Polk powers past Brevard for 31-10 playoff win

Published 2:52 pm Saturday, November 14, 2009

It was the same royal blue uniforms that came down the stands, past the crowd and through the banner to take the field. Hugo Santos had the same yellow cleats for the kick off.

However, in the first half it did not look like the same Polk County team that had just claimed the conference championship a week earlier. There were several factors that could have contributed. It may have been playing a team for the second time, looking ahead to a potential second round match up with Thomasville, a letdown after a huge win, or a combination of the above.

Polk County coach Bruce Ollis gave credit to the Brevard game plan. We played a quality football team that got after us, he said. (They) had a great scheme for us and kept us a little off balance early, particularly on defense.

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Despite the slow start, Polk County eventually pulled away Friday night for a 31-10 win at home in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.

Although Polk never trailed Brevard in the first half, the Wolverines leads were minimal and short lived. Polk scored on a Jacob Christiansen field goal in the first quarter making it 3-0 Polk. Later in the second quarter Brevard countered making it 3-3. Then the two biggest plays of the first half came almost back to back.

For Polk it was another Overholt to Blackburn connection. Overholt hit wide-out Justin Blackburn down the middle for a 28-yard gain.

It looked as though he had no chance but Blackburn made a fully-extended diving catch at the Brevard 16. Three plays later Overholt capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to put Polk up 10-3.

Brevards Gabe Tollison then had a 70-yard return on the ensuing kickoff to the Polk six yard line. Three plays later, Brevard quarterback Brock Frisbee hit Matt Galloway in the end zone to tie the game at 10-10. The first half ended in a 10-10 tie. But it was an uneasy tie for the Polk fans.

Fortunately, coming out for the second half those blue uniforms seemed to look a bit brighter. Good teams make adjustments at half time and Polks coaching staff has historically done so in key games. This second half would be no exception.

The Wolverines took the second half kickoff driving down the field with Overholt finally breaking loose on a counter option for a 47-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devils were never able to recover as the defense rallied to shut out Brevard in the final two quarters. Overholt added two more scores, a 4-yard TD run and a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Thomas late in the fourth quarter.

We went in at half time and moved some pieces around and it paid off, said coach Ollis. The biggest key was we finally put a little pressure on their quarterback. Offensively, we came out and ran some counter (plays) at them (fake one direction then goes back the other). They had been really flying to the football.

Im sure it felt like more than a little pressure to Brock Frisbee as Juan Hicks, Seth McCool and Tyler Philpott among others made a habit out of harassing him in the backfield. Midway through the fourth quarter, Hicks and McCool sacked Frisbee to stop a drive and later pressure led to the game ending interception.

Overholt had 20 carries for 145 yards and also went 6-of-7 passing, hitting five different receivers for a total of 100 yards and a touchdown. Kasey Jackson once again had a big night averaging almost 7 yards per carry with 12 carries for 82 yards.

As has been the case this year for Polk, another player stepped up in a big game.

Along with his a 25-yard touchdown catch, Thomas had a toe dragging sideline layout reception for a critical first down, and an acrobatic interception in the end zone with 21 seconds left to end Brevards final scoring threat.

By the time the final horn sounded and the crowd filtered out of the stands onto the field for a victory celebration those same Wolverine blue uniforms (at least for the Polk fans) seemed to almost glow. Polk improved to 10-2 and advances to next weeks second round against Thomasville.