Collapse of the walking wounded

Too many missed opportunities cost Cougars in loss


SWT Sports Editor919458_752550661437981_248311979_o

“If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

That song is familiar to most that grew up in the “Hee Haw” era of television, but it was also the story of the game for Pulaski County in their 17-10 loss Friday night against Cave Spring.

Penalties that Pulaski County in long first down situations, penalties that stalled drives, fumbles, interceptions, and most importantly injuries were all a part of the formula that will move the Cougars down the list when the VHSL ratings come out on Monday.

With several key starters already injured before the game started, the Cougars were already looking to fill several holes.  Senior Jake Tabor, who normally plays safety and is on most special teams, is also a backup running back.  Senior Tyler Ervine was also sidelined with an ankle injury, taking away an offensive and special teams threat.

The numbers were about as close as the score.  The Cougars gained 222 yards on the ground, even after senior running back Quincy Rollins went down in the second quarter with an apparent ankle injury.  Two Cougars, Marcus Payne and Elliot Brewster, had interceptions for Pulaski County.  Two Knights had interceptions for Cave Spring.  Jake Callahan recovered a fumble for the Cougars, and the Knights also recovered a fumble.

“We can’t catch a break,” said Cougar Head Coach Todd Jones.  “Sometimes you just need something good to happen.  Tonight would have been a good night for it.  I thought we moved the ball pretty good at times, but then we would stall out.  We didn’t finish our drives.  The penalties hurt us, but when you start having key starters go down, it’s hard to replace that guy right away.  You hope your next guy is ready, and I think we had some kids come in and do some good things tonight.  We’ve got some holes to fill and some questions to answer before next week though.”

The Cougars kicked off to start the contest, and after an incomplete pass, a bad snap that turned into a 14 yard loss, and a short rush the Knights punted the ball to Pulaski.

Pulaski County returned the favor after gaining one first down, pinning the Knights back to their own 13-yard line.   Cave Spring punted, and Pulaski returned it to the Knights 49-yard line.  Two plays later Ty Albritton picked off a Marcus Johnston pass at the 30-yard line for Cave Spring.

It took the Knights ten plays to cover 70 yards, with Jon Roach crossing the goal line from five yards out.  Daniel Seymour hit the point-after touchdown attempt to give Cave Spring the 7-0 lead.

The second quarter started with a running play by Dillon Alley, but on the next play another Johnston pass was intercepted, this time by Sebastian Wellford, giving the Knights the ball at the 5-yard line after a 31 yard return.

Alex Emery completed a short pass to Albritton for the second Knights score, and the Seymour PAT moved Cave Spring ahead 14-0.

Malik Eaves returned the next kickoff to the 27-yard line, and the Cougars put Rollins to work.  The senior had runs of 9, 8, 18, 8, and 2 yards during the 12 play drive, along with runs by Brandon Jones of 7 and 2 yards and two one yard runs by Johnston, with the score coming on his last one yard run.  Shane Chrisley hit the PAT, moving the Cougars within a score at the 5:29 mark.

Both teams moved the ball for the rest of the first half, but neither could cross the goal line.

Pulaski took the second half kickoff, with Brandon Jones returning it to the 31-yard line.  Despite starting the drive with a holding call, the Cougars caught the Knights by surprise with the speedy running of junior Cody Semones, who was in for the injured Rollins.  Semones gained 38 yards on four carries, combined with 12 yards rushing from Jones and 13 yards from Johnston.  The drive stalled, and Shane Chrisley was good on a 34-yard field goal attempt to tighten the score to 14-10.

The Knights answered with a ten play drive that moved the ball to within long field goal range, and Seymour made good on the 33 yard attempt to extend the Knights lead to 17-14.

The Cougars missed several opportunities throughout the remainder of the game.  A 30-yard field goal attempt by Chrisley was blocked with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.  Marcus Payne intercepted a pass later in the fourth quarter, which looked like it was going to give us excellent field position.  On the return, a Knights player hit him from behind and stripped the ball, sending it bouncing on the turf field.  It took a funny bounce, as if to run away from the Pulaski County players standing around it, and was recovered by the Knights.

