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Cougars dominate Knights, move to 5-0

By DAVID GRAVELY

sports@southwesttimes.com

 

The Cave Spring Knights intercepted a pass early in the game and raced 72 yards for a touchdown. It was the only time they led the entire game and the closest the game ever got as the Cougars thrashed the Knights 49-12 at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium Friday.

David Gravely/SWT – Senior Gage Mannon goes over the top for six points Friday against Cave Spring.

 

 

“It was good to see our offensive line improve again tonight,” Cougar Head Coach Stephen James said. “We still made mistakes, but we also did some things right and consistently. It shows in the numbers. Our backs got yards and we got the win. Our defense continues to improve also, so we’re moving in the right direction.”

 

After RJ Chaustre intercepted the Cougar pass for the first score of the game, Pulaski County went back to work. The Knights muffed a punt to give the Cougars the ball back at the 46-yard line and the 13-play drive ended with a one-yard scoring run by Gage Mannon. Broc Simpson added the point-after kick to put Pulaski County up 7-6 with 1:17 remaining in the first.

 

The Cougars struck again with 37 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. A snap went over the head of the Cave Spring punter and rolled into the end zone. John Lyman pounced on the ball for his first touchdown of the year. Simpson added the kick for the 14-6 lead.

 

The Cougars defense continued to harass Knights quarterback Lucas Duncan. A sack by linebacker Austin Gallimore on third down and long was not the last time he would meet a Cougar defender in the backfield.

 

Pulaski County took over at the 49-yard line and drove for 11 plays on the legs of Keyontae Kennedy and Mannon, who ran the final 14 yards into the endzone with 6:05 remaining in the half. Simpsons’ kick made it 21-6 and the Cougars smelled blood.

 

Cave Spring had other ideas, however, recovering a Cougar fumble and driving 63 yards in seven plays, scoring on an 11-yard pass from Duncan to Ethan Coates with 1:22 remaining in the half. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Cougars up 21-12.

 

The second half started with another Cougar defensive play. Tristan Bowden sacked Duncan for a six-yard loss. The Knights punted and Pulaski County drove 54 yards in six plays, including a 40-yard run by Mannon, who eventually took it in from one yard out for the score at the 7:32 mark. Simpson hit the kick to make it 28-12.

 

Cave Spring never found an offensive rhythm after that. The Cougars found themselves with the ball at the Knights 30-yard line and scored four plays later when Chris Shay ran 15 yards for the touchdown. Simpson hit the PAT to make it 35-12.

 

Later in the fourth quarter the Cougars began to move the ball again. Starting at the 34-yard line they used a combination of Mannon and Shay to pound the ball into the heart of the Knights defense. Shay scored his second touchdown of the night on a four-yard run with 8:45 remaining in the game. Simpson made it 42-12 with the kick.

 

With the Cougar benches clearing against the Knights starters, the tempo didn’t change. Trevor Burton started taking the handoffs from Drew Dalton, moving the ball in chunks. Dalton also connected with Lyman for two passes to get the ball to the goal line. Dalton eventually called his own number, running in from one yard out for the final touchdown. Simpson made it 49-12 to end the game.

 

“It’s always good to get a win, but it’s better when you can see your team improve and get some new guys in the end zone,” Coach James said. “We did a pretty good job out there tonight, but we still have a lot to tighten up. We’ll get back after it Monday and start getting ready for Hidden Valley.”

 

The Cougar defense held Cave Spring minus 18 yards on 14 rushing attempts Friday, the second time they have held an opponent to negative rushing yardage this season. The Knights completed 12 of 28 pass attempts for 93 yards, giving them 75 total yards in the game and eight first downs.

 

The Cougars ran the ball 54 times for 311 yards and completed 10 of 14 pass attempts for 54 yards with two interceptions. Pulaski County earned 22 first downs.

 

Gage Mannon led the way with 20 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Keyontae Kennedy ran 14 times for 83 yards. Chris Shay ran 11 times for 70 yards. Trevor Burton had five carries for 26 yards. Quarterback AJ McCloud ran three times for seven yards and Drew Dalton ran once for his one-yard touchdown.

 

McCloud completed eight of 12 passes for 38 yards with two interceptions. Dalton was two for two for 16 yards.

Chase Dotson caught four passes for 19 yards. John Lyman caught two for 16, Shay caught two for 15 and Layne Suthers caught two for four yards.

 

Austin Gallimore had one sack. Tristan Bowman had two and Ethan Gallimore had two.

 

The Cougars will now regroup and begin to prepare for the Hidden Valley Titans on the road next week.

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