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Playoff picture now clear, local teams prepare

By DAVID GRAVELY

SWT Sports Editor

It took until Saturday afternoon, but at the end of the final games Saturday we finally knew what the official pairings for the VHSL football playoffs would be.

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The task for Pulaski County will not be an easy one, and there is history that goes back to the 1986 season that will surely be brought up many times this week in barber shops and restaurants around the county.

In 1986 the Cougars came into game nine as the number one ranked team in the state.  Pulaski County lost to the Salem Spartans 13-14 in that game, what is considered one of the most controversial games ever played at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium.  The Cougars came into the game 8-0, and the Spartans were 7-1.  Both teams were undefeated in the Roanoke Valley District.  The loss by the Cougars cost them at least a share of the RVD title, even thought they demolished Patrick Henry 31-7 the following week and finished the season 9-1.

Then we traveled to Spottsylvania to play the Courtland Cougars.

On a personal note, there aren’t too many games that cause me to cringe any more than the mere mention of that game.  I was a senior on the team that season.  Make no mistake, I was no big time superstar player or anything like that.  I was usually lucky to see the field with the type of talent we had on that team.   To this day though, it still sticks out as one of the most disappointing moments of my life.

The Courtland Cougars (yes, they are the Cougars also) were by then the number one ranked team in the state.  At 9-1, we faced them in the first round of the playoffs.

The game was a defensive slugfest from the start.  Pulaski County was held to five first downs, and Courtland only gained nine.  Both teams, who were normally offensive powerhouses, were held under 125 yard rushing.

Courtland had a grand total of 59 yards passing.  Tim Canada was a highly thought of running back for Courtland.  He gained three yards on one carry.  Chuck Dye only gained 61 yards on 20 carries.

For Pulaski, the Hendricks cousins were held in check as well.  Dion only gained 62 yards on 18 carries, and Kevin only gained 30 yards on 11 carries.  Quarterback Randy Meredith was able to add 31 yards rushing.

Courtland got the first score of the game when Dye scored on a 3-yard run with just 2:28 left in the first half.  The extra-point kick was low and wide left, leaving the score at 6-0.

Pulaski County answered with 9:17 remaining in the game.  A punt attempt by Courtland was blocked by Shannon Crawford, and Richie Hurst grabbed the ball and ran it seven yards into the end zone.  Mickie Thomas hit the PAT, and Pulaski County held a 7-6 lead.

Three days after the game, my aunt brought me a cassette tape of the game from the radio broadcast.  As the excited announcer mentioned that there was about a minute and a half left in the game, he also talked about the possibility of a rematch between the Cougars and the Spartans.  He talked about the controversy from that first meeting.  Suddenly, he was screaming something no Pulaski fan wanted to hear.  A snap had went over the punters hands, and just that quickly Pulaski County trailed 8-7.  That score would hold, and Pulaski would see their season end.  I still remember being physically knocked to the ground on that bitterly cold night when it happened.

The Cougars on today’s team were barely a twinkle in their father’s eyes, yet when that game happened, but it would sure be nice to see them redeem that terrible, gut-wrenching loss.

I’ll be talking more about the upcoming Pulaski County vs. Courtland game this week, including a look at their current players and coaches and ours and how each team has gotten to this point.

In other Group 4A games of interest this week, top ranked Sherando will host Amherst County (16), and Salem (2) will host Fauquier (15).  The Cougars are ranked as the number thirteen team, Courtland is ranked fourth.  E.C. Glass (14) will travel to play Eastern View (3).  The Cougars beat out E.C. Glass for positioning in the bracket using a tie-breaker, with the average of all of each team’s opponents.  Charlottesville (12) will travel to play G.W. Danville (5), and Loudoun County (11) will go to Woodgrove (6).  Dominion High School (10) will travel to King George (7), and Liberty-Bealton (9) will travel to Handley (8).

In the 6A South ranks, Patrick Henry (4) will host Forest Park (5).

In 3A West, Cave Spring (15) will travel to play Western Albemarle (2), Northside (3) will host Brookville (14), Lord Botetourt (4) will host Stuarts Draft (13), and Hidden Valley (12) will travel to Spotswood (5).  Magna Vista (7) will host Liberty (10), and Christiansburg (9) will travel to William Byrd (9).

Giles High School sits at the top of the Group 2A West ranks, and will host Grayson County (16).  Graham (12) will travel to Richlands (5), and Marion (8) will host Appomattox (9).

The Group 1A East ranks will see Cougar Head Coach Todd Jones’s former team, Essex (1), host Cumberland (16).

