Kade Akers threw for 236 yards and four touchdowns Friday as Pulaski County defeated Carroll County 49-6 in a non-district game in Hillsville.
The injury bug that has plagued the Cavaliers all season took an even crueler twist this week as starting quarterback Jacob Motley missed the game due to both Type A and Type B flu. Lance Rotenzier did a good job filling in behind center, but it was the Pulaski quarterback that did the most damage on the night. Akers, a junior transfer from Arizona, completed 10 of 13 passes, including touchdown throws of 20 and 26 yards to E.J. Horton in the first quarter.
“He is real good. They have a nice system,” Carroll County head coach Eddie Sloss said of the Pulaski offense. “That RPO and that uptempo offense (is tough to defend), and with guys playing both sides of the ball, that is even worse.”
After Akers’ first touchdown pass, Carroll County (1-3) turned the ball over on the following play. The Cougars were in the end zone again four plays later on the quarterback’s second scoring strike to Horton, putting Pulaski in front 15-0 with 8:05 left in the first quarter.
Akers struck again on the first play of the second period, connecting on a deep fade into the left corner of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Dalton. Although the Cavaliers were limited to 100 total yards on the night, Carroll’s offense came alive on the ensuing possession.
Rotenizer completed passes of 26 and 9 yards to Dustin Dalton, paving the way for the silver and navy blue’s biggest play of the night. On 3rd and 9, Rotenizer lofted a pass that was deflected by Pulaski’s Noah O’Dell. The ball bounced right into receiver Josh Smith’s hands, who promptly housed it 50 yards to the end zone for a Cavalier touchdown.
Akers responded just three plays later, however, with a 63-yard touchdown aerial to Horton, who hauled in four receptions for 141 yards and three scores on the night. Jaceri Eaves tacked on a 4-yard touchdown run late in the second to increase Pulaski’s lead to 35-6 at the half. The Cougars added a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half to round out the scoring.
“It was a tough game and a tough loss,” Sloss said. “They did put up more of a fight than they did at Galax (the previous Friday) and that is all I was hoping in my heart and my mind – that they would put more of an effort into this game,” Sloss said. “When you play a team like this, this is a true 4A team. They have enough guys to play offense. They are not asking their quarterback to play defense and really with a 4A school you are getting the guys that should be playing football to come out and play. When you look on our sideline we really look a 1A or 2A school. I am just frustrated.”
Rotenizer completed 4-of-12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Smith accounted for half of those yards on the long touchdown pass, while Dustin Dalton reeled in two catches for 35 yards. Cassell McMillian also had a 15-yard reception for the Cavaliers. Connor Horton led Carroll on the ground with two rushes for 13 yards.
Carroll will play its first-ever Three Rivers District game this coming Friday in Roanoke at Glenvar against the unbeaten Highlanders. Glenvar features one of the top 2A teams in the state and massive offensive and defensive lines.
“You would think we could easily suit 40 or 45 guys with as many as we have enrollment wise. We just have to have more bodies so when we do have injuries we have got depth. But you have to win games and find people that are interested in playing,” Sloss said. “Really it starts at the middle school level.”
Pulaski 15 20 14 0 – 49
Carroll 0 6 0 0 – 6
PC – Horton 20 pass from Akers (Bradley pass from Clark)
PC – Horton 26 pass from Akers (Castle kick)
PC – Dalton 6 pass from Akers (Castle kick)
CC – Smith 50 pass from Rotenizer (kick failed)
PC – Horton 63 pass from Akers (kick blocked)
PC – Eaves 4 run (Castle kick)
PC – Mannon 25 run (Castle kick)
PC – Finley 3 run (Castle kick)
First Downs 20 5
Rushes-Yards 42-224 22-0
Passing 10-13-1 4-12-3
Passing Yards 236 100
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0
Penalites-Yards 7-60 2-15
Possession 27:36 20:24
RUSHING – Eaves 11-53, Finley 7-41, Mannon 4-35, Thornton 7-31, Riddle 4-30, Nowlin 4-20, Akers 2-7, Dalton 2-4, Castle 1-3.
PASSING – Akers 10-13-1 236 yds.
RECEIVING – Horton 4-141, Dalton 3-44, Bradley 1-30, O’Dell 1-12, Clark 1-9.
RUSHING – Horton 2-13, Trudell 11-10, McMillian 2-4, Smith 1-minus 3, Rotenizer 4-minus 5, Team 2-minus 19.
PASSING – Rotenzier 4-12-3 100 yds.
RECEIVING – Smith 1-50, Dalton 2-35, McMillian 1-15.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN