The Wildcats hung on to win a 29-27 thriller against Bradley Central in their opener then controlled tempo and momentum for 48 minutes in an easy 35-15 win over Chattanooga Central.
“We came out and laid it on them tonight,” said Wildcats coach derrick Davis. “We gave up a touchdown that kind of got them back in it, but the second half we came out, got a stop and took it down.
Polk scored on three of four first-half possessions while holding the Purple Pounders a 31-yard field goal and a Sean Montgomery touchdown.
Polk’s Blake Cross set the Wildcats up for their first score with an interception at the Central 43-yard line. The Wildcats took three plays to cover the distance with Zach Miller taking a Josh Silas handoff 32 yards to the Pounders’ 11. From there, the firm of Wimberley and Wimberley took over with Chris covering the final yardage and Reno Wimberley booting the extra point to make it 7-0.
“I had no idea we would control the game like we did. I was really nervous because of the athletes they’ve got. You look at them in warmups and you realize how big they are. We sent our four captains out there and they are littler that I am,” said a smiling Davis.
“But, there is one thing you cant do, you can’t measure heart. Our kids play with a lot of heart. This senior group has really done a good job leading us and we are going to go as far as they take us.”
Wimberley’s role in the win was even more magnified with the fact he played both sides of the ball with a sprained shoulder, an injury he played down while giving spreading credit for the win.
“It’s hurt as in a bruised shoulder, it’s not bad a all. The coaches pretty much blew that one out of proportion,” he said afterward. “It was a great atmosphere. I’m not the only one who did good. You can take 35’s stats and (Devin) Weber made a tackle on one side of the field playing corner and pushed another kid out of bounds on the other side of the field. It’s everybody, all the DBs, linemen, linebackers, it’s everybody it’s not just me.”
“It’s nothing in Polk County to play through pain. We’ve got good coaching. You can credit me with the defensive stops and all, but it’s definitely the coaching.”
The Polk senior finished the night with 73 yards while carrying the football six times. A third quarter penalty nullified a 97-yard jaunt.
“Wimberley has an AC sprain in his shoulder and played the whole game on offense and defense. They are really painful. We didn’t think we were going to have him, he played and look what he did,” Davis lauded. “He got us out of some jams. That is a tough kid, I don’t a lot of times single them out, but he played a great game. He got us out of a jam a few times.”
Miller — who also played injured with a sprained ankle — returned to his familiar role as bruising ball carrier to score the Wildcats’ second TD from eight yards out with 10:40 left in the first half. Miller then stepped in from the 1-foot line to cap off a nine play, 63-yard drive. A 2-point conversion pass from Josh Silas to Luke Harrison gave the ‘Cats a 28-3 lead.
The big back rolled for 124 first-half yards and finished with 207 yards on 22 carries.
Chattanooga Central scored with 1:29 left in the half to cut it to 21-9 after missing the extra point.
After the Wildcats forced a Central punt to open the second half, it was Miller once again putting the icing on a three play series with a 46-yard stroll to paydirt for his third TD of the game.
Devin Weber put an end to a potential Central score with a leaping interception at the Wildcats’ 1-yard line with 2:22 left in the third. Seconds later, Wimberley broke through the Pounders’ line and raced 97 yards untouched to the end zone only to look back to see a yellow stop sign on the grass preceding a block in the back call.
“It was disappointing, but that’s nothing to me. The only thing I was mad about was having to run all the way back down the field, that was it,” he joked about the lost points. “We will see it on film what happened exactly. When I looked back and saw the flag I also so the saw the scoreboard in the background. The win is all that counts.”
Davis said the setback was displeasing, but had no doubt the Wildcats would recover.
“I hated to see his long run called back, it was big play,” he said. “Defensively he got us lined up. He’s a tough kid playing hurt like he did, I’m glad we’ve got two weeks for him to get over it.”
Polk shook off the disappointment and added to the score in the fourth quarter. Miller recovered a Pounder fumble at the Central 47 to set up the short drive. Wimberley covered 21 yards to the 27 then shared running duties with Carter Flowers to the 6-yard line. Silas put the finishing points on the board with a quarterback keeper to paydirt to run the score to 35-9.
Central put a late score on the board then failed on a 2-point conversion attempt to make the final score 35-15.
“It’s a good way to head into an off week,” said Davis. “I’m happy the off week is here because of the injuries we’ve got. We’re going to get our trainer to take a look at them and try and get them healed up.”
Polk County 7 14 7 7 — 35
Chattanooga Central 3 6 0 6 — 15
PC — Chris Wimberley 11 run (Reno Wimberley kick), 7:48.
CC — Taleq Faleh 31 field goal, 0:31.
PC — Zach Miller 8 run (run failed), 10:40
PC — Miller 1 run (Luke Harrison pass from Josh Silas), 3:31.
CC — Sean Montgomery 32 run (kick failed), 1:29.
PC — Miller 46 run (R. Wimberley kick), 9:02
PC — Silas 6 run (R. Wimberley kick), 6:13.
CC — Ben Smith 9 pass from Luke Harrison (run failed), 0:20.9.
Team stats PC CC
First downs 14 12
Rushes-Yards 41-312 35-182
Passing 0 69
Total yards 251 312
Comp-Att-Int 0-3-0 8-17-2
Penalties-Yards 3-8 7-45
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Punts-Avg. 2-47.5 3-37
Rushing: Miller 22-207, C. Wimberley 6-73, Carter Flowers 3-9, Ryan Rowland 3-14 (PC); Isyan Funk 18-85, Terry Tiller 2-16, Scout Morgan 6-28, Kevin Mckenzie 6-24, Jaquarius Cole 1-3, Sean Montgomery 1-32 (CC).
Receiving: Brian Billingsley 3-24, Montgomery 3-25, Cole 1-15, Funk 1-5 (CC).
Records: Polk County 2-0; Chattanooga Central 1-1.