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Cougars earn second shutout, crush Falcons

By DAVID GRAVELY

sports@southwesttimes.com

 

ABINGDON- Rumors of their possible demise were, apparently, greatly exaggerated. The Cougar football team traveled down Interstate-81 Friday night and dominated the Abingdon Falcons in a 49-0 shutout that was never close.

 

“Our guys went in with the right attitude and they got after it,” Cougar Head Coach Stephen James said. “Our defense is playing really good football right now. They really get after it. We were concerned with some of the things Abingdon had the ability to do, but our guys were really on the ball. I’m very proud of our effort.”

 

Pulaski County scored almost immediately. After a kickoff return that gave the Falcons the ball at the 20-yard line, bad luck struck for Abingdon when their starting center had to leave the game with an injury. He later returned to action, but not before plenty of damage was done.

 

On second down a snap sailed over the Falcon quarterback’s head and into the end zone, where it was recovered by Ethan Gallimore for a Cougar touchdown. Broc Simpson added the extra point to put Pulaski County up 7-0 with 11:25 remaining in the first quarter.

 

It never got any closer than that for the Falcons. On their first play after the next kickoff, another snap put the ball into the end zone again where quarterback Jaden Boothe was tackled for a safety. Leading 9-0 with 11:20 still showing on the clock, the Cougars pressed forward.

 

Pulaski County took the kickoff after the safety and gained the initial first down of the game before being forced to punt. The Cougar defense went into attack mode instantly. Abingdon lost four yards, gained four back, lost 10 yards and then were hit with a delay of game penalty before punting.

 

Enter the Cougar offensive attack, who moved 56 yards behind the running of Jakari Finley and Gage Mannon and effective passing by AJ McCloud to score on a one-yard run by Mannon with 4:23 remaining in the first quarter. Simpson added the PAT to make it 16-0 and the route was on.

 

Simpson added a 42-yard field goal with 8:40 remaining in the second quarter to move the score to 19-0. Corvin Carter intercepted a pass from Boothe to put Pulaski County back in business. Three plays later Keyontae Kennedy rumbled into the end zone from seven yards out for the score. Simpson’s kick made it 26-0 with 7:02 remaining in the half.

 

The Falcons attempted to regroup, but the Cougar defense kept the pressure on. With 6:08 remaining in the half, Mannon made a play on a pass from Boothe and took the interception back 43 yards for another Pulaski County score. Simpson added the PAT to make it 33-0 for the Cougars.

 

Pulaski County added a final score after a fumble by the Falcons was recovered by Chayton Rollins. A nine-yard pass to Landon McDaniel a short run by Kennedy set up a McCloud pass to Logan Burchett open in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard scoring strike. The PAT failed, leaving the Cougars up 39-0 heading into the halftime break.

 

The second half was played with a running clock due to the lopsided score, but the Cougars were still able to get some work done. Kennedy added a 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, his second of the night, and Simpson added an impressive 45-yard field goal in the fourth to bring the final score to 49-0 in favor of the Cougars.

 

“We got on top early and it got in their heads a little bit,” Coach James said. “Our guys never let up, especially on defense. This group is hungry, you can’t watch them and not see it. This was a good win for us, no question. We still made mistakes, but anytime you get a win it’s a good thing. We improved again this week, that’s the goal every week. We’ll still have a bunch of stuff to work on Monday when we get back to practice, but hats off to these kids. We need to get our offense in a better place, but we did see improvement again. We’ll get some rest this weekend and look at the film and get back to it.”

 

With the win the Cougars move to 3-0. The “Wrecking Crew” defense has allowed only six points this season, that coming on the final play against Bassett when a lineman downfield caught a batted pass in the end zone. The official final stats were not available at press time Friday night, but at halftime the Falcons had minus 60 yards of offense. After a big run play by the Falcon starters late in the game, Abingdon finished the game with -2 yards of total offense.

 

“Our team is a family,” senior linebacker Austin Gallimore said. “We get each other’s backs and we pick each other up. We’ve been playing together for a lot of years and we’re going to do everything we can for each other out there. The coaches are working on us every week to get us better. We just want to win.”

 

The Cougars will be back in action Friday, Sept. 20, when they hit the road again to visit the William Byrd Terriers. William Byrd fell to Bassett Friday by a final score of 23-12. In other games of interest Radford defeated Fort Chiswell 45-6, Blacksburg beat Amherst County 38-13, Northside defeated Hidden Valley 25-22, Patrick Henry defeated Albermarle 26-0 and Lord Botetourt beat Bluefield 20-14. Magna Vista defeated William Fleming 55-14, Christiansburg beat Patrick County 48-14, Glenvar beat Cave Spring 27-6 and Galax defeated Carroll County 49-0.

 

Game Stats

Team Stats

First Downs

PC: 13

AB: 3

 

Rushing

PC: 36 att/167 yards

AB: 33 att/-15 yards

 

Passing

PC: 6-11-2/65 yards

AB: 2-9-2/13 yards

 

Total Yards

PC: 232 yards

AB: -2 yards

 

Fumbles/Lost

PC: 0/0

AB: 6/4

 

Penalties

PC: 5/55 yards

AB: 3/25 yards

 

Return Yards

PC: 145

AB: 66

 

Punting

PC: 2/45.5 avg.

AB: 4/36.5 avg.

 

Individual Stats

Rushing

PC: Kennedy 13/107 yards, Mannon 5/25, Finley 4/17, Shay 2/21, Dalton 1/3, McCloud 9/-2, #44 Burton 2/-4

AB: Lucas 12/21 yards, Boothe 12/-87, Hounshell 5/6, Fields 3/52, Lambert 1/5

 

Passing

PC: McCloud 6-9-2/65 yards

AB: Boothe 2-9-2/13 yards

 

Receiving

PC: Finley 3/35, Burchett 2/21, McDaniel 1/9

AB: McClanahan 1/5, Carter 1/8

 

Fumble Recoveries

PC: Serber, Ethan Gallimore, Rollins

AB: Boothe, Jones

 

Scoring

1st

PC  11:25    E. Gallimore fumble recovery, Simpson PAT   7-0 PC

PC  11:20    Safety team  9-0 PC

PC  4:23      Mannon 1-yd run, Simpson PAT  16-0 PC

2nd

PC  8:40      Simpson 42-yd field goal  19-0 PC

PC  7:06      Kennedy 10-yd run, Simpson PAT  26-0 PC

PC  6:08      Mannon 40-yd int. return, Simpson PAT 33-0 PC

PC  3:53      McCloud 8-yd pass to Burchett, PAT NG 39-0 PC

3rd

PC  4:57      Kennedy 13-yd run, Simpson PAT  46-0

4th

PC  8:28      Simpson 45-yd field goal  49-0 PC

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