know they have a job to do, but they also know they can have a little fun too. When we get to practice time and game time, we put that stuff out of our minds. I’m hoping to see a great turnout Friday night, especially from the Cougar Crazies. We need them to be out their supporting us, along with the rest of Pulaski County.”
Kickoff for Friday night’s game is set for 7 p.m. There will be a free tailgate outside the main gate, sponsored by The Southwest Times. Be sure to stop by and get free hotdogs and sign up for our many door prizes donated by local businesses.