Wolverines travel to Madison tonight for first game in WHC play

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

Polk County quarterback Dillon Overholt fights through East Henderson’s defense during last week’s 24-13 victory (Matt Renn photo).

Polk County quarterback Dillon Overholt fights through East Henderson’s defense during last week’s 24-13 victory (Matt Renn photo).

Friday nights are becoming cooler, leaves will soon erupt in fall colors and the arrival of autumn is at hand, but Polk County’s schedule already says what the calendar and weather are beginning to echo.

The heart of the 2016 football season – the start of Western Highlands Conference play – has arrived.

Not to diminish in any manner the five games the Wolverines have already completed, but as Polk County prepares to travel Friday night to Madison for its conference opener, it represents the start of a journey that the Wolverines care about most, the battle to claim another WHC championship banner.

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“Our number one goal is to win a conference championship, and that begins this week,” said Polk County head coach Jamie Thompson. “Everybody is 0-0 in the conference now. We’re all starting on even footing.

“We tell the kids that this is the most important game we’ve played all year. Starting out 1-0 in the conference is huge.”

A much-improved Madison team (3-2) under first-year head coach Ben Rhodarmer will await the Wolverines when they reach Marshall. But coming off a 24-13 win over East Henderson, a game Polk dominated far more than the score indicates, Thompson is optimistic about where the Wolverines are at the halfway point of the season.

“We’re starting to click in spots,” he said. “Our ball control has been unbelievable. In four of the five games we’ve had more than 75 plays on offense. We’ve had at or around 20 first downs in four of the five games.

“I feel good about our ability to control the football. That’s always good for the defense, and our defense has done a pretty good job. We’re banged up. We’ve got a lot of kids playing with aches and pains. But that’s typical at this time of year, midway through the season.”

The WHC may be as tough, top to bottom, as it has been in several years. Mountain Heritage and Mitchell are undefeated and ranked in state polls. Hendersonville and Madison are each 3-2. Avery has won its past two games after an 0-3 start. Owen sits at 1-3, but has held two of its opponents to 13 points or less.

It promises to be a rugged road to November. The Wolverines are eager to begin traveling it.

“This is what we’ve been looking forward to,” Thompson said. “The goal is to hang another banner.”


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Madison 3-2, Polk County 2-3.

Series history: Polk County leads 19-3.

Last meeting: Jamal Tanner set a school record with six touchdowns, scored 38 total points and rushed for 236 yards on 10 carries as Polk County rolled to a 50-7 win at home in a rareMonday night game.

Players to Watch: Senior running back Derek Gonzalez leads Madison’s offense, having rushed for 589 yards on 90 carries with four touchdowns. Quarterback Colby Edwards has added 305 yards on 72 carries with six scores
. . . Edwards will also throw often, going 73-of-122 for 934 yards and eight scores thus far this season. . .
Dawson Coates and Elan Littrell each have caught more than 25 passes. . . Keegan Foley and Logan Roberts head the Madison defense

– article submitted by PolkSports.com