Polk eliminated by Maiden in District

Published 8:37 am Monday, November 14, 2011

QB Alec Philpott rushed for 100 yards and threw for 230 more in Polks losing effort against Maiden Friday (photo by Daniel Hecht).

When asked last week what his Wolverines would need to do to defeat visiting Maiden, head coach Bruce Ollis stated that the goal was simple – stop the run. The Blue Devils, led by a big physical QB in Matt Johnson and the cat-quick Will Jenkins at tailback, had run roughshod over 2A Catawba Valley opponents all season, and it was clear that the Polk defense would need to throttle the Maiden ground game in order to come out on top and move on to the sectionals.

In the first half of Friday night’s district round contest, the Wolverine defense did just that, holding the potent Blue Devil offense to just two scores before the intermission. On the other side of the ball, the Polk County offense was firing on all cylinders, with QB Alec Philpott rushing for a 24 yard TD and throwing for three more to wideout Joel Booker to give the Wolverines the 27-14 edge at the half.

While the teams retired to their respective locker rooms to regroup and strategize, the chatter in the home bleachers was all about which opponent Polk would face in the next round. Unfortunately for Wolverine Nation, there was still another half of football to be played, and in the Maiden locker room, head coach Brian Brown and the Blue Devils entertained no thoughts of conceding the victory.

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Returning to the field for the second half, the Blue Devils were able to cut the Polk lead in half, as Johnson scored on a 10 yard run at the 9:28 mark. Less than five minutes later, Maiden knotted the score at 27 as Johnson plowed 11 yards into the Polk end zone for his third rushing TD of the night.

Back on offense, the Wolverines drove down to the Maiden two, and it appeared certain that Polk would retake the lead.  The Blue Devils, however, had other ideas, and in a tsunami-like wave, Maiden’s defense overwhelmed the Polk line, stripping the ball from the hands of Cary Littlejohn and regaining possession of both the football and the momentum. Two plays later, the speedy Jenkins exploded for a 90-yard touchdown run that gave Maiden the 34-27 lead over the stunned Wolverines.

Though down by just a touchdown and with a full quarter of play still ahead, the dramatic 14-point swing took the wind out of the Wolverine sails and the air out of the Little Big House, and Polk never again threatened as Maiden rang up 27 unanswered points to give the Blue Devils the 41-27 victory.

“I’ve got to hand it to them – they just knocked us off the football, plain and simple,” said Ollis following the dramatic Maiden comeback. “We never planted a seed of doubt in them in the second half. They just came out and played more inspired than we did.”

Philpott led all Polk rushers with 19 carries for 100 yards and a TD, and went 14 for 24 through the air for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Joel Booker wound up with eight catches for 134 yards and three TDs. Maiden (9-4) moves on to face 12-1 Lincolnton, while Polk finishes their season at 9-4.

“Our seniors have won 31 ballgames in three years and two conference titles,” noted Ollis. “It’s always tough to lose your last game at home, and my heart hurts for them, but they’ve got a lot to be proud of, and I’m proud of them, I really am.”