Somehow the Knights continued the drive, gaining three first downs before Brewster made his interception at the 35-yard line.

The Cougars could only manage to lose ground by this point, and were forced to punt again.  The Knights gained just enough yardage to earn two first downs and run out the clock and seal the win.

“We know Quincy is out, and he may not be available next week,” said Coach Jones.  “We’ll know more this weekend, but it doesn’t look good.  Senior defensive lineman Rob Quesenberry also went down with an ankle or foot injury, and will need to get it x-rayed as well.  Brad Church may have banged his ankle up some too.  We’ll just have to see how things go this weekend, and then on Monday we’ll look at who we can shuffle around to get the job done.  We can’t complain about tonight.  We had our chances and we didn’t take advantage of them.  We didn’t execute well and we didn’t finish drives.  We also let them get some big plays.  We had no big plays what so ever.”

Pulaski County will need to figure out a plan quickly, as they host their final regular season home game this coming Friday against Hidden Valley.  The Titans had the week off this past week, and were no doubt in attendance to watch.  They will come into the game with a 3-4 record.

Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium.



26 Responses to Collapse of the walking wounded

  1. the truth

    October 21, 2013 at 9:44 am

    What a absolute JOKE another loss to another team with a LOSING record.. The only wins Jones has been able to manufacture this year are against FAR WEAKER opponents (which they should beat) and simply has yet to post a MEANINGFUL win this year. Same old song. The Cougars are now looking at 4-6 or 5-5 at best. That is remarkable considering the CUPCAKE schedule being played (out of 10 teams only 4 have winning records). They will still make the playoffs but he has certainly failed a good group of kids with poor coaching. I will say this for him he ALWAYS HAS A EXCUSE and has every year since arriving at PC. When will the administration finally have enough of his failure..WOW……

    • Lola

      October 21, 2013 at 11:11 am

      You have an absolute right to your opinion and to express it. However, in my opinion, if you are going to attack someone at least man up and give your name.

      • the truth

        October 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        Well Lola if I felt my name was pertinent to anything I would certainly provide it to you. However I will say I have a “current stake” in the program and I certainly do have a right to express my opinion and thus I have expressed it through this forum. And by the way what I stated was not only my opinion but factual information. Just as you are entitled to your opinion and to live in fantasy land which is apparently where you live if you do not feel there is a problem with the direction that program has gone and is going. I share the same opinion as most in the county as is evident by the lack of attendance and just talking with people especially ones that know and understand the game of football. I agree with “hopeful” there are good kids on that team and past teams but the coaching and philosophy is just not there IMO. So whom do you fault for PC’s record and lack of progress since Jones has been there? Let me guess… Its the kids fault. And he just needs ONE more year to turn it all around. WAKE UP..

        • Lola

          October 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm

          Nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking, without the respect to take it directly to the person you have a problem with.

          • the truth

            October 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

            FYI. I have taken it directly to him. I do not need to Monday morning quarterback the OBVIOUS. You are what your record says you are and his Lola has not been good since being at PC.

      • Va Girl

        October 22, 2013 at 9:33 am


        I agree with the truth, our true identities are a non-issue. Most don’t use their real names for good reason. In today’s world it’s unsafe and a way for someone who doesn’t like a post to find where you live or how to contact you directly and harass you.

        That said I appreciate VERY MUCH S.W. Times allows us to post using just an email address once they’ve monitored. Most papers now allow only Facebook posts which I reuse to EVER join. That shows those publications are in no way concerned for ALL of their readers. ONLY the few who can “like” them on Facebook which is surely a small percentage.

        S.W. Times, THANK YOU for allowing us to post as we do and please do not go to the Facebook thing as only means to post. Currently you are the ONLY LOCAL PUBLICATION I can post to.