The Group 1A West games will find the Fort Chiswell Pioneers (2) hosting Rural Retreat (15).  Former Pulaski County Head Coach Jack Turner has taken his Auburn Eagles (13) to a place they haven’t seen in many years, and they will travel to Chilhowie (4) for the playoffs.  Radford (10) will travel to Holston (7), and Galax (9) will travel to George Wythe (8).

Starting now, every game could very well be your last one of the season.  You either win or you go home and start putting up the gear.  If you want to play another game, the only way to make that happen is to win.

I highly encourage everyone to get out and support your local team, no matter if that is the Pulaski County Cougars, the Fort Chiswell Pioneers, the Radford Bobcats, the Auburn Eagles, the Giles Spartans, the Galax Maroon Tide, the George Wythe Maroons, or the Christiansburg Blue Demons.

Good luck to everyone, and hopefully some of our area teams can bring home the big trophy.

Comments

comments

18 Responses to Playoff picture now clear, local teams prepare

  1. The LIGHT

    November 11, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Can we go there and win with this coach?
    should we go there with this coach?
    Loosing is a state of mind like winning he has a Looser state of mind! Out of his league

    JONES MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • concerned

      November 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      What the heck is loosing & looser? I don’t think you are qualified to say who should go if you can’t spell.

      How about this one – The LIGHT MUST GO …. back to school.

      How can you attest to someone’s state of mind? He may not be the right fit for Pulaski, maybe it is time for him to go but don’t think for one second he has a losing or loosing state of mind. He wants to win as badly as anyone else.

      • the truth

        November 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

        Are you the spell checking police or what?? It seems to really bother you that someone misspells a word or words as you are quick to make that a issue and try to make fun of or talk down to someone.. The message is the same and does not change just because someone is not a road scholar such as you obviously are. He (Jones) is a loser and that is evident by his record(s) since being at PC. He ABSOLUTELY is not the right fit for PC. The fact of whether or not he wants to win is totally irrelevant. You are what your record says you are and his is a LOSING one. JONES SHOULD GO!!!!!! Until that happens PC will continue to head in one direction and that is DOWN IMO..In closing let me just say that you should spend as much time observing what happens (or what does not happen in most cases) on Friday night(s) as you do spell checking on here and it would all come clear to you.. Or maybe not.. Enjoy your trip to Courtland…

        • concerned

          November 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

          So is he only a loser based on his record at PC but a winner based on his record at Essex? If you are what your record is….. your words not mine. Oh I forgot that your words are conditionaland your math only counts in your world. So was he a loser at Essex, had a losing mentality there, did everything change when he crossed the border into Pulaski? I don’t think so. I guess other coaches that had these same losing mentalities (b/c their record is what it is) that went off to greener pastures magically transformed into winners when they crossed the border or better yet they were winners before they left but couldn’t win because of other circumstances. Hmmmmmm – I’m not a road scholar either, I got my learning in a cul-de-sac. The truth is that the TRUTH is a joke.

          My statement had relevance because the LIGHT made reference to someone’s state of mind.

    • joanneman@live.com

      November 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

      LOOSING? (Losing)

  2. The LIGHT

    November 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Jim Mora, “PLAYOFFS??!! Playoffs??? You wanna talk about PLAYOFFS??!! I just hope we can win a game

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Tim Morris

    November 11, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I was there at that Courtland game in 1986. I remember thinking before the ball was snapped over the punters head that bad things can happen this close to your own goal line. Was bitter cold that night, and had it not been for a field that was like an ice hockey rink, I really believe that Kevin Hendricks would have rushed for 200 yards. He couldn’t cut back which he was famous for and then use his speed to outrun everyone else.
    I also remember a pass play on an out and up that Tommy Turner was wide open and Randy over threw him. would have sealed the game!

    As far as the Salem game that season, Mickey Sarver (God rest his soul) was called for a hold and wasn’t even on the field at the time. It was one of the very few times that I saw Coach Hicks loose his control. His actions that night were very justified! We win that game like we should have and Courtland would have visited our stadium and I think we would have beat them badly at Dobson!

    Great Memories there Dave!

  4. The man on the sideline

    November 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Losing is all that jones has done what makes you think that will change?
    His ways on the sideline with the kids are WOW has he never made a mistake? then he says some of the kids played good I think all the kids play hard and do what they are ask they are not ask to do a lot any more by jones.
    JONES MUST GO!!!!!!!

  5. Spartan80

    November 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    ” just because someone is not a road scholar”

    Just FYI….it’s “Rhodes” scholar. I understand that that doesn’t change the gist of your rant.

    • the truth

      November 12, 2013 at 6:34 am

      Thanks for the clarification/correction but I am aware of the correct spelling I figured “concerned” would be the one to catch and correct it.

