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Cougars sloppy in win over Christiansburg

By DAVID GRAVELY

sports@southwesttimes.com

 

It was a game that should have never been close, but Pulaski County survived a night of sloppy play to earn their sixth win of the season, 42-28 over the Christiansburg Blue Demons.

 

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Cougar Head Coach Stephen James said. “I thought we came out playing well, but somewhere along the way we lost a little bit of our focus. We can’t turn the ball over and we can’t have penalties like we had tonight.”

 

The Cougars were penalized 13 times for 164 yards. The Blue Demons were also hit with the yellow hanky to the tune of 10 penalties for 103 yards.

 

Sophomore AJ McCloud took the start at quarterback tonight and made a fine debut. He connected with senior Noah O’Dell on a 52-yard pass with less than a minute off the clock to give the Cougars the lead. Senior Ryan Castle connected for the PAT to put Pulaski County up 7-0.

McCloud led the Cougars down the field a second time in the first quarter also. This time junior Gage Mannon took it into the end zone from four yards out with 4:38 remaining in the first. Castles’ PAT made it 14-0 Cougars.

 

The Blue Demons got a break in the start of the second quarter. A Castle field goal attempt was blocked and Maston Stanley picked it up and raced 80 yards untouched for the score.

 

The Cougars answered with three straight touchdowns. First senior Kade Akers hit sophomore Xavier Cobbs for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Then with 58 second left in the first half, Mannon broke free up the middle for a five-yard scoring run. With 9:07 remaining in the third quarter Mannon got the call again, scoring on another five-yard run.

Castle was good for the kick each time, putting Pulaski County up 35-7.

 

Then things started breaking down. Quarterback MJ Hunter hit Jordan Harman on a five-yard scoring pass, then connected with Caleb Henley on a 39-yard touchdown pass to make the score 35-21. With 1:29 remaining in the game Akers raced into the end zone from 11 yards out for the final Cougar score, making it 42-21 after the Castle kick, but the Blue Demons weren’t done. With 48 seconds remaining Hunter connected with Henley on a 23-yard touchdown pass to bring the final score of 42-28.

 

In the end, an otherwise outstanding defensive showing was overshadowed by penalties and a few big pass plays that cost the Cougars. The Cougars held Christiansburg to just 48 yards rushing on 25 attempts.

 

“Obviously we’ve got a lot of things to look at on film,” James said. “We’re better than this, and we need to show it. We got some big games coming up and we need to sharpen things up quickly.”

 

With the win, the Cougars move to 6-1 on the season and now must prepare to face the undefeated Blacksburg Bruins next week. The Bruins defeated Cave Spring Friday 29-0.

 

“We can’t have these turnovers or penalties if we want to reach our goals,” James said. “It’s time to clean it up.”

 

Game Stats

Rushing

PC: 53 att/267 yards

CB:  26 att/48 yards

 

Passing

PC: 11-20-0/206 yards

CB: 10-23-0/200 yards

 

Total Yards

PC: 473

CB: 248

 

First Downs

PC:  24

CB:  14

 

Penalties

PC: 13/164 yards

CB: 10/103 yards

 

Punting

PC: 0/0

CB: 5/35.4 avg

 

Fumbles/Lost

PC: 3-2

CB: 0-0

 

Interceptions

PC: 0

CB: 0

 

Individual Stats

Rushing

PC: Finley 16/96, Akers 13/96, Mannon 22/73, Russell 2/2

CB: #28 13/15, #7 9/8, #11 22/19, #31 1/4, #1 1/2

 

Passing

PC: McCloud 4-5-0, 84 yds, Akers 7-15-0 122 yards

 

Receptions

PC: O’Dell 5/110, Mannon 1/12, Shay 1/0, Gibbs 2/28, Cobbs 1/8, Burchett 1/44

CB: #25 3/18, #11 7/178

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