  2. Hopeful

    October 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Pulaski has a great football program, our young men take to the practice field all summer and then all football season and I agree they want to win games, it is hard to win, when every Friday night you follow these young men from field to field and it’s the same every week. Plays are run every week middle, right, left punt. Pulaski County has what it seems like is a 1 man show, when their are 11 players on the field, those 11 are a Team, they play hard and do there best, then back to the 1 man show. There are talented football players on the sidelines that can get the job done as we read in the papers, so why are they not in the games? Good question i believe that the coaches are afraid of feelings being hurt instead of having a winning season. These young men work hard let’s give them a chance to bring football back to Pulaski County. I am a loyal Cougar Fan and will not give up on them, these young men deserve our support.Let’s give it the the players that are there playing hard and wanting to win. Good Luck in the remaining games, we will be there regardless of coaching, we are there to support OUR COUGARS!!!!!!

    • Jennifer

      October 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      I agree there are some games that should have been won and looking back, and looking at the group of boys on the field, I feel all the games could have been a victory. However, I am confused on this one man show comment. I go to all of the games and I see a full defense where different names are always announced for making a tackle, an interception, a sack or recovering a fumble. I see an offense where your line is blocking and several kids have positive yardage with runs and pass receptions. I see a quarterback handing the ball off, passing the ball and running the ball. I see a kicker making field goals and extra points. I see a team on the sideline cheering for their team that is on the field. I see some leadership where kids are continually patting other players on the shoulder pads or giving them fives. I have gone to Pulaski games since the 80’s and can count on my hands how many games I have missed during all of these years and I have seen teams that you may think is a one man show but it definitely isn’t with this team. Stop and watch the kids on the sideline going to check on their teammates that come out hurt. This is a team effort, it is a good team effort and this comment is far from what I am seeing on Friday nights. This comment of a one man show is what is wrong with the parents and when parents say it enough in front of their kids, they start to believe it and then it causes division in the team unit. Or when kids constantly hear that the coach did this or didn’t do that, it makes them stop and think a mistake they made wasn’t their fault it was the coach’s fault or someone else’s fault. I am not a parent of a current player but it sounds as if Hopeful is a disgruntle parent that’s child is not getting to play or not in the position they want them to be in. I do question some of the play calls but I am not the coach, I am a fan that enjoys watching football and I hope the kids realize there are fans out there not critizing everything and just enjoying the game.

  3. Summer

    October 22, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Excuses excuses excuses… Ole COugar Dave is the biggest apologist ever. The bottom line is this team is not very good. The coaching simply is not very good. Mediocrity is here and will remain in PC for many years to come sadly.

  4. Voice of the Opposition

    October 22, 2013 at 8:42 am

    It is indeed time for a coaching change. I know the “Spread Offense” is what everyone wants to see nowadays. It is designed to put points on the scoreboard and amaze the fans. It is designed to break all of the offensive records in the books. Just take a look at Oregon and Baylor this year. Guess what? We are not Oregon and Baylor. A great football coach will design his offense around his players. Not the other way around. If you have watched the games you will see that this “so called” hi powered offense is not producing the results it should. why is this? We do not have the personel to operate this offense. When Jones was at Essex, he had the players. He also played Single “A” ball against a very weak schedule, so the points came quickly and often. PC is weak physically. Franklin County proved that by the way they pushed our offense and defense lines around. PC has historically had a strong offensive line, 1 very good running back and a QB who managed the game and di not lose it. Defensively they played sound defense by stopping the run first, give up the short underneath passes and not get beat deep. We need to get back to that. I dont think Jones is the answer. Im sure hes a great husband and father, but he is just not a good fit for PC. we need a hardnosed Coach who has a great weight program, one who will line up and knock defenses off the ball and hand it to a tail back who will get 5 or 6 yards a carry. I know this is not what the fans like to see, but me personally i would rather see ball control and a victory each week instead of 2 jet sweeps for lost yardage, 1 incomplete pass and a punt every series. just my 2 cents

  5. LT

    October 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Well comments from “both sides” it appears. My turn:

    Stop blaming the coach and stop blaming the team. The problem is shared. The coach uses what he has and the players play the coaches plays. See both work together.

