Polk scores early, often in 46-20 win

Published 7:36 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Newland, home of the Avery Vikings, game time temperature was the lowest of the season and discussions of snow swirled along with the wind. But the Polk faithful that made the trip found out&bsp; a little hot chocolate and 25 first quarter points warm you up rather quickly.

By the time the fans were considering their second cup, Polk had exploded for four touchdowns to take control of this Western Highlands Conference clash.&bsp; The Wolverines served up a steady diet of touchdowns from three players, Overholt (3), Justin Blackburn (2) and Kasey Jackson (2), en route to a 46-20 win.

Overholt had a hand in almost 300 yards of offense, including five TDs (two passing, two rushing, and an 80-yard kickoff return to start the second half).&bsp; He had 13 carries for 134 yards and 81 yards passing. &bsp;

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Polk County coach Bruce Ollis stated, &dquo;Certainly the first half offensively may be as good as we have looked in a while.&bsp; Andr´ running the option gives us another dimension. I really felt like it was going to take him about three weeks to get his feet back under him and tonight he looked like the guy I remember playing against Tuscola&dquo;

Overholt agreed: &dquo;I knew from last game I was not 100 percent. I feel like I got some of that back tonight. The quickness is coming back slowly. As far as 100 percent, I don&squo;t know, I guess we will see.&dquo;

Justin Blackburn was again the Wolverines&squo; leading receiver with five catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns. He also had another interception with a 39-yard return. Kasey Jackson provided production from the fullback position, helping to keep the Avery defense off balance. &bsp;

Although these players lead the way offensively, it was the defense and a host of players that repeatedly put the ball back into Overholt&squo;s hands. The first touchdown came after a quick &dquo;three and out&dquo; defensive stop.&bsp; Following Overholt&squo;s first score was a Chandler Miller fumble recovery and Ryan Thomas interception, both leading to quick scores. Markece Cunningham and Michael Gifford also had key fumble recoveries later in the game. &bsp;

Another key player was kicker Hugo Santos. Although he was only on the field for eight plays, they may have been some of the most important. With Polk&squo;s offensive explosion Santos was called on to kick off repeatedly and he responded by putting the ball into the endzone six of eight times, eliminating the chance for a runback and giving Avery poor field position.

This was all the advantage the opportunistic Wolverine defense needed to frustrate the Vikings and provide the Polk offense with excellent field position.&bsp; Although Avery quarterback Alex Villanueva completed 15-of-28 passes for 192 yards and three TDs, he was picked off twice.

The defense seemed to employ the &dquo;bend-but-don&squo;t-break&dquo; approach, giving up yardage but limiting the touchdowns. Avery did not score until 3:51 left in the 2nd quarter making the score 32-6. Their last score came with 1:14 left against PCHS reserves and JV players getting well deserved playing time. The outcome was never in question. &bsp;

Not only was the game a positive statement, but the comments by the players and coach Ollis indicate a Wolverine team that is focused and aware of the task they have in front of them.&bsp;&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

&bsp;&dquo;The taste we had in our mouth after the Mountain Heritage loss we had to get out of our mouth and we are coming close to doing that right now,&dquo; said Ollis.

Justin Blackburn added: &dquo;After losing to Mt. Heritage pretty bad, it made our team realize we can be beaten and we need to step up and play hard.&dquo;

In other post-game comments, Overholt said, &dquo;we hit them in the mouth early,&dquo; while JJ Maxwell added that &dquo;we got after it, bustin heads, getting to the ball.&dquo;

Seth McCool said &dquo;we hit them hard early&dquo; and Blackburn said &dquo;we stepped on their throats,&dquo; referring to finishing strong in the second half. &bsp;

Concerning their position in the conference race, coach Ollis commented &dquo;The old clich´ (is) we are going to take it one game at a time. But, we certainly have put ourselves in position. The great thing about it is … we control our own destiny, we win out we can be co-conference champions. We are excited about the opportunity.&dquo;

Polk (6-2, 3-1 WHC) returns home next Friday to host Thomas Jefferson.