A week after Hurricane Florence disrupted high school football with postponements and a rescheduling of games, another surge rolled through Dwight Bogle Stadium Friday night.
This one was in the form of the Pulaski County Cougars.
Dominating from the outset and jumping out to a commanding 27-0 halftime lead, Pulaski made itself at home in Southwest Roanoke County on its way to the 34-0 win.
It was a tough homecoming night for the Knights, who at the midpoint of the season find themselves with the dubious distinction of winning twice by wide margins on the road while going 0-3 by equally wide setbacks at Bogle.
Cave Spring’s offense never got in sync all night against the swarming Cougar defense. After taking the opening kickoff, it was 3-and-out for the Knights. Pulaski County promptly drove to the Cave Spring one-yard line where sophomore running back Jakari Finley punched it in with 7:12 left in the opening frame for a 7-0 Cougar lead after kicker Ryan Castle added the point after.
It was 3-and-out again on the next Knight possession before Pulaski scored its second touchdown on a 10-yard scamper by junior Gage Mannon with 3:06 remaining in the first to put the Cougars up 14-0.
Although the Cave Spring defense stopped Pulaski inside the five early in the second quarter, Castle drilled a 22-yard field goal to make it 17-0, and Pulaski senior quarterback Kade Akers added a 9-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left in the second that upped the Cougar advantage to 24-0. The Knight offense again stalled, leading to Pulaski getting the ball back with 1:19 left at the Knight 48, and Castle hit his second field goal from 43-yards with :03.8 left that sent the teams to the halftime break with the Cougars comfortably ahead 27-0.
Pulaski tried to help the Cave Spring cause in the third quarter, coughing up a fumble on their first drive, then throwing a pair of interceptions later in the quarter, the first picked off by Knight junior strong safety Lucas Duncan that looked like pay dirt before Duncan stepped out of bounds at the Cougar 12. But, a costly penalty stopped the Knight offense and the second interception was again thwarted by an untimely penalty.
Pulaski followed with a touchdown run by Akers with 30 seconds left in the third quarter that decided the final 34-0 margin.
Finley led the Pulaski rushing game with over 100 yards on the ground while his Cave Spring counterpart, Zach Bowling, who entered the game with 9 touchdowns and 759 rushing yards on the season, was held to 37 yards on 12 carries by the tough Cougar defense. Cave Spring quarterback Jacob Knight was 7-for-25 through the air for 42 yards.