Wolverines back on road to take on Avery County

Published 7:35 pm Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wolverines will look to spoil the Vikings homecoming tonight at Avery High School (photo by Daniel Hecht)

With last week’s bitter home loss to the Mitchell Mountaineers firmly in the rear view mirror, the Polk County Wolverines, now locked in a three-way tie for second place in the Western Highlands Conference, have turned their focus to this week’s road trip to Avery County.
According to head coach Bruce Ollis, the vibe at the Little Big House has been all good.
“Practices have been upbeat and positive,” said Ollis. “You can learn valuable lessons in defeat – trust that has been the case this week.”
In sharp contrast to the ground-based offenses the Wolverines have faced the past two weeks, the Vikings present an entirely different defensive challenge for Polk County.
“Avery is a more pass oriented team,” said Ollis. “Their quarterback, Alex Villanueva, was the preseason selection as Player of the Year in the conference.”
Indeed, Villanueva has lived up to that billing, leading the conference with over 210 yards per game passing.
Avery’s air-based offensive attack is certain to put Polk’s secondary to the test.
“Our pass defense must improve,” said Ollis. “Most of our problems in the secondary have been related to not breaking on the ball, not being out of position.”
Compounding the challenge for the Wolverines this week are injuries to key players. Cary Littlejohn, who was injured during the final minute of last week’s game, is listed as questionable, and defensive back Deion Twitty, the team leader in interceptions, is out for the season after suffering a knee injury last Friday that will require surgery.
“This has been a week where we have told our players that it is not about Avery but about us – we have asked them to rise to the challenge of overcoming a conference loss.”
Ollis is quick to point out that, despite last week’s setback, the goals laid out for the team at the beginning of the season  – winning the WHC and vying for a state title – are still attainable. “We find ourselves in the exact same position we were a year ago,” said Ollis. “We control our own destiny and we must take ownership in that fact.”
The action kicks off tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Avery County High School in Newland.

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