Wolverines grab share of WHC title with win over Bearcats
Special teams are generally considered the third phase of a football game. As it turned out, special teams were critical for both teams in Fridays final conference showdown between Hendersonville and host Polk, which the Wolverines won 32-20.
Both teams benefited and suffered from their special teams play. The Wolverines turned a pair of miscues on Hendersonvilles first two punt attempts into a 14-0 lead.
Justin Blackburn blocked Hendersonvilles punt attempt on the games opening possession, setting up Overholts first TD run from the 4-yard line. The Bearcats (missing their quarterback and punter to the flu) then mishandled the
snap on their second punt and one play later Overholt hit Blackburn for a 16-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
However, it was Hendersonvilles special team play that kept them in the game. Polk had just taken a comfortable 20-6 lead with 0:07 in the first half when James Foster returned the kickoff as time expired at the half.
Polk used a squib kick to try to avoid a big return but the ball still went to the return players. The Bearcats used a fake reverse to create an opening and the score was suddenly 20-14. If Hendersonville was to stay in the game this was the momentum shift they needed.
Polk then responded by taking the second half kickoff down the field, which took time off the clock and kept the ball away from Hendersonvilles big play offense. They did not score but established they could consistently move the ball on the Bearcats and the momentum seemed to shift back to Polk.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
Polk then scored early in the fourth quarter on another Overholt run making it 26-14. Up two scores Polk avoided the big play and Hendersonville was not able to score until 4:05 left in the game.
Polk took over after an on-side kick, needing a couple first downs to run the clock out for the win. In the process Overholt scored again with 51 seconds to go. The Bearcats then tried a desperation pass that was intercepted by Overholt to secure the win.
Polk was a very efficient 5-for-10 for passing, averaging 21 yards per catch, including tThree spectacular catches by Chandler Miller and Blackburn.
Wolverine rushers once again had the ball for over five yards a carry, (45 carries for 223 yards) keeping the Hendersonville speed on the sidelines. Overholt had 146 yards on 25 carries and four total TDs.
Polks interior lineman played probably their best game of the season, controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Polk (9-2, 6-1) held Hendersonville to 166 yards total offense.
Defensive coordinator Jamie Thompson had this to say about the defensive effort:
We really got after them. We knew they were fast coming inbut we have some speed on defense too. They got us on one play.on the sweep but all in all we contained their speed. We keep them from getting to the edge; we tackled in the backfield, keeping them from getting outside of us. We had a lot of tackles for losses tonight.
Polk takes on Brevard at home this Friday night in the opening round of the playoffs.
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