GOTW Preview: Cougars face Terriers in Region 3D rumble

VINTON, Va. – Week 12 of 1st and 10 and it’s playoff time! Interesting River Ridge versus Blue Ridge matchup between two teams that are on the rise.

“We’re going to have to find a way to establish our run game and move the ball on these guys,” said Pulaski County Head Coach Cam Akers. “They have a great D-Line.”

“Pulaski is probably one of the more physical teams that we’ve seen not only on our schedule, but that we’ve seen on tape,” William Byrd Head Coach Brad Lutz. “They’re a great football team.”

Two programs that respect each other and that have found their way. Pulaski, in its second season under Cam Akers—more relaxed and seeing results in an option offense.

“We started this offense when Coach Akers got here and I think us just building up to it and running it for so long this year is why we’re a little bit more better with it,” said Jack Allen, Cougars DE/T.

“We can milk the clock really well and control the game and be able to just wear down the defense,” said Tyler Underwood, Cougars LB/A-Back.

But William Byrd can do the same with reigning 1st and 10 Player of the Week Israel Hairston at quarterback...having picked apart defenses all season—along with a number of skill players.

“Teamwork is our best attribute and keeping each other close-knit and keeping each other in good spirits and helping each other keep the next play mentality is what keeps us going,” said Israel Hairston, Terriers QB/DB.

“We remember our past,” said John Kiker, Terriers LB. “We went 0-9, 0-3, 3-7 man we struggled. But we want it bad enough so we’re just going to fight like dogs every game.”

Get score updates and see highlights on 1st and 10.

About the Authors

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.

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