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Schedule changes and catching up

If you listen very closely, you can hear it.


Tick tock. Tick tock.


The clock is ticking closer by the moment to the first game of the 2020 COVID edition of Cougar football. As with most things in the COVID era, things are constantly changing. You roll with it, do the best you can and try not to make things tougher on the next person.


Unless, that is, you are the Roanoke County School Board. This group voted Thursday to only allow their county high school and middle school teams to play team from within their own county. What does that mean to Pulaski County? It means a change of the schedule, again, for PCHS AD Scott Vest.

Oddly, that same group was more than happy to allow their county sports teams to enter the region playoffs this past week. Hidden Valley and Cave Spring were both in action against … gasp, you guessed it … teams from outside their own county. It’s a very convenient thing when you can let your teams play what amounts to a rec league regular season schedule with little or no travel, then just hop right on over to the playoffs.


Obviously the playoffs render COVID-19 weak and nonthreatening, right?


What it does, unfortunately, is create scheduling issues for the remainder of the teams that have a history of athletic scheduling. The Cougars have played Cave Spring 44 times throughout the years. Hidden Valley, despite being a relatively young team compared to the rest of the River Ridge District, has played against Pulaski County 17 times. Northside and William Byrd also have long histories with Pulaski County. Northside maybe more than any other school shares a historic tie to Pulaski County as former Viking Head Coach Jim Hickam came from Pulaski Middle School when Dublin and Pulaski consolidated to form PCHS.


But despite all the history and the facts that prove that sports and recreation are not super spreader events when handled properly, Pulaski County will not venture into Roanoke County this season.


Instead, the Cougars will open with a road trip to Patrick Henry on Monday, Feb. 22. That same week on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Cougars will host Franklin County in the home opener. Week three will find the Cougars in Montgomery County facing the Christiansburg Blue Demons on Friday, March 5. Friday, March 12, the Cougars will host the Blacksburg Bruins. Friday, March 26, the Cougars will get a rare double dose of Patrick Henry when the Patriots visit the Cougar Den. Finally, the Cougars will travel to Salem Friday, April 2, to take on the Spartans.


The region tournament will begin Friday, April 9 with the top four teams making it in. The next week will be the region championship game. The state playoffs will feature the top four teams in Region 4D starting Saturday, April 24. The big dance will be Saturday, May 1.


COVID-19 has not stopped us. Our school system has done everything possible to get our students and athletes back to the classroom, courts and field. I have no doubt they will continue to do that.


The table is set for new Head Coach Mark Dixon and his Cougars. Who gets to start, who gets to play and who stands out is all still to be seen. Judging by what I saw in practice, this team will be ready.


Keep watching Cougar fans. There is sure to be more change. Pulaski County will stand tall through it all.



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