    Stop, be quiet, my turn…..

    People these are 16, 17, 18 year olds. Not NFL or even college. Some are not yet physically at their peak. They are doing their best. So sometimes the other team is better and bigger. Life happens.

    Coach? Well, maybe he needs some encouragement and different plays, but he is there trying and taking the public comments with a high head. Amazing how easy to be critical. Let him tell you how many thank him for at least being there for the team and trying…

    Believe me the staff does not make the money professionals make nor Frank Beamer for the amount of mouth they take.

    Parents of the team members? Well, they are stuck in the middle of the road also. Blame their sons no blame the coach sometimes, blame the other team never. Well maybe sometimes there lays the problem.. The strength and ability of the other team. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That is something our youth are simply not taught any more. It really is ok to lose sometimes. The earth is not going to stop.

    Just remind the boys do the best they can, focus best they can, hold their head high always, and continue on with life.

    If we all won, we probably wouldn’t be in the government position we are now!!!

    • Voice of the Opposition

      October 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Wow! LT really put it in perspective for us. Let’s look at the facts.
      1. ” The coach uses what he has and the players play the coaches plays” – Like i said previously, a real football coach adjusts his system to the type of athletes he has, he doesnt try to adjust his athletes to his system. So no LT, in this case is does not work together.

      2.With the exception of Franklin Co. no team has been bigger or better than PC this year. The players arent doing their best because they havent been taught how to do their best.

      3. “Caoch needs some encouragement and different plays” – see comment # 1. Which one is it LT? Run the plays he has or get new ones? I’m fairly sure that HE is the only person in Pulaski County that would tell you how many people Thank him, because i’ve sure never heard anybody else have anything positive to say about him.

      4. No the staff are not profesionals. But i dont care what level you coach at ( rec to NFL), you had better be ready to take the HEAT.

      5. “It really is ok to lose sometimes?” Are you serious? I know that someone has to win and someone has to lose. But it is NEVER acceptable to be ok with losing. Attitudes like this is part of the problem with America these days.

      6. I do agree with your last point, the boys need to do their best, focus and hold their heads high.

      • Voice of Reason.

        October 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm

        It is SO disappointing and ridiculous to see how much you HATE the Coach. I am not sure what he has done to you personally but YOU need to get over it. This is a high school football team with 15, 16 & 17 year olds on it. Just because you do not agree with his philosophy, does not give you the right to be an jerk and blast him in a public forum. People like YOU are what is wrong with America. You stand in the background a criticize this or criticize that but what are YOU are doing for this team or the players? If you are such a football expert then why were you not hired for the Head Coach position?
        Now let’s talk about your points:
        1. You are absolutely wrong about a coaches changing their offensive philosophy. Football is a very complex sport with each player having to do something different. The best football programs are consistent with their offenses. For example, Coach Joel Hicks did not change his offense ever year depending on his players. Salem has run their same base offense for years. Giles has run the single wing successfully for over 30 years. Giles is so successful because they run the same offense at all levels. You may tweak the offense based on your player but you keep to what you know. Everyone that has played football you run the play until they are second nature.
        2. Being bigger is not everything. These days speed is just as important. The last couple of years Pulaski has just not had the team speed to compete with some teams. To that point, our players that have speed are only 5’ 5” to 5’ 7”. They are playing against players that are 6’ 3’ to 6’ 5” that are just as fast.
        3. I strongly disagree with you on this. Most of the people I talk to do like Coach Jones. I know a bunch of people that thank him for all the hard work he does. Most importantly, the kids really like him and the rest of the staff. Your statement just shows how out of touch you are with the team. It also shows YOUR character. It is one thing to disagree with his coaching philosophy; it is another to hate the guy so much because he doesn’t to run the team like YOU want.
        4. Again, I have to really disagree with you on this point too. I will give you College and Pro coaches that make big money for coaching should get HEAT for not winning. BUT it is just wrong to criticize a rec or high school coach to the level that you have taken it! High school coaches cannot recruit players. They have to work with the kids they have in the school system. Also, these coaches spend ridiculous amount of time trying to prepare the kids to be successful on and off the field. You can go by the field house almost any time and find the coaches there.
        5. No one likes to lose. It is what you do after you lose. You can point fingers and blame the coach. Want to have the coach fired. Hmm that seems what you want to have done. Or you can use the lost to work on your weakness and motivate the player to try harder to improve.
        Basically, you are living in the past when Pulaski was a major football power. Yes they had a great coach in Hicks but they also had a lot more athletes and bigger players. Pulaski was a much bigger school then than they are now. Also with the changes in the practice, rules it make kids choose a sport. There are some very good athletes that could make a major impact on the football team but are dedicating themselves to other sports. You just need to wake up and realize that Cougar Football is just not what it was in the 80’s and 90’s. You do realize that most of the kids playing today weren’t even born when Cougars were in there heyday.

