Cougars survive Knights, move to 4-1

By DAVID GRAVELY
sports@southwesttimes.com

At times, it seemed like the two teams couldn’t decide who wanted to lose the game more. Four interceptions and one lost fumble by each team at critical times left the fate of the game in doubt. In the final minutes an extra point that could have tied the game for the Cave Spring Knights bounced off the right upright. Cougars win, 14-13.

With the win the Cougars have now won four straight games and have a record of 4-1.

“I thought we were ready,” Cougar head coach Stephen James said after the game. “We had one of our better weeks of practice this week. We came out flat and never really woke up. We did just enough to win.”

The Cougars got on the board first when Jaceri Eaves crossed the goal line from one yard out. Ryan Castle hit the PAT with 7:54 showing on the clock to put the Cougars up 7-0.

Cave Spring answered in the third. A busted coverage in the Cougars secondary allowed a 50-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Knight to Austin Ragan with 2:53 remaining in the third. The PAT by Nick McGuire tied the game at 7-7.

Pulaski County took the lead again with 10:18 remaining. Eaves scored on a four-yard run and Castle hit the PAT to put the Cougars up 14-7.

Defensive stands by both teams, combined with the previously mentioned turnovers, left the game in doubt though the remainder of the final quarter. The Cougars put together a drive late, but fumbled the ball after driving all the way to the Knights seven-yard line.

Cave Spring used their passing game to get away from their own goal line, and then on first down Knight was chased out of the pocket. During his scramble Ragan got behind a Cougar defender and Knight saw it. A catch and 38 yards later, Ragan crossed the goal line. This time McGuire was pressured and the kick hit the upright, leaving the Cougars up 14-13.

Quarterback Kade Akers ran the ball seven times, gaining two key first downs, to run the clock out and preserve the Cougar win.

“Clearly we need to find a running game,” James said. “I thought our defense did a good job, but we need to clean up the mistakes. Offensively we were very flat and make too many mistakes. Our first five games are in the books. I’ll take the win tonight and I’m happy that we have four wins, but we’ve got to find some consistency.”

On a positive note several Cougars made big plays. Despite having two interceptions, Akers still had 114 passing yards. He added 104 rushing yards to that effort.

Senior Kellen Dalton had a big catch for 27 yards, but also intercepted two Cave Spring passes. Junior Noah O’Dell played well defensively, harassing the Knights quarterback most of the night. Sophomore Gage Mannon had a big hit on a Cave Spring receiver to force a fumble, which was recovered by Eaves.

“We’ll come back to work Monday after looking at the film,” James said. “Obviously we need to play better moving forward. We put a few kids on the field more than normal tonight, and most of them did a good job for us. You have to give credit to Cave Spring coach Fulton. He had a good plan against us and had his kids ready.”

The Cougars will hit the road this week with a trip to Dwight Bogle Field to face the Hidden Valley Titans. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Game Stats

Team Stats
First Downs
PC: 15
CS: 13

Rushing
PC: 36 att/156 yards
CS: 27 att/52 yards

Passing
PC: 8 of 19/114/2 INT
CS: 13 of 27/251/2 INT

Total Yards
PC: 270
CS: 303

Fumbles/Lost
PC: 2/1
CS: 2/1

Penalties
PC: 4/25 yards
CS: 5/41 yards

Punting
PC: 5/39.4 avg
CS: 5/28.4 avg

Return Yards
PC: 15
CS: 93

Individual Stats
Rushing
PC: K. Akers 21/105, Nowlin 9/31, Eaves 9/23, Jackson 1/-1, K. Dalton 1/-2
CS: #7 4/40, #20 9/12, #47 3/7, #11 9/0, #15 1/-2, #5 1/-5

Passing
PC: Akers 8 of 18/2 INT/114 yards, Dalton 0 of 1/0 yards
CS: Knight 13 of 27/2 INT/251 yards

Receiving
PC: Horton 4/40, Dalton 1/27, Clark 2/33, Blevins 1/14
CS: #14 5/107, #27 3/84, #7 1/25, #19 1/22, #1 1/7, #16 1/5, #1/1

Interceptions
PC: Dalton 2
CS: #14, #15

Fumble Recoveries
PC: Eaves
CS: #47

 

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