Wolverines eliminate Warhorses 13-7

Published 10:51 am Monday, November 7, 2011

The Brothers Graber clear a path for Cary Littlejohn during Polk’s 13-7 win over Owen Friday, Nov. 4. Polk advances to the District Round this Friday, hosting Maiden at the Little Big House Nov. 11. (photo by Daniel Hecht)

After ending the regular season with a humbling 37-12 loss to the Hendersonville Bearcats, the Polk County coaches threw down the gauntlet to the Wolverine players. Head coach Bruce Ollis and his staff challenged the team to be PIGS – that is, to play with Pride, Intensity and Guts – and redeem their honor, and their edge, heading into the state 2A playoffs.

Friday night at the Little Big House, all three of those attributes were in ample supply as Polk County took the first step on the road to Raleigh, downing the visiting Warhorses of Owen High School 13-7.

“The playoffs are all about winning and advancing and marching on, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Ollis following the narrow first round victory. “We knew this game was going to be close and it was – our defense came up huge there at the end.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Following a scoreless first quarter, Polk was first to mark with 9:17 left in the half, as Cary Littlejohn dove into the Owen end zone from 2 yards out to give the Wolverines the 7-0 edge at the break.

Littlejohn scored again halfway through the third quarter, plunging in for a 1-yard TD to make it 13-0 Polk following the blocked extra point attempt.

Entering the final stanza down by two scores, the Warhorses kicked it up a notch, scoring with 10:19 left to cut the Wolverine lead in half. On the move again, with less than three minutes remaining,

Owen pushed the ball all the way down to the Polk 10 before a personal foul flag stalled their drive.

Facing a third and long with just two minutes to go, Owen QB Carl Patton aired it out, but Polk’s Tyler Ridings picked off the pass, sealing the victory for the Wolverines.

“I knew he was running a wheel route, so I faded over there, and he laid it up,” said Ridings. “When he faded out, I knew it was coming.”

Offensively, the Wolverines were led by Littlejohn, who carried the ball 34 times for 215 yards and two TDS, giving Polk’s speedster 27 touchdowns on the season, tying the school record set by Daniel McEntyre in 2004.

QB Alec Philpott went 4-10 passing for 93 yards, and Markece Cunningham had three receptions for 76 yards. Defensively, the Wolverines were truly PIGS, holding Owen to just 158 yards.

“I’m very proud of the way we played defensively,” said Ollis. “The first time we played them, they really rushed the ball on us, and tonight we played great run stop defense.”

With the win, the #2 seed Wolverines advance to the District Round, playing host this Friday to the No. 3 seed Maiden Blue Devils, who triumphed over East Rutherford 26-13.