Polk to host Maiden Friday in District Round of NC 2A state playoffs

Published 9:04 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tomorrow is 11-11-11 – a date that occurs just once every 100 years and

Cary Littlejohn and company will look to make 11-11-11 a memorable evening for Wolverine Nation. (photo by Daniel Hecht)

sparks the imagination of many. As our nation honors its veterans, courthouse clerks across the country rush to fulfill marriage license requests, while hotels from Atlantic City to Las Vegas brace for an influx of superstitious gamblers looking to cash in on the lucky digits.
But for the 16 teams that were fortunate enough to survive the first round of North Carolina’s 2A state playoffs last week, tomorrow night is about just one thing – winning and advancing to the next round. And at the Little Big House, home of Wolverine Nation and one of only eight stadiums that will host 2A District Round contests Friday, the increase in the level of energy and intensity is conspicuous.
“Our team is very excited about being home for the second round of the playoffs and trust our home field advantage will be a factor in the game,” said Polk head coach Bruce Ollis. “We have told our players all week – the winner moves on and the loser goes home.”
The Wolverines will square off against Maiden High School, a team that Polk County defeated in the first round of last year’s championships. Although the Blue Devils tend to line up in shotgun formation 95 percent of the time, the team rarely puts the ball in the air.
“They get in the shotgun to run the ball, not to throw,” said Ollis, adding that Maiden’s offense is ground based by 5 to 1.
Leading the offense for Maiden will be senior quarterback Matt Johnson, a very physical runner as well as a talented passer.
“He is primarily used like a fullback in the I, as he is a very good ‘inside the tackles’ runner with very good speed,” commented Ollis.
Will Jenkins, an exceptionally quick tailback with breakaway speed, will join Johnson in the backfield. On the defensive side of the ball, the Blue Devils will be led by middle linebacker Dillon Painter, a 6’2” 220-pound junior.
Asked what Polk will need to do to come out on top and move on to the Sectional Round, Ollis replied that it is all about focus.
“Defensively, we must focus on stopping the running game and the play action pass that goes along with it,” said Ollis.
“On offense, we have to take better advantage of our scoring opportunities and eliminate turnovers.” To be sure, Polk’s own lucky no. 11, Cary Littlejohn, the team’s leading rusher with 1,450 yards and 27 touchdowns, will look to make 11-11-11 a memorable evening.
The fireworks begin tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on the campus of Polk County High School.

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