Polk Co. travels for key WHC clash Friday night

Published 10:49 am Friday, October 16, 2009

Both teams are 2-1 in conference. Both teams are hoping to be 3-1 and still in the hunt for a conference title after tonight.

Polk County and Avery clash at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will leave one team still firmly in the race for the Western Highlands Conference crown, and drop the other to 2-2.

Avery has the advantage of playing on its home field. Polk County has the advantage of having one of the most formidable defenses in the region, one that is coming off its second shutout of the season.

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Polk, 5-2 overall, had outstanding performances on both sides of the ball last week, thumping conference foe Mitchell 29-0 at home. It was Polk&squo;s second highest offensive output of the year.

Avery, 4-3 overall, is coming off its biggest defeat of the season, which came on the road against conference leading Hendersonville, 40-7.&bsp; In four of its previous six games, Avery&squo;s defense fared much better,&bsp; holding opponents under 20 points each game. That stretch included a 14-7 win over WHC opponent Owen at home.

In that game, Avery&squo;s Colton Blackburn rushed for 139 yards or nearly eight yards per carry. Avery had 215 total rushing yards.

But against Hendersonville, Avery was held to just 74 total rushing yards and Blackburn was limited to just five.

If Avery quarterback Alex Villanueva, who threw for 236 yards in a win against Robbinsville earlier in the year, looks to the air, he will face a Polk County defense that had four picks last week against Mitchell, including two by Andre Overholt.

On offense last week, Polk County showcased a three-pronged rushing attack that piled up 196 yards and four touchdowns.

Keenan Littlejohn led the ground game with 81 yards on 16 carries, followed by Overholt with 62 yards and Kasey Jackson with 53 yards. They combined to average 5 yards per carry.

Polk County and Avery are tied for second in the Western Highlands Conference with Mountain Heritage. Hendersonville leads with a 3-0 conference record.

Polk and Mountain Heritage are the top 2A teams in the conference, followed by Madison and Owen, both at 1-2. Hendersonville is the top 1A team, followed by Avery, Mitchell and Thomas Jefferson.