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Cougars blast Bruins, win 49-7

David Gravely/SWT – The Cougar defense swarmed the Bruins all night Friday in their 49-7 win.





The final score was 49-7 in favor of the Pulaski County Cougars, but it could have been much worse. Cougar Head Coach Mark Dixon did the honorable thing and worked his backups for the entirety of the second half.


“Hey, we’ve been on the other end of that before and I’ve always told our guys that we’re going to win together and we’re going to lose together,” Coach Dixon said after the game. “There’s also winning with class and losing with class. Blacksburg is a young team this year. They’ve got some talented athletes but they’re in a rebuilding phase, pretty much just like we are. We’re always happy to get a win, but I told our guys at the half that we’re going to win the right way.”


The Cougars came out of the gates hot and never cooled down in the first half. After forcing a Blacksburg punt, running back Trevor Burton took a handoff from quarterback Chris Gallimore and raced 20 yards for the score with 7:39 left in the first quarter. Nathan Pratt hit the point after to give the Cougars the early 7-0 lead.


Things escalated quickly. With 5:45 remaining in the first, Gallimore found John Lyman open for a 68-yard scoring pass. Pratt hit the PAT and the score moved to 14-0.


The Cougar defense continued to swarm the young Blacksburg offense, pushing them back and forcing another punt. With 1:26 remaining in the first, Gallimore found Lyman open again, this time for a 57-yard strike. The PAT by Pratt made it 21-0 in the blink of an eye.


The Cougar defense again refused to give up any yardage to the Bruins, forcing another punt. A quick drive moved the ball into scoring range. It seemed as though the Cougars had scored on a run, but a flag negated the play. Two plays later, Lyman checked off his third score of the night, this time on a 6-yard run with 8:49 remaining in the first half. Pratt hit the PAT to make it 28-0 for the Cougars.


Burton played defense as well, recovering a fumble forced by Keyontae Kennedy to put the Cougars back in business. On third and goal from the one, Gallimore called his own number and pushed into the endzone with 6:00 remaining in the half. Pratt’s PAT moved the score to 35-0 for the Cougars.


Not to be left out of the scorefest, Kenyontae Kennedy ran the ball in from 15 yards out with 4:02 remaining in the half. Pratt was good for his sixth PAT of the night, making it 42-0.


Blacksburg started to move the ball downfield thanks to a few Cougar penalties, but Lyman wouldn’t have any of it. With 2:21 remaining in the half, the speedy Cougar intercepted a Parker Epperly pass and raced 61 yards down the Cougar sideline for the score, his fourth of the game. Pratt topped off the half with the point after and the Cougars went to the locker room up 49-0.


“After last week, it was good to see our guys come out with some fire,” Coach Dixon said. “Sometimes when you get hit like we did last week you see players mentally pack it up. Our kids came back out and played hard this week. I’m proud of that and I’m was glad to so many of our younger guys get a chance to go out there and get some minutes tonight.”


With the start of the second half, freshman Johnny Anderson took over the quarterback duties from Gallimore. Anderson is a solid athlete who has done well at the junior varsity level leading the way. With mostly junior varsity players and backups in for the second half, Anderson led the Cougars down the field several times to within scoring range, but Dixon attempted a field goal on first and goal from very short range on one trip to the redzone and took a knee to end the game on the other.


Blacksburg was able to cross the goal line late in the game when Epperly completed a pass to Eric Metrey for a 13-yard score. Lucas Turman hit the PAT to put the final score at 49-7 for the Cougars.


Pulaski County finished the game with 482 total yards on 42 plays. Cougar quarterbacks completed 7 of 9 pass attempts for 198 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, the Cougars ran 33 times for 284 yards. The Cougars earned 22 first downs in the contest.


Blacksburg finished the night with 127 yards of total offense, but most of that came in the final drive against Cougar backups. At one point late in the fourth, the Bruins had only 25 total yards of offense. The Bruins completed 6 of 17 pass attempts for 42 yards with an interception. They ran the ball 27 times for 85 yards and earned 9 first downs.


Gallimore completed 6 of 7 pass attempts for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Anderson completed 1 of 2 passes for 18 yards. Kennedy ran 6 times for 93 yards and a score. Burton had 7 carries for 82 yards and a score. Trevor Gallimore ran 12 times for 77 yards in the second half. Anderson had one run for 16 yards. Lyman had 2 carries for 15 yards and a score. Gallimore ran twice for one yard and a score.


Lyman caught 6 passes for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tanner Mace caught 1 pass for 18 yards.


The big story defensively was the return of junior Evan Alger, who recorded 7 solo tackles and 1 assist, including 3 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss. Brett Jones had 6.5 tackles, including 4 solo and 5 assists. Alan Fernandez recorded 4 tackles, including 1 for a loss. Diego Turner had 3.5 tackles in a game where the Bruins attempted to run away from his side most of the time. Burton had 3 tackles and Jack Johnson had 2 tackles. Kennedy, Zach Parker, Lyman, Nicholas Woolwine, Caleb Yelton, Trevor Gallimore, Braylon Foster and Felipe Aguilar also all recorded tackles in the win.


“I’m proud of our guys for bouncing back and getting the win, but we know we have a long way to go to get where we want to be,” Coach Dixon said. “We’ll enjoy this win for the night, but things will get a lot tougher for the rest of the season.”


Pulaski County will host Graham next week at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium. Kickoff Friday is set for 7 p.m. with the dedication of the Dan Callahan Press Box before the game.



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