FOOTBALL: Ground game powers Chase past Polk County

Published 8:23 am Sunday, October 15, 2023

Rain began to fall late Friday evening in G.M. Tennant Stadium, and Polk County players and coaches no doubt hoped it could wash away the memories of the previous three hours.

Chase unleashed a brutally efficient rushing attack, piling up 491 yards on the ground and scoring on 10 consecutive possessions in handing the Wolverines a 70-26 setback.

The Trojans (5-3, 2-2) did nothing fancy, but made simple seem extravagant. Chase largely stuck to running the ball between the tackles, often giving converted quarterback Zac Frashier, a starting wide receiver until last week, the option to wait a second or two before picking a hole and moving forward.

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And that Frashier did, piling up 271 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Backfield mate Da’Zion Murray added 105 yards and three scores to spearhead an attack that Polk County (4-4, 3-1) never found any means to slow.

“It’s embarrassing to let your seniors get beat like that in their last regular-season home game,” said Polk County head coach Dustin Fry. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We were overmatched up front on offense and on the (defensive) line they just mashed us.

“We knew it would be a tough game, but we didn’t expect 70 points. Just really disappointing.”

And, yet, all was not lost for Polk, as Fry reminded the team in his postgame speech. The Wolverines still need one win to assure themselves a home playoff game and could earn a share of the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference title with two wins. Those victories will have to be achieved on the road, beginning next Friday at East Rutherford.

“The message to the team is that we still have a lot to play for,” Fry said. “We’ve still got to win one more game so that we can get a top seed in the playoffs and a guaranteed home game. So there’s still a lot to play for.

“It’s a gut check. We’ve got to come back and play.”

The teams swapped touchdowns early until an interception on a tipped pass gave the Trojans the ball at the Polk 9. Chase scored in three plays on Frashier’s 1-yard run to take a 21-7 advantage.

Polk County responded with two second-quarter touchdowns – one a Lawson Carter 8-yard pass to Keaundrae Green and the other a 5-yard pass to Styler Blackwell. But each time, Chase followed with a drive for a score, then added another interception on the final play of the first half to take a 35-20 advantage into the locker room.

Frashier scampered 65 yards to the end zone on the Trojans’ first play of the third period. The Wolverines struck back with a six-play, 69-yard drive that ended in Donte Tingling’s 1-yard run, making it 42-26, but that would be it for Polk County’s scoring.

Chase, meanwhile, added two more touchdowns in the third period and another in the fourth to trigger a running clock.

That brought to an end a night that the Wolverines will look to quickly forget.

“We’ve got to reassess, come back to work and try to get the next two,” Fry said.