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Cougars open season with win over Vikings

David Gravely/SWT – The Cougar defense put in a stout effort against the Northside Vikings Friday, helping Pulaski County earn a 14-0 victory.




It was almost like being back in the early 1980s. Pulaski County and Northside battled back and forth through a scoreless first half with the Cougars finally imposing their will over the Vikings in a very physical 14-0 win.


“It was good to see us respond to the things we learned from last week and improve like we did,” Cougar Head Coach Stephen James said afterward. “I was very pleased with our effort and hustle out there. I was also very pleased with the physical nature of our defense. We knew going in we were still a work in progress on the offensive side of the ball, but I think we took a step or two forward with that this week also. We have a lot of work to do, but it’s good to see improvements.”


The two teams push each other around through the first half, but the Cougar defensive unit was clearly controlling things while the Pulaski County offense worked out their kinks. The Cougars knocked on the door, moving to the Northside two-yard line before being stopped on fourth down.


Northside thought they had taken the lead when a pass from Cougar quarterback Chris Shay was intercepted and taken the distance, but a block in the back during the return negated that score. The game remained scoreless heading into the halftime break.


Pulaski County came out and took control in the third quarter. The defense gave the Cougar offense the ball deep in Northside territory after a blocked Northside punt. With 4:08 remaining in the quarter senior Gage Mannon rumbled over the Northside defenders for a two-yard touchdown run. Junior kicker Broc Simpson tacked on the extra point to put the Cougars up 7-0.


The defense continued to hold the Vikings in check, giving the Cougars the ball in Viking territory a second time in the fourth quarter. After a determined short drive, sophomore Keyontae Kennedy dove into the end zone from three yards out for the second Cougar score of the night. Simpson was good on the extra point again to give the Cougars the 14-0 lead and final score.


The Cougar defense continued to manhandle the Viking offense through the remainder of the game, giving up only 25 total rushing yards on 21 carries. The Vikings completed 10 of 24 passes for 48 yards with one interception, courtesy of Cougar Corvin Carter, a junior. The Vikings earned only six first downs and 73 total yards for the night. Northside committed six penalties for 33 yards, but that would have been much higher had they not been backed up to the goal line twice.


The Cougars ran the ball 42 times for 147 yards and completed one of four pass attempts for 13 yards with one interception. Pulaski County earned 160 yards and eight first downs on the night. The Cougars committed four penalties for 35 yards.


Jakari Finley ran the ball 18 times for 80 yards. Kennedy had 12 carries for 34 yards. Chris Shay had 10 carries for 17 yards and Mannon carried seven times for 16 yards. The lone Cougar catch of the night was made by senior Landon McDaniel for 13 yards. The punt blocked by the Cougars came courtesy of junior Ethan Gallimore. Simpson pinned the Vikings deep in their own territory with outstanding kicking and punting. With five punts he averaged 35.6 yards. He also kicked the ball into the end zone twice for touchbacks.


“This was an overall team win,” Coach James said. “Our defense played lights out. I’d give the game ball to every one of them for sure. We also had a few players step up for us tonight. We need to keep improving each day to get to where we want to be. We’ll come in Monday and go through the film and get back to work, but right now this is a nice win and we’ll enjoy it for the night. I’m proud of these guys.”


In other games around the area Blacksburg defeated Giles 24-0, Christiansburg defeated Floyd County 35-16, Dinwiddie won over GW Danville 45-42, Fort Chiswell defeated Rural Retreat 15-14 and Galax defeated Glenvar 32-29. Gate City defeated Richlands 34-29, Hidden Valley took down Patrick Henry 42-35, Narrows defeated Auburn 14-0, Radford won over George Wythe 45-23, Salem defeated Amherst County 48-20, Patrick County defeated Carroll County 38-27 and William Byrd defeated Cave Spring 42-21.


The Cougars will be back in action Friday, Sept. 6, when they host the Bassett Bengals. Game time at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium is set for 7 p.m.


Game Stats

PC: 8

NS: 6



PC: 42/147 yards

NS: 21/25 yards



PC: 1-4-1/13 yards

NS: 10-24-1/48 yards


Total Yards

PC: 160

NS: 73



PC: 0/0

NS: 1//0



PC: 4/35 yards

NS: 6/33 yards


Return Yards

PC: 37

NS: 57



PC: 5/35.6

NS: 8/31.3


Individual Stats


PC: Finley 13 att/80 yards, Kennedy 12/34, Shay 10/17, Mannon 7/16

NS: #22 3/8, #7 2/7, #3 1/6, #10 12/5, #5 1/-1, #4 1/1, #6 1/-1



PC: Shay 1/4/1/13 yards

NS: #10 10/24/1/48



PC: McDaniel 1/13 yards

NS: #6 1/6, #22 1/6, #14 1/3, #44 2/16, #5 1/3, #7 3/6, #3 1/8


Fumble Recovery

PC: none

NS: none



PC: Carter

NS: 1



PC  3 QTR  4:08      2-yd run Mannon     Simpson PAT  7-0 PC

PC  4 QTR  11:55    3-yd run Kennedy    Simpson PAT  14-0 PC



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