Trojans stun Polk County Friday night
The Wolverines lost their starting quarterback J.P. Ruth.
Ruth came off the field clutching his throwing hand after a punt in the third quarter. The trainer taped his hand and wrist, but according to head coach Bruce Ollis, he was too hurt for us to put him back in. In all likelihood, Ruth will be too hurt to return at all for the Wolverines this year, as X-rays later revealed that he has a severely broken hand.
In addition to losing Ruth, 325-pound right tackle Zach Searcy had to be helped off the field after an apparent ankle injury late in the game.
Nothing seemed to go Polks way Friday, as the games first score came on a Chase run that was ruled a fumble by one official and a touchdown by another. After deliberating, it was ruled that the fumble came after the ball broke the plane, giving the Trojans a 6-0 lead with 10:46 left in the second quarter.
It would take two more minutes for the Wolverines to get their initial first down of the game. After a first quarter that produced negative offensive yardage and three punts, Polk managed to put together a drive late in the second quarter.
Following strong runs by Ruth and tailback Keenan Littlejohn, a 16-yard pass over the middle to a leaping Kamron Kerr, and finally, a fullback option taken in by Jordan Ollis from the one-yard line, Polk was on the board. Tony Sciuvas extra point gave the Wolverines the lead 7-6.
They wouldnt keep the lead for long. Chases Jordan Wright fielded the ensuing kickoff at about the 6-yard line, cut to his left through a huge hole, and sprinted untouched to the endzone. A two-point conversion was successful, and the score was Chase 14, Polk 7, as it would be at the end of the half.
After Ruths injury, Jordan Ollis moved up from fullback to take the snaps for the Wolverines. The first snap he took, however, sailed over his head and was recovered 21 yards behind the line of scrimmage. On the next play, he dropped back and threw a deep pass to Andre Overholt, but Chases playmaking strong safety Wright intercepted it at the 49-yard line.
On fourth and goal at the one, the Trojans elected to go for the six, but a delay of game call compelled them to take the safer field goal. With 34 seconds left in the third, Chase extended its lead to 17-7.
When Ollis was intercepted for a second time with about eight minutes left to go, the Wolverines could have thrown in the towel. Instead, a defensive stand sparked a valiant and captivating comeback.
Starting at their own 7-yard line, a 27-yard screen play to Overholt was followed by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Chase. Then Ollis passed to Justin Blackburn for seven yards and scrambled for another 18. Another penalty gave the Wolverines a first down at the Trojan 17. Ollis connected with Kerr on second and third down, setting up a crucial fourth down. Fullback Knoel Simpson caught a play action pass to pick up the first, and Ollis found him again on a rollout pass, this time in the endzone. With 2:24 on the clock, the successful PAT drew Polk within three points.
An onside kick was recovered by Chase, but another good series by the Polk defense forced a punt with 1:26 left, giving the Wolverines a chance to tie or win.
From their own 17-yard line, Polk was able to move the ball to the Trojan 35 behind two completions to Kerr and yet another 15 yard personal foul. After a spike on first down, Ollis was pressured on second down and threw incomplete. Another incompletion on third down set the stage for the final play of the game. With six seconds remaining, Polk would either force overtime or take the loss based on the leg of Sciuva.
No one will ever know if the senior placekicker would have connected from 52 yards out, as the Trojans stormed through and blocked the attempt.
They came to play tonight, and it looked like maybe we didnt, Ollis said. I warned (my team) about being flat, coming off two emotional games. Weve got the beginning of conference games next week, so were going to work hard and hopefully start off with a win.
With their leader sidelined indefinitely, Ollis said, Were obviously a better team with J.P. as our quarterback and Jordan at fullback, but Jordans played a lot of QB. Well see.
Polk plays at Madison next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.