WHO: Alleghany Cougars (4-0) at Radford Bobcats (4-0)
WHERE: Joe Hodge Field
WHEN: Friday, September 22, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
LAST WEEK: Alleghany Cougars (defeated Greenbrier East 49-8), Radford Bobcats (defeated Galax 56-19)
LAST SEASON: Alleghany Cougars (N/A, inaugural year), Radford Bobcats (10-2)
It all comes down to this. Both the Alleghany Cougars and the Radford Bobcats sit undefeated with only each other standing in the way of a potentially perfect season. Cougar vs. Bobcat. Which feline will devour the other? We shall all learn the answer to that question beneath the Friday Night Lights.
So far this season, the Alleghany Cougars have played tremendously well, taking down one opponent after the next. Their biggest challenge seemingly exists in penalties, as addressed by both the players and coaches this season. During the Rockbridge County game against the Wildcats, the first two touchdowns —one by J’yon Smith and the other by Purcel Turner— were both called back due to penalties. Following the game, it was an issue both Knighton brothers addressed in their post-game interview. The question then remains: will the Alleghany Cougars be able to tackle penalties, their biggest opponent, before Friday night’s game against the Radford Bobcats? Time will tell, but if penalties are their biggest hurdle, then we think they stand a great chance against the Bobcats, especially if they are able to overcome it. We have faith they will.
I was able to catch up with J’yon Smith to get his thoughts on the upcoming game. He stated, “We just gotta execute at a high level all night to win! This is a big —and probably the best— team we’ve played all year. If we execute well, we will have no problem Friday.”
Purcel Turner simply gave us the word “Ubuntu.” His mom, Nicole, explained that it’s “an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others.’ It is often described as reminding us that ‘I am what I am because of who we all are!’” Ms. Turner stated. Purcel added, “I believe in our brotherhood, and as we go into this game, we have to play hard, play smart and play together.” Well stated, Mr. Turner. Ubuntu it is.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (ALLEGHANY COUGARS)
Xzavier “X” Hayslett
Matthew “Moose” Clayton, if able to play following an injury during game against the Spartans
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
Like the Cougars, as previously mentioned, the Bobcats are also seeing an undefeated season of 4-0. The Alleghany Cougars will likely be their toughest matchup as well. As far as last season, the Bobcats made it all the way to the Region 2C finals.
Their Head Coach, Michael Crist, is now in his third season with the Radford Bobcats and has seen an impressive career with them so far. He seems most proud of his defense as he boasts, “Until you perform, you never know but I do think we have a great mentality on that side of the ball. So, I think we saw some growth in terms of being physical and just our overall mindset defensively. You know, you got to be pretty tough to play on that side of the ball.”
Last year, the team was able to put quite a few points on the board each time they played, which included a game that went so high as 62 points to Gate City’s 12. Last year, they defeated the Alleghany Mountaineers on Alleghany’s own field, 58-21. With the merging of Covington and Alleghany High Schools, perhaps that will change this year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (RADFORD BOBCATS)
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.