  6. Anita

    November 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I pray for a safe trip for the team as they travel to Spotsylvania on Friday. I pray that no one is injured in the game. I hope we win. Good luck to our PCHS Cougars!!!

  7. Anonymous

    November 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    These comments are out of hand and I am shocked that what can be perceived as a threat was let on here. “The Truth” puts “You should be careful what you say about peoples kids and certainly what you ask for about wanting to know who someone is because you just might find out.” and you let this come through on here? I am a mother of a child that plays multiple sports and I will say what has happened on this website with comments and how the community has acted towards the football season has embarrassed me more than any losing season. You are going to allow threats to get more hits on your website and think you are thriving? This is sad. I am now second guessing my choice to stay in Pulaski County, and it has nothing to do with sports but the attitudes from people on here and the fact that you would let that exact comment go through. Perception is reality people, if it is perceived to be a threat, then guess what…it is a threat! I don’t know if many of you have stopped to think how the kids on the team feel and I can’t speak for all of them but I sure know a lot of them. The ones I know aren’t blaming the coaches, they are blaming themselves for a missed block, a pass through their hands, a fumble, an overthrown pass, a missed tackle, a missed extra point. They are talking, texting each other all hours of the night trying to figure out what they can do differently to turn things around. I know they don’t like losing. I know the coaches don’t like losing. You can have your opinions but why day in and day out post on these stories? The kids are reading these comments. I by no means feel we should baby the kids and tell them losing is ok but constructive criticism is one thing, mean, hateful, negative comments are another. At the end of the day these are just kids out there playing a sport they love.

    • Jennifer

      November 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

      AMEN! I saw the comment from The Truth and had to read it again because I could not believe a threat was posted on here. The Truth needs to get a life. He has posted some horrible comments on all of the articles. He threatens someone on this one, he makes negative comments when an outsider comes to watch a couple of football games and comments and many more. If he is so GREAT then put your name out there, apply for a coaching position at the high school and YOU turn things around. Based on your attitude I am not sure how many kids will want to play for you or how many parents will let their kids play for you but go ahead and show us what you can do. You keep saying Jones is a loser because he is what his record shows but what does all of your threats and negative rants say about you?

      • the truth

        November 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? There was no threat made to anyone at anytime. I posted what I did in response to “true brother” basically calling the kids and or parents spineless cowards and for the most part inviting people to confront him. I stand by what I said that anyone should be careful when making those kinds of statements especially in this day and age and society we live in. How you derive that as a threat is beyond me. I have no reason to threaten anyone about anything and have done nothing more than state my opinion (which I am entitled to as are you) and along with that stated factual information (not make believe). This is a open public forum for people to discuss, vent, criticize or what ever they choose and if you disagree with anything I have stated that is certainly ok. I certainly disagree with some I have seen as well. If the southwest times does not want to hear/read negative opinions then the forum should be closed. This is what makes this country great we can express our thoughts, feelings and views. I am a retired veteran so I have earned my right to express my feelings and thoughts. HAVE YOU????

        • Jennifer

          November 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm

          My husband and son currently serve in the military (Army and Navy if you want to know) and I feel the sacrifices we are making as a family that I too have earned my rights! I as well as another person did read your comment as a threat so I am sure we are not the only ones. “True Brother” is just standing up for his brother, whether you agree with him or not, I appreciate the loyalty and closeness of the family. I can imagine it is difficult hearing people day in and day out bash your brother when they know something but they don’t know 100% of what goes on behind the scenes and how they come to some decisions. I can’t say I agree with all of them but I respect the fact that all I know is what I see on Friday nights. I don’t know which kids practice harder, or if they have bad attitudes or which ones put in extra time before or after practices. I am sure the coaches don’t like losing so I have to believe they have reasons for their decisions. BUT aside from your comment/threat to “True Brother”, you just said this is a public forum but then you had a negative comment on another article to the Hokie fan that has watched a couple of the games asking why he was even commenting. I get it you don’t like Jones, you don’t like his brother and you like to determine who shouldn’t be commenting on here!

        • Spartan80

          November 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

          I generally cringe when I read the words “last time I checked”, but….last time I checked, this was America. We all appreciate your service, but that gives you no greater right than anyone else to express yourself. It comes with the territory here. So, whether or not Jennifer, or any other commenter, ever served in the military is completely immaterial; no need to badger people. They have every bit as much right to state their opinion as you do.

  8. Nebulon

    November 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Dear ‘The Truth’, it’s Rhodes Scholar, not Road Scholar… But we get what you’re saying.

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