Cougars survive Falcons, move to 2-1

By DAVID GRAVELY
sports@southwesttimes.com

ABINGDON – The Cougar football team started out slow, picked up the pace in the second quarter and then held on through a fast paced and exciting second half to earn a 27-20 victory over the Abingdon Falcons Friday on the road.

“I’m always happy to get a win,” Cougar head coach Stephen James said after the game. “We did just enough to pull it out though. We’ve got to find some consistency. We would make a big play and then we would make a big mistake. We had a chance to put this one away and we didn’t.”

Abingdon got on the board first at the 4:39 mark of the first quarter. Falcon fullback Austin Holloway broke through the Cougar defense and rambled 48 yards for the score. The PAT by Graham Griffith was good, putting the Falcons up 7-0.

The remainder of the first quarter was quiet, but Pulaski County began to build some momentum in the second. With 8:09 remaining in the half junior place kicker Ryan Castle connected for a 30 yard field goal to move the score to 7-3.

The Abingdon offense went quiet on their next drive, punting the ball back to the Cougars. Five plays later Jaylin Nowlin busted through the Falcon defensive line for a 13 yard touchdown run with 3:57 left in the half. The PAT by Castle left the Cougars up 10-7.

Another quick four and out by the Falcons forced them to punt again, leaving the Cougars with the ball at the Falcon 42 yard line. Eight play later junior quarterback Kade Akers put a pass just over the shoulder of senior Kellen Dalton for a 15 yard touchdown pass and catch. Castle hit the PAT to put the Cougars up 17-7 heading into the half.

“We felt like we were making some headway heading into the half, but then we took a hit when John Minnick went down with a knee injury,” James said. “Our line is pretty thin as it is, so losing him was not something we wanted to see. That hurt us in the second half.”

The Cougars came out in the second half hoping to continue the pace set in the second quarter. E.J. Horton returned the opening kickoff 39 yards to the Cougar 42 yard line. Eleven plays later and faced with a fourth down and 14 yards to go, coach James sent Castle in to attempt a 31 yard field goal. The strong legged junior made good on the attempt, putting the Cougars up 20-7 with 6:31 remaining in the third.

And just like that, it seemed like a different Pulaski County team came out on the field.

Abingdon used eight plays to drive 66 yards, capping the drive off with a 29 yard touchdown pass from Holloway to Caleb Farris. The PAT by Griffith made it 20-14 in favor of the Cougars.

The Cougars were able to add another score in the fourth quarter when Horton ran the ball in from two yards out with 9:31 remaining. Castle hit the PAT to put Pulaski County up 27-14.

The Falcons just kept coming forward. They used fourteen plays to cover 86 yards, scoring on a ten yard run by Gabe Booth with 5:37 remaining.

With the clock ticking away, the Cougars went back to work on offense. After a short drive it looked like Pulaski County was ready to punt the ball away, but a fake punt shocked everyone. Matt Click, lined up as a blocker, took a direct snap and rolled out to the visitors side of the field. Twelve yards later, Pulaski County had a first down and new life.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, somewhere on the next play between the handoff and turning down field the ball was fumbled. Abingdon recovered the fumble, but the Cougar defense held strong, forcing a turnover on downs.

The Cougars earned a first down in the final two minutes of the game and finished in the victory formation to secure the 27-20 win.

“I’m proud of the fact that we didn’t hang our heads when we lost the momentum,” James said. “These kids want to do things the right way, and they are willing to work hard. We just need to find some consistency. We’ll take a look at things on film and make some adjustments. We’ll also need to look at our injuries and see where we stand. Right now we’re happy to have the win, but we know we’ve got some work to do.”

The Cougars will travel to Carroll County Friday night to take on the Cavaliers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Carroll County High School.

 

Game Stats
Team
First Downs
PC – 17
AH – 9
Rushing
PC – 40 att/147 yards
AH – 38 att/128 yards
Passing
PC – 12 of 21/0 INT/185 yards
AH – 7 of 11/0 INT/68 yards
Total Yards
PC – 332 yards
AH – 196 yards
Fumbles/Lost
PC – 3-2
AH – 0-0
Penalties
PC – 8/70 yards
AH – 4/30 yards
Punting
PC – 4/30.5 avg.
AH – 4/36.3 avg.
Return Yards
PC – 75
AH – 106 yards
Individual Stats
Rushing
PC – Nowlin 10/53, Eaves 9/34, K. Akers 14/34, Click 1/12, Dalton 4/7, Horton 2/7
AH – Holloway 8/59, Jordan 11/20, Canada 7/21, Willis 4/14, Boothe 5/8, Farris 3/6
Passing
PC – Akers 12 of 21/185 yards
AH – Both 2 of 11/68 yards
Receiving
PC – Horton 5/73, Clark 3/44, Blevins 2/44, Dalton 2/24
AH –Farris 4/50, Dotson 1/7, Canada 2/17
Interceptions
PC – none
AH – none
Fumble Recoveries
PC – none
AH – 2

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