Wolverines vs Landrum Cardinals at Polk

Published 11:03 pm Thursday, September 11, 2014

By Mark Schmerling

Landrum as with all great high school football rivalries, the 23-year (and counting) clash between Landrum and Polk County, has kept local fans focused on the action on the field.

The two teams meet this (Friday) evening, at Polk County, at7:30 p.m. The Cardinals, under first-year head coach Jason Farmer, won their season opener against Travelers Rest, then dropped a 17-14 heartbreaker at Walhalla last week.

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Polk County, after coming up short against 2013 state AA champion Shelby, fell to AAA sixth-ranked Asheville, before stopping R-S Central, 33-12, last week. That win was the first for the Wolverines’ new head coach Jamie Thompson (who had been a Polk assistant coach for 16 years).

“Rivalry is what high school football is all about,” said Farmer, who has many assistant and head coaching years under his belt.

“They (Polk County) are a quality football team,” Farmer noted. “We’re coming off a tough loss against Walhalla,” he acknowledged. Farmer had wondered how his players would respond mentally to Friday’s loss, but is impressed, as they’ve practiced very well this week.

Farmer noted that while most of the Landrum/Polk games have been close (last year, Polk edged their hosts, 21-15), Polk has enjoyed some big wins.

“We hope it’s not one of those games,” he said. A rivalry like this, Farmer emphasized, “is important to the fans and the schools.”

By Mark Schmerling

Part of each week’s preparation for the upcoming Polk County High School football game involves head coach Jamie Thompson telling his players, “This week’s game is the most important game of the season, because it’s our next game.”

The Wolverines next game is this (Friday) evening, when Polk hosts 23-year rival Landrum, in a contest that should pack the stands.

Last week, after setbacks to 2013 North Carolina state AA champion Shelby, and the state’s sixth-ranked AAA Asheville, the Wolverines (1-2) scored their first win of the season, an emphatic 33-12 victory over R-S Central at Rutherfordton. Landrum, 1-1, after opening with a win over Travelers Rest (S.C.), is coming off a tough 17-14 loss at Walhalla (S.C.).

Will the Wolverines try to build on the momentum from last Friday, as they prepare for the Cardinals?

“That’s the plan,” said Thompson. “We’ve been pressing forward this week.”

Of this week’s practices, “We’re doing well,” Thompson noted. Jordan Smith and Jamal Wheeler, both shaken up a bit last week, are ready to go.

Thompson admitted that while the team has improved quickly, players still need to work on execution. “Our goal is to get better each week.”

Thomson noted, “Our first-year starters are getting better. We’re finding our identity.”

Opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.