“Forget it and drive on”

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wolverines prepare mentally for tough game tonight after last week’s loss

There are days when Polk County’s Jamie Thompson is equal parts psychologist and football coach.

Getting the Wolverines ready for games each week is often as much about mental preparation as physical. That is especially the case in weeks following a tough loss such as Friday’s 19-14 setback against North Henderson.

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Polk County dominated the game statistically, but failed to score on three trips inside the North 10-yard line and allowed touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble. The Wolverines could easily have reached halftime with a 21-0 lead; North Henderson instead held a 13-7 edge at the break and added a third-period touchdown to secure the win.

Those are the types of losses that can linger in a player’s mind. Thompson and staff have worked this week to make certain that’s not the case as Polk County (1-1) travels to face R-S Central (1-1) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Thompson said. “You want to put a game like that in the past. We have a saying, FIDO, forget it and drive on. But you’ve still got to learn from it.

“Confidence goes a long way at this age. That’s one thing you don’t want to see lost.”

To that end, the Wolverines do have much to build upon from Friday’s loss. Offensively, junior quarterback Dillon Overholt had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career (111 yards) while sophomore Elijah Sutton picked up 51 yards on just eight carries in the wake of an injury to senior Storm Wheeler. Wheeler is not expected to play at R-S Central.

Defensively, the Wolverines allowed North Henderson to mount just one sustained drive and held the Knights to 76 yards rushing. Polk County’s run defense will be tested Friday against R-S Central’s Wing T attack, an offense built on misdirection that requires disciplined defense to slow it down.

“One thing we’ve stressed this week to the players is that we have to take advantage of opportunities,” Thompson said. “You only have 48 minutes in a game, and you don’t have an unlimited amount of opportunities to make things happen.

“When we get into the red zone, we’ve got to make things happen. We squandered away opportunities in the first half (against North), and that’s one thing I want us to learn as coaches and players, we’ve got to take advantage of them.”

Learning to make the most of opportunity while learning from the past – all part of the mental aspect of a football team’s regimen.

“We try to build mental toughness in the offseason, and there are different things we do for that,” Thompson said. “But that’s also a process that takes place during the season.

“Dealing with teenage boys, our overall development process is to make good men. That’s our goal. The scoreboard will take care of itself.”


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Records: R-S Central 1-1; Polk County 1-1.

Last Week: R-S Central edged Stuart Cramer 6-0; Polk County dropped a 19-14 decision to North Henderson.

Last Year: R-S Central scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to seal a 31-13 victory.

Series History: Polk County leads the series, 9-5.

Players To Watch: Tyrese Tate has been the focus of the Hilltoppers’ offense, gaining 258 yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns. . . Austin Dorsey has added 105 yards on 25 carries. . . sophomore quarterback Jayden Waddell has completed four of his 12 pass attempts . . . senior defensive back Spencer Norris had two interceptions in the season opener against McDowell.

Of Note: The Hilltoppers were forced to forfeit their season-opening win over McDowell due to an ineligible player. . . R-S has been prone to penalties thus far this season, drawing 22 flags for 223 yards in two games. . . the Hilltoppers have also fumbled five times in two games.

– article submitted by PolkSports.com