        • Ray

          October 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm

          Thanks for more excuses !! You don’t think that the other high schools in Virginia face what Pulaski faces ?? You make it sound like this is some vacuum where only the rules apply to Pulaski and nowhere else. I can guarantee you that other schools like Cave, Hidden, Salem, Christiansburg and many more lose athletes to other sports also. Pulaski has painted itself in this corner, by the choices that they have made over the years.
          You reap what you sow – is the adage I believe.

        • Voice of the Opposition

          October 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

          WOW! Punched a few buttons Huh? Its obvious that you really like Coach Jones. Its almost like you know him personally. Maybe his wife or something? Who knows. First of all, I was just having a friendly disagreement with LT. I never once said ( as you put it) that i HATE Jones. I simply said that I dont think that he is the right fit for PC. Trust me, I know my fair share about football. Its abvious by attacking me the way you did, that you cant see the forest for the trees. Jerk, HATE, Character? I never once used those words but you used them to describe me. If you can get past your obvious love for the coach, go back and read your post. Some of what you said actually backed up my points.

          1. PC, Salem and Giles. You are exactly right. they ran or still run the same offense. And what do you know? They all 3 have a powerful run game. Why? Because they have a stable of linemen and maybe 1 or 2 running backs. Its that way all over SWVA and PC is no different.

          2. “PC hasnt had the speed the past couple of years and what speed they do have is little”. Then why would you choose to keep beating your head against the wall trying to run a speed based offense?

          3. Once again I never used the word HATE. It shows YOUR character by making flase accusations.

          4. I agree. HS coaches dont make enough money to take the criticism that they do. But you know what? They do anyway. But, on the flip side of that coin, I was just stating facts based on performance. You are attacking me based on emotion. 2 different things all together.

          5. ” Its what you do after you lose”. I agree. But anyone who watches PC knows that mistakes are not corrected. Its the same song and dance every week. ” The definition of insanity is to keep trying the same things and expect different results”. Too many personal fouls. Too many penalties. Players making the same mistakes week in and week out. That my dear is coaching.

          Once again, I do not ( as you put it) HATE Coach Jones. Im sure he is great person. I have not attacked him personally, I have just posted some obvious comment about his coaching style. Im simply saying that I dont believe he is a good fit for PC. You are a bitter person who has malice in her heart. Like I said, you cant see the forest for the trees. Just something for you to think about “REASON”. You have a nice day and remember. I Love You

          • A True Brother!

            October 31, 2013 at 9:27 am

            I don’t know about the coach’s wife or wives, but you sure do have the coach’s brother’s attention. I would love to sit and talk to you over breakfast or lunch at a PUBLIC restaurant. Maybe we could learn from each other. All you have to do is set the time and place. We can discuss X’s and O’s and how great of a coach you are or could be. I’m a good listener. But this isn’t what it’s all about though is it? You want to hide behind a name. PUBLIC is PUBLIC. People around so discussions are all that would take place. But no worries, keep hiding. That’s the problem with you people. You put someone down for what they do yet I’m sure if your lives were exposed and people would throw rocks while having masks on, you would feel the same way and say the same things..

