Warriors top Maroons in rematch, 17-7

Pulaski County’s Evan Mercer fights for additional yardage in the Maroons game against Southwestern. The Warriors scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in Friday’s Class 5 A playoff game between the two rivals, as Southwestern topped PC for the second time in three weeks with a hard-fought, 17-7 victory.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

Despite the fact Southwestern already owned a victory over its arch-rival Pulaski County — 15-7 in overtime two weeks ago — the Warriors came into Friday night’s Class 5 A playoff opener mired in a three-game losing streak to PC in the playoffs.

However, that all changed thanks to the final 12 minutes in Friday’s clash.

With the two teams knotted up at 7-7 in the fourth period, Max Brainard booted a field goal and Giddeon Brainard added the back breaker, rushing for a huge, big-time touchdown to put this one away for the Warriors, as Southwestern topped Pulaski County for the second time in two weeks with a hard-fought, 17-7 win over the Maroons.



When the two clubs met two weeks ago, the Maroons held a slim, 16-14 advantage over the Warriors all-time in this series.

After Friday night, Southwestern had knotted things up at 16-16 all-time in games between these two fierce rivals, but more importantly, Jason Foley’s club had punched its ticket to next week’s district championship game.

Tanner Wright put the Warriors on the board first in this playoff rematch, thanks to a 15-yard run straight up the gut early in the second frame.

The Warriors took that 7-0 lead into the intermission, thanks in large part to Pulaski County’s struggles on offense.

The Maroons were inside the red-zone on two occasions in the opening half of play, yet came away with ZERO points. And that would come back to haunt Johnny Hines and crew.

Missing its starting quarterback — Drew Polston — along with the top two receiving targets — Jake Sloan and Grant Oaks — the  PC offense struggled for much of the game.

Yet, the Maroons had their chances.

A Tristan Cox 3-yard run for a score late in the third period knotted this one up at 7-7 headed into the fourth period of play.



In that final frame however, thanks to a huge play on special teams, it was a 26-yard field goal from Max Brainard that put Southwestern back out in front of the Maroons at 10-7 early in the final stanza.

Later in the frame, it was Cox picking off a pass from Southwestern quarterback Blake Burton, setting up the Maroons with a first and ten at the Warrior 43-yard line.

However, PC couldn’t punch it in due to yet another missed opportunity inside the red zone.

And, it would be Giddeon Brainard who would make the Maroons pay big-time for their offensive woes.

The Southwestern running back broke through a hole and sped away from the Maroons defense for an 83-yard touchdown scamper late in the contest, that all but put this one away for the Warriors.

PC got the ball back but couldn’t move it, and the Warriors — for the second time in two weeks — had defeated Pulaski County on the Maroons home turf, this time by a final count of 17-7 with the stakes much higher.

With the loss, Pulaski County finished the 2019 season with a 7-4 record, by losing its final three games of the season.

For the Warriors, Southwestern ran its record to 6-5 on the year, and won its fourth game in a row.



Southwestern advances to the district title game with the win, and the Warriors will be on the road again next Friday night playing for a district championship against the Whitley County Colonels in Williamsburg.

Whitley County won its opening round game of the Class 5 A playoffs last night with a 21-20 victory over North Laurel.



Tates Creek foils Pulaski’s senior night 38-7

Pulaski County defensive coordinator Josh Roberts talks to his squad during the Maroons 15-7 loss to Southwestern a little over a week ago. On Friday night, the PC defense struggled for much of the evening to slow down Tates Creek’s Luke Duby. The Commodores quarterback threw for five touchdowns and for over 500 yards, foiling Pulaski County’s senior night by a 38-7 score.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

Earlier last week, Pulaski County head coach Johnny Hines learned that his sensational sophomore quarterback — Drew Polston — had been lost for the season with a shoulder injury suffered in a 15-7 loss to Southwestern.

Compounding matters for Hines and the Maroons, several other key Pulaski County players were going to have to be held out of the regular season finale against Tates Creek to nurse some injuries and try to get healthy before the playoffs began. Not exactly the perfect Senior Night situation.

