Derrick Davis’ Polk County Wildcats (7-3, 4-0 5-AA) picked up their 16th consecutive District 5-AA win Friday night at Meigs County.
The 40-20 win over the Tigers (1-9, 0-4) achieves the goal Davis set for his seniors when they entered the program four years ago. The class of 2013 will end their high school football careers having never lost a district game.
This win may also be the Wildcats last over their longtime rivals Meigs County for some time.
Because of a decline in enrollment, Meigs will likely drop to Class A beginning next season, marking the first time these two programs will not be in the same district or region in recent memory.
Despite warnings against a possible letdown against the struggling Tigers, the district champion Wildcats wasted little time putting points on the board.
The ’Cats received the opening kickoff at their own 37 and put together an impressive drive that was capped by senior Justin Green’s four-yard touchdown run. Senior Justin Brown’s pass to sophomore Issac Smith was complete for the two-point conversion with 8:55 remaining in the first quarter.
Meigs’ first drive ended when Smith picked off an errant Tiger pass.
After being forced to punt, Brown stepped in front of another errant Tiger pass and returned it 30 yards for the score. After a missed extra point, the Wildcats lead was 14-0 with 4:31 remaining in the opening quarter.
After being held relatively quiet in the first, junior Wildcat workhorse Zach Miller broke loose in the second quarter. Miller scored on runs of 12 and 28 yards less than halfway through the quarter, running the Polk lead to 27-0.
The ’Cats had an opportunity to extend their lead even further just before the half, but a fumble at the Meigs County 11 was recovered by the Tigers to end the half.
Polk wasted little time putting the game away in the second half, as Miller ran for his third touchdown of the night, a 48-yard scamper, on the ’Cats first offensive play of the half. Miller would end the night with 160 yards on only 12 carries, running his season total to 1,698 yards.
After being held to four first-half first downs, Meigs finally found some running room, largely against Polk reserves, in the third and fourth quarters. A couple of 1-yard touchdown plunges by Tiger fullback Lee Wilson were sandwiched around a 65-yard scoring run by tailback Dakota Ricker to cut the Polk County lead to 34-20 early in the fourth quarter. Ricker racked up 157 rushing yards on the night to lead the Tigers, all but 18 of that coming in the second half.
The Wildcats’ Green would end any doubt with his second touchdown run of the night, coming from six yards out, with 5:48 to play.
Polk County now turns its attention to the TSSAA state playoffs for the 12th consecutive season. Polk received the No. 2 seed in Quadrant 2 and will host seventh-seeded Kingston Yellow Jackets (6-4) in the opening round for the third time in the past four years.
Kingston hails from the vaunted District 4-AA that includes Alcoa and CAK, winners of the past eight state championships.
Polk County 14 13 7 6 — 40
Meigs County 0 0 14 6 — 20
PC- Justin Green 4 run (Issac Smith pass from Justin Brown) 8:55
PC- Brown 30 interception return (kick failed) 4:31
PC- Zach Miller 12 run (Brown kick) 11:15
PC- Miller 28 run (kick failed) 6:30
PC- Miller 48 run (Brown kick) 9:43
MC- Lee Wilson 1 run (kick failed) 5:36
MC- Dakota Ricker 65 run (Tyler Shelton run) 2:25
MC- Wilson 1 run (kick blocked) 7:39
PC- Green 6 run (kick failed) 5:48
Team stats PC MC
First downs 17 12
Rushes-yards 44-416 49-267
Passing yards 8 14
Total yards 424 281
Comp-Att-Int 2-4-0 1-3-2
Punts -Ave. 4-41.0 4-33.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties 4-25 4-27
Rushing: (PC) Zach Miller 12-160, Justin Green 14-110, Blake Cross 3-77 (MC) Dakota Ricker 19-157.
Passing: (PC) Josh Silas1-2-0 5 yds., Justin Brown 1-1-0 3 yds. (MC) Ricker 1-1-0 14 yds.
Receiving: (PC) Miller 1-5, Issac Smith 1-3 (MC) Eliot Aikman 1-14.
Records: Polk Co. 7-3 (4-0) 5-AA, Meigs Co. 1-9 (0-4).