TELLICO — The fifth-ranked Polk County Wildcats seemed to be set up perfect for a “trap” game with a trip to face the reeling Tellico Plains Bears.
“You worry about your players in games like this, but they came out and took care of everything. We have great senior leadership. They know what’s at stake,” said Polk County coach Derrick Davis.
The Wildcats started strong and never let up in posting their second straight shutout, this one by a 41-0 tally. Polk had blanked Notre Dame 49-0 the previous week.
Polk’s offense racked up 329 yards while the defense gave up just 112 yards in a dominating performance, as they get ready for a key three-game stretch starting with Sequoyah (3-5) next Friday.
Like the 6-1 Wildcats, the Chiefs are 2-0 in District 5-AA play, meaning Friday night’s battle in Benton will most likely be for district championship.
When asked if anything would be different in preparing for their upcoming games coach Davis stated, “we’re not changing anything.”
“The only change is with fall break and we will be practicing in the mornings, but our players are mature enough to handle it,” said Davis.
After battling Sequoyah, Polk County will play host to top-ranked (Class 1A) South Pittsburg (6-1) and then wrap up its district schedule with a trip to Decatur to face Meigs County (3-4).
The Wildcats wasted no time setting the tone for their sixth straight win Friday night. After forcing a quick three-and-out on the first Bear possession, Polk senior Tyler Lee took a handoff on the first offensive play and went 70 yards to get the ’Cats on the board.
On Tellico’s next possession they managed to pick up a first down on a nice pass play on third-and-10, but the Polk County defense bowed their necks and forced another punt three plays late.
Before the defense could catch their breath, Alex Akins took the punt the distance, returning it 65 yards to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead despite only having one offensive play from scrimmage.
Trying to spark some offense, the Bears came out and tried their luck passing the ball, but the Wildcat defense had their paws ready and snatched a Dale Phillips pass out of the air and returned it down to the Tellico 30-yard line.
After a run for no gain, University of Tennessee baseball signee Jared Allen went to the air, hitting Akins for a 30-yard TD pass to give the Wildcats a commanding 21-0.
The second quarter didn’t prove to be much better for the Bears. Unable to put together a substantial drive, Polk County took advantage of good field possession and punched in a 14-yard touchdown run by Lee, giving him 94 yards on just 3 carries.
Later in the period Chase Mull found paydirt from a yard out to give Polk County a commanding 35-0 lead heading into halftime.
The second half was dominated on the ground as both teams exchanged possessions. Polk County’s Justin Green got loose on a 29-yard run for the only score of the third quarter giving the Wildcats a 41-0 lead.
That score would hold through the fourth quarter and gave Polk County their sixth straight win heading into a big conference showdown with Sequoyah next week.
Polk County will be looking to claim their first back-to-back district championships in school history.
Polk County 21 14 6 0 — 41
Tellico Plains 0 0 0 0 — 0
PC — Tyler Lee 70-yd run (Jared Allen kick)
PC — Alex Akins 65-yd punt return (2-point conversion good)
PC — Akins 30-yd pass from Allen (kick failed)
PC — Lee 14-yd run (Allen kick)
PC — Chase Mull 1-yd run (Allen kick)
PC — Justin Green 29-yd run (Allen kick)
Rushes-Yards 28-299 34-80
Passing 30 32
Total Yards 329 112
Comp.-Att.-TD-Int. 1-2-1 3-7-0-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 6-51
Rushing: Tyler Lee 3-94, Jared Allen 5-55, Chris Wimberly 2-41 (PC); Zack Strickland 6-38 (TP)
Passing: Jared Allen 1-2 30yds 1TD (PC); , Dale Philips 3-7 32 yds.
Receiving: Alex Akins 1-30 yds 1 TD (PC).
Records: Polk County 6-1; Tellico Plains 0-7.