And, visiting Tates Creek rolled into PC Field on Friday night and took full advantage of both of those scenarios.



Luke Duby — the Commodores outstanding quarterback headed to Cornell University next season to continue his football career — simply torched the PC defense on Friday night from the opening kick until the final horn.

Duby threw five touchdowns against the Maroons, completing 27-40 pass attempts for 537 yards, sending PC down to a second consecutive defeat to end the season, with an impressive, 38-7 victory over the Maroons.

And, Duby made it look very easy.

The Tates Creek senior threw a pair of TD passes in the opening half of play to Elliot Bryant — 14 and 8 yards respectively — and the back breaker for PC was an 87-yard scoring toss late in the first half to his go-to guy, Miles Thomas.

Osvaldo Vasquez added a 27-yard field goal late in the first half, and PC was in big-time trouble at the intermission, trailing the Commodores 24-0 on Senior Night.

Offensively, with guys like Grant Oaks and Jake Sloan out, not to mention the absence of Polston, the PC offense found the going very tough early on and for much of the contest.

With Kaleb Adams at the helm of the Maroons offense, PC struggled to move the football, gaining only 78 yards of total offense in the opening half of play.

In the second half, things didn’t get any better for Hines and crew.



Duby threw two more TD passes — a 70-yard strike to running back Matthew Underwood out of the backfield, and another score to Thomas — this time going for 62 yards.

That gave Tates Creek a commanding, 38-0 lead at that juncture and a running clock, as Pulaski County was heading to loss number two in a row at the end of the 2019 high school football season.

The Maroons were able to avoid the shutout, thanks to a 6-yard TD pass from Adams to running back Tristan Cox, with 8:50 remaining in the game, but by that time, this issue had long since been settled.

For the contest, the Commodores rolled up 596 yards of total offense on 61 plays, while PC gained only 132 yards of total offense for the game on 45 offensive snaps.

With the loss, Pulaski County ended the 2019 regular season with a 7-3 record, but the Maroons will limp into the post season mired in a two-game losing streak.

And, it certainly won’t get any easier for Hines and company in round one of the Class 5 A playoffs this coming week.

In a rematch of the game that Polston was lost for the season with that shoulder injury, arch-rival Southwestern will roll into PC Field on Friday night for a big-time, first round post-season matchup between the county rivals.

The Warriors won the first meeting against Pulaski County two weeks ago in a thriller, defeating the Maroons and snapping PC’s seven-game winning streak with a 15-7 win in overtime.



With that win, the all-time series between these two now stands at 16-15 in favor of the Maroons.

Kickoff for Friday’s game is set to get underway from PC Field beginning at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the game, you can tune in to LAKE 102.3 FM on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. with the pregame show, as yours truly and Adam Bray will bring you all of the exciting action on the Don Franklin Family of Dealerships Game of the Week.



Warriors pull off upset, take down PC 15-7 in overtime

Southwestern head coach Jason Foley sends in a play to Xavier Streeter during a game earlier this season. On Friday night, Streeter hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Burton. The Warriors upset arch-rival Pulaski County last Friday, defeating the Maroons 15-7 in overtime.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

It’s been called one of the most — if not the best — high school football rivalries in the state of Kentucky, and that was never more apparent than last Friday night.

Southwestern and Pulaski County added another historic chapter in this most compelling rivalry in a game that was an instant classic.

This one had a little bit of everything, but when the dust had settled, it was Jason Foley’s Southwestern team upending and upsetting homestanding Pulaski County by a final count of 15-7 in overtime.



This one turned out to be a defensive struggle, with both teams having their fair share of difficulties inside the red zone.

Southwestern drew first blood in this one, thanks to a 34-yard TD pass from quarterback Blake Burton to senior wide receiver Xavier Streeter on the first drive of the football game.

Devin Tolson would help PC fight back, scoring on a 5-yard run late in the first period tying this one up at 7-7, and that would be it for scoring in this one until overtime.

