Polk going into important three-game stretch tonight

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wolverines hope to regroup at Homecoming game

A Western Highlands Conference title may be out of Polk County’s reach, but the three-game stretch awaiting the Wolverines may be the team’s most important of the season.

Polk County begins that season-ending run tonight, hosting Avery at 7:30 p.m. in G.M. Tennant Stadium. It is Homecoming week for the Wolverines, with a parade slated for Friday at 5 p.m. through downtown Columbus and the crowning of this year’s queen during halftime of the game.

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But it is football that is foremost on the minds of the Wolverines. After consecutive losses to Mountain Heritage and Mitchell, Polk (3-5, 1-2) is looking to regroup for a run at a postseason berth in the program’s final season as a 2A school before dropping to the 1A ranks next year.

“We need to win two of these last three games to make the playoffs,” said Polk County head coach Jamie Thompson. “If we do that, we’re looking at the same record as we had last year and we’ll probably draw around the same seed as we did last year.

“Hopefully, we can get a good draw and extend our season. It has flown by.”

Awaiting Polk County on Friday will be an Avery team whose season has somewhat mirrored that of the Wolverines. The Vikings dropped their first three games of the season, then rebounded to win their next three before suffering a 66-6 rout last week against Hendersonville. The Vikings suffered a number of injuries in the loss, including running back/safety Steven Sanchez and quarterback/defensive back Christian Hicks. It’s doubtful Sanchez and Hicks will play this week.

The Wolverines have lost both Storm Wheeler and Austin Wilson to season-ending injuries.

“The big thing for us is getting players ready to go,” Thompson said. “We did that last week, and we’ve worked more on that this week. We’ve got some guys getting ready to play two different positions on the same side of the ball because of our depth.

“We’re not the only team going through that right now. Avery’s going through a little as well. They’re banged up pretty bad also.”


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Avery 3-4, 1-1; Polk County 3-5, 1-2.

Series history: Polk County leads 12-3.

Last meeting: In a back-and-forth shootout, Polk County stopped a late 2-point attempt to defeat Avery 43-41 in Newland. Jamal Wheeler rushed for 307 yards and four touchdowns in the win.

Players to Watch: If Sanchez and Hicks are out, the bulk of the offensive load will fall on junior Van McCollum and sophomore Sam McCollum. Sam ran for 133 yards on 15 carries in the loss to Hendersonville and is the team’s second-leading rusher. Van would likely start at quarterback, though he too was banged up last week. . . Brett Smith has caught 22 passes for 280 yards for the Vikings. . . Blake Williams’ 39 tackles lead the team.

– article submitted by PolkSports.com