By Denis House/ The Endzone Staff
SOUTH LAUREL — If you looked at the final score of Friday night's game between Pulaski County and South Laurel, you might think it was another easy win for the Maroons with a final score of 39-0.
It was anything but easy, especially the first half, where the high-powered offense of Pulaski County had trouble getting started, leading by only 13-0 at the half.
“I don't think the final score reflects the way we played,” South Laurel coach Matt Rhymer said. “I'm very proud of our defense. They forced three turnovers, we played out assignments better and we tackled better.”
Pulaski County (9-0, 4-0) fumbled the ball away on its first two possessions of the game, both by wide receiver George Gregory. The first was recovered by Brooks Sutton, while the second by Jarod Grubb. Unfortunately for South Laurel (2-6, 0-4) while they were able to move the ball after both fumbles, they couldn't turn the Maroons miscues into points.
On the second turnover, the Cards were able to drive the ball down to the 26, thanks in part to a pass interference call on the Maroons. But quarterback Jonathan Jenkins was picked off in the end zone by Jacob Denny to stifle the second drive. The first quarter ended scoreless.
The Maroons' offense finally got on track in the second quarter, thanks to a 38-yard touchdown run by Aaron Smith with 8:44 left. The point after failed, but Pulaski had broken the scoreless deadlock and led, 6-0.
“That first touchdown knocked the wind out of us,” Rhymer said. “We can't give up big plays like that.”
The second score came with 4:23 left in the half when Jessie Whitaker raced in from seven-yards out. This time the point after by Derek Burgett was good giving Pulaski a 13-0 lead. That's how the first half ended.
“I'm not a should've, could've, would've type of person but it should have been 13-7 at the half,” Rhymer said. “With that score who knows what would have happened.”
While the Cardinals did play well in the first half, you had the feeling that it was only a matter of time before the Maroons broke things open. They did just that on their first possession of the third quarter when Caleb Cox raced 68 yards for the score to give his team a little breathing room at 19-0.
Following a blocked South Laurel punt, the Maroons would score again, this time when quarterback Riley Hall found Gregory for an 8-yard score with 4:10 left in the third. The lead had now grown to 25-0.
Pulaski would score again on its next possession when Hall hooked up with Travis Bechard for a six-yard score and a 32-0 lead. The final score came with 9:27 left in the game when Zach Whiles scored from 30 yards out to make the final 39-0.
“We didn't execute as well in the second half,” Rhymer said. “I hope they can learn from this. The ball has a tendency to bounce in funny ways. We've got to learn to take advantage of that.”
South Laurel will now travel to face North Laurel this Friday.