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Cougars overpower Blue Demons, move to 3-0

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

 

David Gravely/SWT – Ethan Gallimore ran 21 times for 149 yards Friday against Christiansburg.

The final score wasn’t quite as big as the previous two weeks, but the end results seemed a bit more earned Friday as the Cougar football team earned a hard-fought road win over the Christiansburg Blue Demons, 28-7.

 

“I thought we showed a little more grit out there tonight,” Cougar Head Coach Mark Dixon said after the game. “The film will show us for sure where we stand, but I thought our ground game took a little step forward tonight. We did a few more things right. We still made some mistakes, but it was good to see us ground the ball out some.”

 

The Cougars didn’t look like a ground attack team in the first half. After the defense held Christiansburg and forced a punt, senior quarterback Drew Dalton brought his team out and quickly earned a first down behind the running of sophomore Quemaar Porter. A pass from Dalton was caught and then fumbled, giving Christiansburg the ball back at their own nine-yard line.

 

The Pulaski County defense eventually forced another punt, giving the Cougars the ball back at their own 32-yard line. After a 36-yard pass from Dalton to senior Chase Dotson, Dalton connected with junior Jacob Johnson on a quick pass that went 31 yards for the score. With 2:27 remaining in the first quarter, Brock Simpson hit the PAT to give Pulaski County the 7-0 lead.

 

The Cougars missed a golden opportunity to expand the lead when Casey Graham stepped in front of a Dalton pass for a Blue Demon interception that he returned to the nine-yard line. Christiansburg took a knee to send the teams into the halftime break.

 

Pulaski County came out of the locker room with a new plan. After taking the second half kickoff to the Cougar 41-yard line, the Blue Demons got a steady diet of senior Ethan Gallimore who ran over and through the defense, earning tough yards. The Cougars capped off an 11-play drive with a six-yard scoring run by Gallimore with 7:32 remaining in the third. Simpson hit the PAT to make the score 14-0 for the Cougars.

 

Another impressive stand by the Cougar defense forced another punt. Pulaski County went right back to work. After a penalty put the Cougar offense in the hole, Dalton connected with Porter for a 31-yard pass on fourth and long, moving the ball to the Blue Demon six. Gallimore rambled into the endzone on the next play. Simpson connected for the PAT to make the score 21-0 for the Cougars.

 

Christiansburg did not simply lay down for Pulaski County. The Blue Demons put together a 13-play drive that covered 65 yards, with a Christiansburg back crossing the goal line at the 9:12 mark of the fourth quarter. The PAT made the score 21-7 Cougars.

 

Pulaski County came back out with the same ground attack, mixed with a short pass, to move 70 yards in nine plays. Dalton called his own number from one yard out with 5:02 remaining. Simpson hit the PAT to make the score 28-7 for the Cougars.

 

Christiansburg attempted to push their luck, but Gallimore made a great play for an interception, giving the Cougars the ball back at the Christiansburg 35.

 

Pulaski County had a chance to score on a 46-yard field goal with 1:41 remaining, but the ball was partially tipped. Christiansburg had one final chance, but a fumble was recovered by Chase Dotson. Pulaski County took the knee to end the game.

 

The Cougar offense didn’t put up quite as many points, but the stats were far more impressive. Pulaski County earned 23 first downs while holding Christiansburg to just seven. The Cougars ran the ball 46 times for 216 yards. Christiansburg ran 31 times for 97 yards.

 

Dalton connected on 13 of 19 pass attempts with one interception for 206 yards. Christiansburg was zero for five with one interception. The Cougars earned 422 total yards to the Blue Demons 97.

 

Pulaski County was hit with seven penalties for 70 yards. Christiansburg had four for 35 yards.

 

Gallimore led the Cougar rushing attack with 21 carries for 149 yards. Dalton ran 11 times for 40. Porter ran nine times for 17 yards. Keyonte Kennedy, with a cast on an injured hand, ran three times for 10 yards. John Lyman ran twice for 10 yards.

 

Johnson caught six passes for 87 yards. Dotson caught three for 61 yards. Porter caught one for 31 yards. Lyman caught two for 14 and Will Bishop caught one for 12 yards.

 

“It was better, but still not where we want to be,” Dixon said. “The penalties have to stop. Credit Christiansburg for a great effort. They had a great plan coming in, but when we went to a power offense our line really stepped up. Again, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a good step in the right direction. The film will be a big learning moment for us this week when they see how things could have been. I still like our effort and drive, we’ve just got to keep cleaning things up.”

 

The Cougars move to 3-0 with the win and will remain tied for first in Region 4D with Salem, who beat Patrick Henry Friday 35-17. Amherst County, which had been undefeated, lost to Heritage 27-0. Jefferson Forest and EC Glass, also in Region 4D, are currently in a holding pattern due to positive COVID-19 test results.

 

In other games, Lord Botetourt defeated William Fleming 49-6, Brookville beat Liberty 32-6, Franklin County beat William Byrd 41-26 and Radford beat James River 46-8.

 

The Cougars will return to Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium Friday to host the Blacksburg Bruins.

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