By Dan Callahan
Bassett– Pulaski County’s football team continued to put up huge numbers Friday night in Bassett, winning 69-27! The lopsided victory pushed the Cougars to 4-0 on the season, and dropped the Bengals to 0-3. Last week at Franklin County Hunter Thomas set the single game rushing record with 305 yards, and against Bassett the Cougars totaled 574 yards of total offense in establishing another single game record. Both the team record and Thomas’ surpassed the numbers of the 2002 Cougar team vs. William Byrd.
The contributions came from numerous players this night as Thomas continued his torrid pace with 216 yards rushing on only 14 carries and he scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Bryant Grubb rushed for 96 yards on only nine carries and also connected on five of nine passes for 145 yards, and Grubb ran for three touchdowns. Jamall Edmonds also had a three touchdown night and ran for 47 yards on eight tries. The other touchdown came on a six yard run by Devon Hunter.
There were numerous other big plays in the game. Dontay Brown had a 63-yard kickoff return, caught two passes for 49 yards, and intercepted a pass on defense. Tight end Jeff McDonald had two pass receptions for 96 yards. Grubb also completed a two-point conversion pass to Jaceri Eaves. Kellen Dalton had two pass interceptions in the second half.
The Cougar defense did allow a few big plays in the game, missed some tackles on the perimeter, and a fumble resulted in a gift touchdown for the Bengals. Dylan McKinney completed 18 of 34 passes for 252 against the Cougar defense. Justin Taylor caught nine passes for Bassett for 169 yards, three going for touchdowns. Bassett totaled 282 yards of offense, and scored more points than Pulaski Co. had allowed combined in its first three games, and the Cougars allowed 216 kick return yards in the game. However, a very important stat is the Cougar defense allowed only 30 rushing yards, the applied good pressure on numerous occasions. McDonald, Zach Dones, Drew Allen, and Edmonds had quarterback sacks.
“We missed some things, like tackles at times,” said Cougar head coach Stephen James. “Against a team like Bassett with speed and skill receivers, you can’t miss or it ends up big, but we made some plays too. They couldn’t run on us, but sometimes you have to credit them. There were a few big plays for Bassett when our kids were in position, but they made the play. That’s the game. But we shut them out in the second half, and overall, except for continuing to work in some areas, we did pretty good.”
Certainly the Cougar offense did. “I thought our offensive line did a good job and controlled the line of scrimmage. They crowded us and we ran it anyway. That’s a good sign. Bryant Grubb also had a really solid game for us as a runner, passer, and making good decisions as a quarterback. There were too many busted assignments, and it cost us a touchdown on the fumble play, but Dontay Brown made some things happen and the two big passes down the middle to McDonald were big for us. Overall, we have to be pleased, but we also need realize that we must continue to get better,” added James.
Pulaski County is off next week, and James feels like it’s good timing. “We’ve had two straight weeks of long trips. We’ve played in the heat. We’ve been going hard without a break for the past eight weeks, so I think the open date is good for us. We’ll let the kids have a couple extra days of rest, and I’m sure some sore spots will feel better in a few days. Just a bit of rest if good for the kids, and the coaching staff too, so we’re looking forward to the open date, but we will begin to get ready for Patrick Henry. That’s a big game for us,” said James.
Thomas scored on runs of 30, 27, and six yards. Grubb scored on runs of two, 15, and 10 yards. Edmonds scored on runs of three, three, and 15 yards. Ryan Castle was good on seven of nine extra point kicks. and McDonald blocked a Bassett extra point attempt.