          • pchsdad

            November 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

            Well spoken brother. Perhaps the naysayers would like Jack back, oh wait , he quit on us when we needed him the most. Coach Jones quit his job, moved his family on very short notice to come support his school. How do you thank him? You get on these forums or complain in the stands..I am ashamed for all of you. Its the same story, people complain regardless of the situation, the next coach is the one and the backup qb is the answer…should throw more or should run more….. whatever happens with coach Jones I support him and his team.

  6. Hopeful

    October 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    We all want to see our Cougars do a good job and win games, yes it has been a tough year, but in response to Jennifer no everyone has a young man on the team and not everyone is a disgrunted parent. Parents are a part of these programs also, we all want to see these young men do well and you don’t really know if comments are made in front of these young men or not. I would never do anything to bring theses young men down, I do root for the team and hope that every Friday Night is a victory, so if I offended you sorry, Football is a TEAM effort and these young men are a team, win or lose.

  7. The LIGHT

    October 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Jones must GO!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. sports supporter

    October 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

    As a football player’s parent I get tired of all the excuses, of all the promises made to the players and to good players, BETTER players standing on the sidelines not getting a chance. What happened to playing the best players to win and not worrying about what the family or friends will say. Is it that not the point of a coach? To win?? I have watched this group of young men through the years and know for a fact that some of the ones on the field are NOT the best players. YOU have the pick from two teams VARSITY and JV, knowing that there are boys on the JV team that could out run, pass and hit better then those on Varsity. But they aren’t being utilized because of politics and feelings being hurt. Running the same play every Thursday and Friday. One right after the other. It gets old. If you can see what 3 JV players can do then what about the rest of them? Has anyone noticed it but their record is better than Varsity. They have RB/TB’s that can fly, H. Thomas & J. Edmonds; a QB, Lawson that can throw on a dime and COMPLETE passes; Houston can catch and tackles being made by Honaker, Grissom, Powell and Secrist. I have only been to a couple games but these kids are very talented. Why aren’t they being played on varisty? Politics and feelings!

    I agree with some of the statements made by others. I never want someone to lose their job or have to move their family but we need to do what is best for our players. If a new coaching staff is the solution then be it. Some of these kids have talent to take them to the next level but if they aren’t given the chance to prove it then how will they make it? Having basically the same kids on both sides of the football play after play, is this how you win? Like its been mentioned these are 15-16-17-18 year olds and a sideline full of kids ready to play WHY do you do it? If you aren’t going to play them then why keep them? Too make the team look bigger?

    Of course this is all IMO,so take it for what’s worth.

  9. Patrick

    October 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    If you pay attention to coach Jones comments week after week, it’s the same blah, blah, blah….”We have been told that there’s lots of kids ready to step to make a difference, etc. Many players ride that bench, JV and varsity. Coach Jones tells everyone that he didn’t play until he was a senior. Maybe that’s because he wasn’t very good. Just because you go play Division III Football doesn’t mean you’re good, it only means you like playing football at a low college level for four years more. We have linebackers like Dones and Widner who are strong as oxen that don’t see the field anymore. Lawson threw for a school records for touchdowns and yardage in middle school, but never sees the field as a quarterback. Instead we have a quarterback that throws ducks and rarely ever throws the ball. The JV coach is a joke and the players talk back to him. Our program is a joke and it needs to change!

  10. Jay

    October 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    We need some guidance to the football gods in Pulaski County. Coaches could come off their high horses and actually acknowledge the parents when the are standing right by them. They need to remember that they coach high school football, not VA Tech. Adjust the coaching to your talent, quit using the JV football players for the varsity to beat up on, and learn what actual tackling drills are….last night’s tackling in the JV game was horrific.

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