Pulaski runs past Carroll

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A late scoring binge in the first half had the Cavs down 36-0 in a 53-14 setback.

By Ethan Campbell

DUBLIN –– Carroll County had to shake off a loss, but take home the lessons learned after falling short of a comeback following a blowout into the second half in a 53-14 nondistrict loss to Pulaski County last Wednesday night.


Due to impending weather conditions, the teams decided to hold the game on a Wednesday night, cutting the practice schedules for both teams short by two days. Back in his hometown stadium, Carroll coach Jack Turner brought the team out hoping to leave with bragging rights, but unfortunately the Cavs couldn’t quite get edge over the Cougars.

Following the first kickoff received by Pulaski, the game started out looking good with a quick turnover on downs to Carroll County. Several power runs by Cassell McMillian and Jacob Motley brought the Cavs downfield, but CCHS was forced to punt, giving the ball back to the Cougars on their own 37-yard line. A completed pass to E.J. Horton gained Pulaski a first down, and two quick sneaks by quarterback Kade Akers brought the Cougars into scoring range with a first down and 10 to go for the touchdown. The Cougars wasted no time with the scoring opportunity, handing the ball off to Gage Mannon for a 10-yard run into the end zone with 34.2 second left in the first quarter. The PAT was good giving the Cougars a lead of 7-0. Carroll was forced to take the ball on the 20 going into the 2nd quarter following a touchback on kickoff.

The Cougars defense made quick work of the next four downs, forcing the Cavs to punt, and again capitalizing on an advantageous situation as Carroll County sent a high snap straight back over the punter’s head for a safety.

With a score of 9-0, Cougars, and 10:44 left in the second quarter, Pulaski County turned on the engines, unleashing a series of relentless drives and leaving the Carroll County defense in the dust through the remainder of the first half. A short kickoff was recovered by Pulaski on the Cavs’ 25-yard line, and on third down a short pass to Horton picked up the remaining 12 yards for a Cougar’s touchdown and a 15-0 lead with 8:43 seconds left on the clock.

The Cavs again were forced to punt after being shut down by the Cougar defense, and the morale was carried over to the Pulaski offense with a 25-yard touchdown run by Jakari Finley at 3:33 to set the scoreboard to 22-0 Cougars. There was no doubt that Pulaski County had a plan of action when looking at the next two touchdowns, which were both a result of recovered fumbles and both completed passes to wide receiver Horton.

Horton finished out the second quarter gaining 49 receiving yards for two touchdowns, taking the game to a 36-0 blowout in Pulaski’s favor as both teams went to the drawing board for halftime.

“Men, we are going to have to protect the football if you want to stay in this game!”, exclaimed Turner during the halftime huddle. “Defensive corners and safeties, remember your wide coverage; secondary and linebackers, nothing gets through! Remember to make good solid hits! O-line, we need to call some passes to put some points on the board but I can’t call em unless y’all are going to protect the football!” finished Turner, furiously scribbling plays.

Turner’s demeanor lit a fire under the Cavs upon returning to the field for the second half. Pulaski managed a field goal on its first drive but on the following drive for Carroll County, Dylan Rodrigue caused an upset in Joel Hicks stadium with a 49 run touchdown, and an extra point by Lopez, putting the first set of points on the board for the Cavs with 1:38 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The return drive for the Cougars was stopped within four downs, and the Cavaliers followed again with an unexpected 72 yard run by McMillian, running out the clock for the end of the third. The extra point was again good by Lopez taking the game into the fourth quarter with a score of 39-14, Cougars.

Seeing the Cavs adjustments, the Cougars made some adjustments of their own to finish out the game with two more touchdown runs, by Mannon and Kennedy. The Cavs were unable to put anymore points on the board during the fourth, for a final game score of 53-14 Cougars.

“When you are building a program, and starting from ground zero like we are, and you;re playing great teams, I mean my gosh we have went Grayson, Galax, Pulaski, and now next Glenvar, I mean my gosh who’s playing that four-game stretch right there?” Turner said “Ain’t nobody in the state. It is just a gauntlet and then when you got young kids and you’re trying to teach them football and the toughness of football, it’s tough right now. We’re going through tough times and playing against good football teams. Pulaski’s a good football team...But we’re going to be alright. We’ve just got to keep fighting. To come back out in the second half and not give up, that’s what I’m proud of.”

“Defensively we weren’t lined up where we needed to be. We had some lack of prep time, and I understand that, but its no excuse for them is tackles and other things. That had a lot do with it, the fumbles, and those things right there. It’s slowly turning around. Give me a year and I’ll have Carroll County winning football games.” he continued.

Turner was a player, assistant coach and then head coach at Pulaski County and reflected on his return there.

“You know, I’d be remiss to say that it wasn’t some thoughts to me. Of course I lost a lot of blood on this field as a player, and I still live here. My daughter is a cheerleader here for the team, and a lot of these guys coaching for coach [Steven] James coached with me and played for me, so I’d be remiss to say it wasn’t a little sentimental. You know when I walked down here, it hit me a little more than I thought it would to be honest with you. You know, I didn’t think it would hit me like this but it did. A lot of great memories here as a player and as a coach. I ain’t gonna lie to you, I’d like to say that I had no feelings, but once I got here I did.”

Carroll rushed for 239 yards with Rodrigue carrying 19 times for 149 yards. McMillian added 14 rushes and 80 yards. Carroll’s next game is against Glenvar on Friday at CCHS. Kickoff is set at 7 p.m.


Carroll County.......0 0 14 0––14

Pulaski County......7 29 3 14––53

First quarter

PC–Mannon 10 run (Castle kick)

Second quarter

PC–Safety, ball snapped through end zone

PC–Horton 12 pass from Akers (kick failed)

PC–Finley 25 run (Castle kick)

PC–Horton 26 pass from Akers (Castle kick)

PC–Horton 23 pass from Akers (Castle kick)

Third quarter

PC–Castle 36 FG

CC–Rodrigue 49 run (Lopez kick)

CC–McMillian 72 run (Lopez kick(

Fourth quarter

PC–Mannon 15 run (Castle kick)

PC–Kennedy 1 run (Simpson kick)


                                 CC     PC

First downs                 10     15

Rushes-yards       39-238     35-223

Passing yards              0     142

Comp-att-int         0-3-2     9-14-0

Fumbles-lost            2-2     0-0

Penalties-yards      4-30     12-130



Rushing –– Carroll County, Rodrigue 19-149, McMillian 14-80, Davidson 2-21, Motley 1-2, Horton 2(-2), team 1-(-12). Pulaski County, Finley 13-91, Mannon 7-49, Kennedy 7-44, Akers 6-30, Russell 1-8, Dalton 1-1.

Passing –– Carroll County, Motley 0-3-2-0. Pulaski County, Akers 6-9-0-87, McCloud 3-5-0-55.

Receiving –– Carroll County none. Pulaski County, Horton 6-87, O’Dell 2-31, Burchett 1-23