BENTON — There were two noticeable differences between last week’s Polk County scrimmage with Howard and Friday night’s controlled tussle with East Ridge – the weather was definitely cooler and the Wildcats held onto the football.
“I can tell you one thing; we have not fumbled the ball,” said Polk head coach Derrick Davis. “That was a big stressing point this week. We did some introduction: ‘This is a football and we need to hold on to this.’ That’s a little sarcastic, I guess, but that’s a big thing.”
The Wildcats stumbled out of the gate against the Pioneers but found their footing on their third possession, scoring on a 70-yard drive that ended with a Jared Allen quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line.
“We started three-and-out on offense which is not good. But we found our groove,” Davis said.
Tyler Lee scored a pair of TDs for the ’Cats on runs of 19 and 55 yards. Backup QB Alex Akins scampered in on a keeper around right end from 5 yards out and Michael Hargrove capped off the injury-free evening with a 10-yard catch in the end zone from Allen.
“Another big thing that I’m very pleased about, as a coach you are scared to death of injuries. As far as I know we don’t have anybody hurt, which is big,” said Davis with some relief. “An injury here and there can really change the season. We are fortunate in that aspect.”
Defensively, Polk held the Pioneers to a single score, which pleased Davis and staff to a point.
“The defense played pretty well,” he said. “We’re still not where we need to be but I think we took a step forward in some areas where we have needed to take a step forward.”
Davis conceded the Wildcats stepped it up on the offensive side of the ball but was quick to point out there is still much to be improved upon.
“We were pretty decent on offense but not consistently. We are never where we need to be. There is always room to get better. But, there are some things we can build on tonight. We’ve got one more scrimmage, then it’s for real. Two weeks from tonight we start keeping score and record books,” said Davis.
“All-in-all it wasn’t bad tonight. I was pleased every single person got to get into the scrimmage tonight. That’s good for the kids.”
Polk County will travel to Loudon Thursday to scrimmage the team that brought the Wildcats’ perfect season to an end last November.
The Boys from Benton will turn around and travel back to Loudon Friday evening to face Tellico Plains in the opening quarter of a pre-season jamboree.