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Cougars set to host Blue Demons




This is it. The final game of the regular season is here. For Pulaski County, a loss means the season is over. A win, however, could mean at least one more game as the math could add up to just enough to earn the Cougars a playoff spot.


No matter what happens, this will be the last time the seniors walk down those 63 steps. John Lyman, JJ Gulley, Keyontae Kennedy, Caleb Yelton, Jack Johnson, Tyler Sutherland, Filipe Aguilar and DeMarcus Hayden have made their mark on the program, but would love the chance to suit up just one more time.


“Our kids have given it their best effort all season,” Cougar Head Coach Mark Dixon said. “It’s discouraging, no question, but no one can question the effort they’ve put out. Our program is moving in the right direction in a lot of areas, we just need to keep pushing forward. We’re going to get there.”


The Cougars will host the Christiansburg Blue Demons Friday night. The Cougars lead the series with Christiansburg 15-7, including wins in the last six matchups. Last season the Cougars won 28-7 on the road.


This is a different squad of Blue Demons this season, however, as they have made their fifth season under Head Coach Alex Wilkens one to remember. They are currently 8-1 on the season with several big wins. Their only loss came in a 24-7 decision against Salem on the road.


Coach Wilkins had a rough start to his time at Christiansburg. The Blue Demons lost every game in his first season. They won twice in season two and earned five wins in his third year. During the spring COVID-19 season, the Blue Demons 3-4, but their losses were to very good squads. They fell to Salem, Pulaski County and Patrick Henry during the regular season, then were blown out by a tremendous Lord Botetourt squad in the first round of the playoffs.


The Blue Demons have shown plenty of offensive potential this year. They put up 33 against Floyd County, 32 against Abingdon, 63 against Radford, 49 against Blacksburg and 61 against Hidden Valley. They also put up 37 points in each of their games against Patrick Henry and Cave Spring.


Defensively, the Blue Demons have shown a few ups and downs. They shut out Floyd County, Radford and Blacksburg. They allowed 14 points each in their games with Patrick Henry and Cave Spring. Central-Wise and Hidden Valley scored 20 each. Salem scored 24 points. Abingdon was allowed to score 27.


“They have some really good athletes and they play well together,” Coach Dixon said. “They have a solid offense and the defense doesn’t like to give up much. They move well and get to the ball quickly. Coach Wilkins is doing a great job with that program.”


For the Cougars, all that matters at this moment is Friday. The seniors must walk down those steps and help lead their younger teammates to a win if they want to play again.  Those younger teammates, the Cougars that will take the program to the next level in the coming years, will need to put out their very best effort Friday as well.


“We’re going to need a full team effort,” Coach Dixon said. “We started the season with a relatively young squad. Injuries made our starting lineup younger and not as deep. We play with what we’ve got and we’ll always give it our best shot. These guys have been through a lot this season and I appreciate their efforts. We just need a breakthrough moment for some of these younger players. When that happens, we’ll see something really good. I believe in our guys.”


Game time Friday is set for 7 p.m. at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium/Joel Hicks Field. If you can’t get out to the stadium, tune in to 107.1 WPSK starting at 6:30 p.m. when Rick Watson and Shay Dunnigan open with the pregame show.


Friday is also Senior Night and Veteran Appreciation Night. The seniors will be recognized before kickoff with the parents. The Pulaski County High School Advanced Concert Choir will present a medley of patriotic songs to honor those Veterans in attendance and they will also perform the National Anthem.



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