In that extra session, Tanner Wright’s 1-yard run on fourth and goal gave the Warriors a 13-7 lead, and Giddeon Brainard followed that up with a two-point conversion run for a 15-7 lead.

At that point, the Warrior ‘D’ stepped up, holding PC on downs on a fourth and goal pass from Kaleb Adams intended for Jake Sloan that fell to the ground.

At that point, a wild celebration ensued for a Southwestern team that improved to 4-5 on the year with the win, while PC had its seven-game winning streak snapped, as the Maroons fell to 7-2 on the year with the gut-wrenching defeat.

PC quarterback Drew Polston was knocked out of the contest late in the first half, but he completed 6-9 passes through the air for 74 yards before leaving the contest.

Adams led PC with 32 yards rushing on six attempts, while Grant Oaks — who also left the game with an injury — led the Maroons with 3 catches for 46 yards.



Meanwhile, the Warriors were led on the ground by Wright, who rushed for a game-high 96 yards on 13 carries and a TD, which turned out to be the game winner.

Burton meanwhile connected on 10-16 pass attempts through the air for 109 yards and a TD pass.

With the win, Southwestern closed the gap with Pulaski County in the all-time series, with the Maroons still holding a slim, 16-15 advantage over the Warriors in 31 games between the two.

The Warriors will close out the regular season on Friday night at home against Madison Central, while the Maroons will host Tates Creek in their regular season finale.

Both games are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the PC–Tates creek game, tune in to LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly and Adam Bray will have the call, beginning with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m.



Warriors, Maroons renew a great rivalry

Southwestern running back Chase Doan leads the Warriors with 634 yards rushing and seven TD’s this season. He is seen here running for a big gain in a game against South Laurel last week. On Friday night, Doan and the Warriors will face arch-rival Pulaski County — 7-1 on the season — on the Maroons home turf.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

One of the best rivalries in the state of Kentucky in high school football renews on Friday night at PC Field, as the homestanding 7-1 Pulaski County Maroons will square off against arch-rival Southwestern.

The Warriors are 3-5 on the season, but are coming into tomorrow night’s contest with some much-needed momentum, coming off of last week’s 38-20 win over South Laurel.

This has been a great rivalry throughout the years, as PC has won 9 of the last 13 meetings, including last season’s win at Southwestern, and the regional title game at Pulaski County.



Thanks to those two wins by the Maroons last year, Pulaski County leads the all-time series over Southwestern by a 16-14 margin heading into this week’s game.

Warrior head coach Jason Foley — his first year as a head coach in this rivalry — says he knows ahead of time just how big a challenge Friday night’s game with Pulaski County is going to be for his team.

“Pulaski County has a very solid veteran and senior laden team,” stated Foley.

“They have had a good year up to this point, and they have won some tight games,” added the Warrior head coach. “Defensively, they are strong in the box with their ‘D’ line and linebackers leading the way. Offensively, their passing game is strong, with long, tall receivers that can make plays vertically and across the middle of the field as well.”

The Maroons have had the best in this series of late over Southwestern, knocking off the Warriors in regional championship games in 2014, 2016, and again last season in 2018.

In 2014, Southwestern defeated Pulaski County in the regular season, but the Maroons avenged that loss five weeks later in the regional title game on their way to a Class 5 A State Football Championship.

PC head coach Johnny Hines is 13-11 all-time as the Maroons head coach in this series, and he says when these two get together, one thing is for certain — throw the records out the proverbial window.

“Alabama and Auburn have ‘The Iron Bowl’, Michigan has Ohio State, USC has Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas have ‘The Red River War’, and the ‘Sunshine State’ has Florida verses Florida State,” pointed out coach Hines. “This game is all of that and more in south central Kentucky.”



“This game is always the game of the year,” Hines continued. “Southwestern is an immensely talented team, and they always are. The have great players and they will come over here on Friday night planning on winning this game. This is one of the greatest high school football rivalries around, and it’s been great to have been part of it for the past 25 years.”

