Wolverines can’t catch a break, or Hilltoppers, in road loss

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Polk County’s Braden Miller drags down R-S Central quarterback Jayden Waddell in Friday’s game.

Polk County’s Braden Miller drags down R-S Central quarterback Jayden Waddell in Friday’s game.

RUTHERFORDTON – The steady breeze that left a hint of autumn in the air Friday night at R-S Central proved not to be winds of fortune for Polk County.

The Wolverines, not always of their own making, could never get the break they needed offensively, leading to a 28-7 loss to the Hilltoppers in a non-conference clash.

A quick R-S Central defense caused the most issue for Polk County (1-2), which finished with 163 total yards. But the Wolverines did have three drives inside the Hilltopper 30 that failed to produce points, one ending in a turnover, one ending on downs and one derailed by a pass interference call that at least bordered on, if not ventured into, the questionable territory.

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“We had our chances. We moved the ball some, but we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and some things like that,” said Polk County head coach Jamie Thompson. “We never could punch it in.”

The Wolverines trailed 14-0 at the half, but got their best break of the night on the opening kickoff of the third quarter, with Luke Sellars recovering an R-S Central fumble on the 12. Polk needed four plays to cover those 12 yards, but did so on fourth-and-7 as Dillon Overholt rolled to his left and found Josh Chupp open in the end zone. Wyatt Derkach added the extra point to cut the margin to 14-7.

Polk then forced a three-and-out, but so did R-S Central. The Hilltoppers then put together a 67-yard scoring drive, highlighted by Austin Dorsey’s 40-yard run and capped by Brandon Smith’s 11-yard touchdown scamper, giving R-S Central a 21-7 lead with 4:51 left in the third period.

The Wolverines drove to the R-S 25 on their ensuing drive, but failed to convert a fourth-and-6 there. Polk County would also drive insde the R-S 30 in the final minutes, but a fourth-down fumble was returned 83 yards by Nathaniel Hadley for the Hilltoppers’ final touchdown.

“We moved the ball some offensively, but we never could sustain anything for whatever reason,” Thompson said. “That’s not to take anything away from R-S Central. They’ve got a good team. They played well defensively, and we didn’t have any answers for them on offense. At least not enough answers.”

Polk County took an early chance on the opening drive of the game, going for a first down on 4th-and-5 at the 45. The Wolverines lined up in the spread formation they so often use successfully on fourth-down tries, but R-S Central came prepared and stopped Overholt in the backfield. That gave R-S the ball on the Polk 41, and the Hilltoppers ground out those yards on 12 plays, scoring on Jayden Waddell’s 1-yard plunge with 4:54 left in the quarter.

The Hilltoppers scored again in the second period on another short drive, an interception setting up a three-play, 29-yard series. Tyrese Tate scored from the 4 to give R-S Central a 14-0 lead with 5:27 left in the half.

Polk County seemed poised to score in the final minutes of the first half, driving to the R-S 21, where they faced fourth-and-7. Overholt found Jaymes Wingo with a pass to the Hilltopper 2, seemingly giving the Wolverines a first-and-goal. But a flag for pass interference, yards away from the catch, negated the play, leading the Wolverines to punt.

Wingo led Polk County with 34 yards rushing on six carries. Overholt had 32 yards on 24 attempts and finished 6-of-17 passing for 63 yards and a touchdown. Dorsey ran for 107 yards on 10 carries to lead R-S.

– article submitted by PolkSports.com