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Cougars end season against Blue Demons

By DAVID GRAVELY

Special to the SWT

 

The Cougar football team put up a solid effort Friday night at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium/Joel Hicks Field, but Christiansburg made just enough plays to come out with a 41-28 victory over the homestanding Cougars.

 

“I was very proud of our effort out there tonight,” Cougar Head Coach Mark Dixon said. “I thought this was our best effort in several weeks. Our kids kept fighting to the end and never threw in the towel. We made some good plays, but Christiansburg made a few more than we did. I can’t express how proud I am of these seniors though. They never let our guys pack it in and I truly appreciate their efforts.”

 

Pulaski County forced Christiansburg to punt on their first drive of the game, then put together an impressive drive that covered 94 yards in 19 time consuming plays. The score came when Chris Gallimore found John Lyman open for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Nathan Pratt hit the point after to put the Cougars up 7-0 with 28 seconds remaining in the quarter.

 

“I thought our kids showed a lot of grit in that drive,” Coach Dixon said. “I thought we were able to control the tempo of the game with a good mix of run and pass in the first half and our defense did a great job keeping the Christiansburg passing game in check.”

 

The Blue Demons, who came into the game with only one loss, found the endzone on their next drive. After taking the kickoff to the 37-yard line, the Blue Demons used 10 plays, scoring on a 14-yard run by Tanner Evans with 8:38 remaining in the half. Jonah Bremmer hit the PAT to tie the score at 7-7.

 

Both teams had trouble moving the ball, but Christiansburg was able to move deep into Cougar territory as the clock was winding down. With four seconds remaining in the first half, a 31-yard field goal by Bremmer was wide and the teams went into the halftime break.

 

The third quarter was costly for the Cougars. After taking the kickoff to the 48-yard line, Gallimore attempted to catch the Blue Demon secondary off guard and sent a pass deep across the middle. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Travis Altizer made a great play on the ball and made the interception at the Pulaski County 23.

 

“That was my call,” Dixon said. “I thought we might catch them napping, but they were ready for it. Chris tried to make the play work, but it was my call. That play changed the momentum of the game immediately.”

 

Christiansburg went on to score on that drive with a 21-yard run by Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon with 9:28 left in the third. They scored again on a 5-yard pass from Casey Graham to Drew Lloyd with5:32 remaining in the third. Bremmer hit both PAT’s to move the score to 21-7 for the Blue Demons. They added another score on a 7-yard run by Stephan Myrthil with 17 second left in the third, but the PAT failed, leaving the score at 27-7.

 

The Cougars opened the fourth quarter with a score when Gallimore hit Keyontae Kennedy on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 10:37 remaining. The PAT by Pratt moved the score to 27-14 for Christiansburg.

 

The Blue Demons tacked on an 11-yard run by Evans with 6:47 remaining to make it 34-14, but Gallimore ran in from three yards out with 4:25 remaining to answer. The PAT by Pratt moved it to 34-21 for the Blue Demons. Graham hit Jayron Thompson on a 62-yard scoring strike with 2:09 remaining. The PAT by Bremmer made it 41-21.

 

Pulaski County continued to push and refused to submit. With just nine seconds remaining in the game, Gallimore found John Lyman open for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Pratt hit the PAT to make the final score 41-28.

 

Pulaski County gained 384 yards of total offense. Gallimore completed 20 of 48 pass attempts for 253 yards with three interceptions. The Cougars ran the ball 31 times for 131 yards and gained 24 first downs.

 

Christiansburg had 420 total yards of offense, including 204 yards passing and 216 yards rushing. The Blue Demons lost one fumble and gained 18 first downs.

 

Trevor Burton led the Cougar rushing attack with 24 carries for 107 yards. Gallimore ran seven times for 24 yards.

 

Keyontae Kennedy had seven catches for 80 yards. Lyman had six catches for 76 yards. Tanner Mace caught four passes for 68 yards. Burton had three catches for 29 yards.

 

“I want to thank our seniors for their efforts and their leadership this season,” Coach Dixon said. “Things didn’t go the way we wanted, but our guys never gave up when a lot of teams would have. Obviously, the injuries this season hurt our cause. We had a ton of very young players step up and take on some challenges for us though. The game experience they had this season will make us better next year. We’ll take a few days to recover then get back into the weight room and start building muscle. Our work ethic has never been a question, we just needed a break here and there. We’ll be back.”

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