Kickoff for the Pulaski County — Southwestern football game is slated to get underway from PC Field on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the game, yours truly and Adam Bray will have all of the coverage on LAKE 102.3 FM, with our pregame coverage getting underway at 7:15 p.m.



Pulaski County wins number five in a row at Whitley

By DOUG EADS

The Pulaski County Maroons survived inclement weather, lightning delays, and a late Friday night of football last week.

More importantly however, Johnny Hines’ club survived a district opener on the road at Whitley County, running  the Maroons winning streak to five games in a row.

Thanks to heroics from several players, PC survived against the Colonels, winning on the road by a final count of 21-18, improving to 5-1 on the season and winning for the fifth consecutive week.



Quarterback Drew Polston was a catalyst for PC, throwing for 207 yards and a TD, by completing 25-34 pass attempts.

Tristan Cox scored a pair of touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving — while gaining 43 yards on nine carries.

Kaleb Adams scored on a rushing TD, while Jake Sloan continued his remarkable run in 2019 in receiving.

The senior wide receiver and EKU commit — who just last week became the number two all-time leading receiver in Kentucky high school football history — had another huge game with 12 receptions for 113 yards against the Colonels.

Defensively, Konner Hargis tallied 14 tackles while Cox had 13, helping PC sneak out of Williamsburg for a very hard-fought win over a Whitley County program that PC defeated in round one of the 2018 Class 5 A playoffs by a final score of 61-0.

With the win, Pulaski County went to 1-0 in district play, and will return home this Friday night for another huge district tilt against South Laurel.

That game will get underway from PC Field against the Cardinals beginning at 7:30 p.m.



Maroons roll over Eagles; Sloan moves to second all-time in receptions

Pulaski County head football coach Johnny Hines and the Maroons won their fourth straight game last Friday night, with an impressive 56-34 win over the Madison Southern Eagles.
Photo by Melanie Hines

By DOUG EADS

The Pulaski County Maroons are simply in a word — ROLLING.

Last Friday night, the Maroons improved to 4-1 on the season by winning their fourth straight game with an impressive, 56-34 beatdown over visiting Madison Southern.

And, it was a total team effort for PC, with several players having big nights for the Maroons.



No one had a bigger night than senior wide receiver Jake Sloan, who continued climbing up the ladder in receiving in Kentucky history.

With his seventh catch of the game against the Eagles, Sloan surpassed former Louisville Trinity star James Quick as the second all-time leading receiver in the history of Kentucky high school football with his 281st catch of his outstanding prep career.

Sloan only trails former Pulaski County receiver Jake Johnson, who is Kentucky’s all-time leader in career receptions.

For the game, Sloan hauled in nine catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns, as the PC offense simply ran roughshod over an out-manned Madison Southern team.

Freshman Donovan Abbott led the Maroons with 51 yards on the ground on seven attempts, scoring a TD, while Tristan Cox ran for two more scores for Pulaski County.

Quarterback Drew Polston had a career night, enjoying the biggest night of his career up to date through the air.

The sophomore quarterback connected on 31-39 pass attempts for 407 yards and five TD’s, helping Pulaski County roll up 545 yards of total offense for the game.

Defensively, senior linebacker Konner Hargis continues his ascension up the all-time tackles list in PC history.



Hargis led the Maroons in the win with 14 tackles, recording one sack and one tackle for loss.

The Maroons are rolling with a four-game winning streak currently, and that streak will get a stern test this Friday, as Hines and crew will begin district play on the road at Whitley County.

The Colonels are itching for another shot at PC, as these two teams met last season at PC Field in the opening round of the playoffs, with the Maroons taking Whitley County out behind the woodshed in a 61-0 Pulaski County victory.

Kickoff for this Friday night’s game is slated to get underway at 7:30 p.m.



CC’s Furniture makes donation to PC football

Brad Carroll — second row middle — presented head coach Johnny Hines and athletic director Brian Miller as well as the Pulaski County football team a check on Friday morning for $750. The proceeds for the check came from a sale the Somerset furniture store had back in August. CC’s Furniture donated $750 to all three high school football programs from this huge event.
Photo by David Rogers