The dressing room erupted in cheers.
For the fifth straight time, the Polk County Wildcats (7-1, 3-0 District 5-AA) will wear the crown of the District 5-AA football champions after winning their 19th consecutive district game with a solid 41-13 whipping of the Sweetwater Wildcats (3-5, 1-2).
"It's hard to believe, 19 straight district wins.This win clinches the district championship for us and we are really excited about that," said Davis as the revelry continued. "You have to give Sweetwater credit, they played very hard. They honored their state championship teams at halftime and were ready to play. We finally got going and were able to finally put it away."
The Wildcats put the game away on the strength of Zack Miller's 222 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries. Polk also got scores from AJ Pittaway who carried nine times for 55 yards and Chris Wimberley who rushed 50 yards on eight carries. Wimberley raced into the end zone from 28 yards out midway through the fourth quarter to put the game on ice.
The Sweetwater Wildcats tried to make it a shootout early scoring on their second possession after a Polk Wildcats fumble on their first play from scrimmage. Sweetwater converted with a 23-yard TD pass on the first play after the fumble.
Polk answered with a 13 play drive to tie the game 7-7.
Polk took a 13-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter only to have Sweetwater tie it at 13-13 on its next possession.
Miller put Polk on top for good with an 8-yard Miller carry on a Josh Silas engineered drive with just over four minutes left in the half. Miller carried 18 times in the first half for 112 yards.
"We stopped them then fumbled and turned it over. It took a while to get it going, but as bad as we played we told them at halftime we are up by a touchdown just go out and play Polk County football,” said Davis.
Polk took control of the outcome on the opening drive of the second half marching 62 yards after on its own 38-yardline. Pittaway capped the drive from 4-yards out to put the Benton Wildcats on top 27-13.
"We took it right down the field. It was kind of still a tight game. We just stayed with our game plan and gave it to Miller for the most part," said Davis. "We got to hitting with (AJ) Pittaway on some traps and that worked for us. It was definitely huge for us to take it down the field and score to get us up by two touchdowns. That really helps me out calling defense when we have a two touchdown lead."
Polk kept punter Luke Harrison off the field again after holding Sweetwater on a fourth-and-10. It was Miller one more time crashing in from 21 yards out to score his fourth TD of the night to give Polk a 24-13 lead.
Polk iced the win after holding Sweetwater again on a fourth and 18. Polk's Silas led the Wildcats on a 62-yard closing drive topped off with Wimberley's 28-yard zig zag to paydirt. Reno Wimberley made it 41-13 with the final extra point of the game.
"I'm very happy with our effort. If you had asked after eight games if I would take a 7-1 season I would have jerked their arm off shaking their hand. Our schedule is very tough, we play some pretty good teams. This district championship is something the guys might not understand now, but they will look back one day and realize they won district championships five straight years. We're fortunate to get this and know we've already clinched," said a pleased Davis.
Polk will step out of district one final time traveling to South Pittsburg to face the Pirates (7-1) inside Beene Stadium.
"We've got a tough one one next week against South Pitt. It's going to be a little longer trip. South Pitt has a very good team and we will need to be ready to play," said Davis.
"It doesn't get any easier the next two weeks with South Pitt and Loudon who has everybody back now. We need to try and better it to maybe get better seeding for the playoffs. "
Polk County 7 13 14 7 — 41
Sweetwater 7 6 0 0 — 13
S — Payton Robinette 21-yd pass from Ashaunde Thaxton (Sammy Baker kick), 8:48
PC — Zach Miller 5-yd run (Reno Wimberley kick), 2:58
PC — Miller 1-yd run (kick failed), 11:57
S — Malik Robinson 5-yd run (kick failed), 6:53
PC — Miller 8-yd run (R. Wimberley kick), 4:38
PC — AJ Pittaway 9 yd run (R. Wimberley kick), 7:00
PC — Miller 35-yd run (R. Wimberley kick), :51.4
PC — Chris Wimberley 28-yd run (R. Wimberley kick), 5:19
First downs 23 12
Rushes-yards 60-372 27-62
Passing yards 8 100
Total yards 380 162
Comp-Att-Int 1-2-0 9-20-0
Punts -Ave. 0-0 2-34.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties 0-0 2-23
Rushing: Zach Miller 35-222 4 TDs, AJ Pittaway 9-55 TD, Chris Wimberley 8-50 TD (PC); Ashaunde Thaxton 12-33 (S).
Passing: Josh Sillas 1-2-0 8 (PC); DJ Vanderwerf 8-19-0 77, Ashaunde Thaxton 1-2-0 21 TD (S).
Receiving: Zach Miller 1-8 (PC); Payton Robinette 2-40 TD (S).
Records: Polk County 7-1, 3-0 District 5-AA; Sweetwater 3-5, 1-2 District 5-AA.