BENTON — A week after routing non-region rival McMinn Central on the road, Polk County will go sightseeing once again Friday to the home of the Tellico Plains Bears in a second Region 3-2A …
Polk (3-2, 0-1 Region 3-2A) will be looking for its first region victory after falling to Tyner two weeks ago against the 2-2 Bears, who are headed into their first region game.
“We’re excited about being 3-1. We’re excited about taking care of business and playing, for the most part, pretty well against McMinn Central,” said Wildcats coach Derrick Davis. “I told the guys if they keep winning, every game becomes bigger. This is our second region game and this is the biggest so far, because it’s the next one. If we have aspirations of getting into the playoffs and even hosting a playoff game we have to keep playing hard. We only have four region games and we’re already 0-1, so this is a big one.”
The ‘Cats enter Week 5 tied with Lewis County at No. 10 in the state. Davis said the acknowledgement is nice, but meaningless when it comes time for kickoff.
“In the scheme of things it doesn’t mean anything probably. You can look back, I guess, and say we were in the top 10. The key is, can we stay there? If we keep winning we are going to get a little bit of recognition. Hopefully, we are back to doing somethings we expect to do,” said Davis who also explained the sword has two edges. “That can also be used against you as a chance to knock off a Top 10 team. We’ve used it. In the grand scheme its not going to help us beat Tellico. We’ve got to do that ourselves.”
The biggest obstacle the Wildcats must overcome other than outplaying the Bears is fumbles. Polk has put the ball on the ground nine times in four games, but fortunately has only given it up twice.
“I’m kind of at a loss as to why we’re putting it on the ground like we are,” Davis pondered. “It’s going to bite us down the road if we aren’t able to take care of the football a little bit better. Turnovers are big at any level, from high school to pros. We are just going to have to do a better job of hanging on to the ball. We’ve been stressing it and hopefully it’s going to take hold and we are going to learn from it.”
“Tellico was fairly young last year so now they have a veteran team,” he continued. “They are a team that’s going to fight you. They are going to give you four quarters and they are going to play very hard.”
Another key to a successful night for the Wildcats will be special teams play. Keeping the Bears pinned on kickoffs and punts could be pivotal. Polk will again need to stand strong on defense and come away with takeaways that turn into points.
“This is a week where special teams can be very important. If one team makes a big play on special teams it could be key in this game. I look for it to be a hard-fought game. Tellico is very similar to us, the way we want to be. They are going to battle you no matter what,” said Davis.
“We have moved the ball pretty well and our defense plays well at times and have given us the shorter field. There is really no recipe for success this week. We just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing but do it even better.”
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