Polk dominates second half in playoff win over E. RutherfordtonPublished 6:03pm Monday, November 5, 2012
by Fulton Hampton
Polk County once again came out strong in the second half against East rutherfordton after trailing 7-0.
The Wolverines however, had to pull out all the stops; executing a fake punt, a tackle for a safety, blocked a punt and an interception to defeat East Rutherford 23-13 in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
East Rutherford and Polk both generated long drives on their first possessions resulting in a missed field goal attempt and an interception respectively. Then the Cavaliers moved down to their 40 yard line where C. J. Watkins took it in for a score on a 60-yard sweep down the sidelines. The extra point made it 7-0 with 9:12 in the first half.
The teams exchanged possessions again with East Rutherford threatening to score again as the half came to a close. However, Anthony Carson intercepted a pass in the end zone to maintain the 7-point deficit.
Along with the big plays in the second half, another key for Polk was time of possession; they controlled the ball the entire third quarter (except the safety) and most of the fourth quarter.
Polk took the second half kick and generated a 10-play drive down to the 50 yard line. However, they were faced with a fourth down and went into punt formation. They faked the kick snapping the ball to the Jamal Tanner who broke a tackle and ran for 20 yards and the first down.
Polk went on to score when Philpott found Reece Schlabach on a 2-yard pass. The extra point made it 7-7 with 3:27 left in the third.
On the kick off Gage Stone pinned the return man into the corner which he fumbled and was tackled by Jordan Smith at the 2-yard. East then ran a very questionable sweep deep in their end zone. J. C. Suddeth fought off two blockers to make the tackle for a 2-point safety. That made the score 9-7 and was the turning point in the game.
Coach Bruce Ollis commented after the game; “It’s pretty amazing how we kept the ball, then we got the great kickoff, pinned them down to about the two yard line, and then we got the safety. No doubt we feed off getting the safety.”
Polk took the kickoff (following the safety) and drove the field with Philpott taking it over from the 2 yard line.
So, with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter, Polk was up 16-7 and East Rutherford had run one play in the second half.
On the next Cavalier drive Jamal Tanner blocked their punt attempt which Polk eventually scored on a Tyler Jackson 2-yard run making it 23 -7. East made the score 23 -13 with 56 seconds left but Polk recovered the onside kick and preserved the win.
The Wolverines (9-3), the No. 3 seed in the West pod, will travel to No. 2 seed Shelby (7-4) this Friday for the second round.