As he sat in the terminal at LaGuardia Airport, waiting for a flight back to Polk County, Wolverine head football coach Bruce Ollis noticed a strange number calling his cell phone.
Ollis decided to go against his normal practice and answer it.
“It was Andre Kates, Dre Kates,” Ollis said. “He started talking about himself and said he was the head football coach at National Christian Academy. He said was looking for some good competition and heard we had a good competitive program and were looking for a game.
“They’re a good team and very well-coached. It’ll be good for our program.”
The Maryland-based squad will fly to Polk County for the Wolverines’ home opener on August 24, one of six home games on Polk County’s 2018 football schedule.
Kates, a former junior college standout who briefly played with the Baltimore Ravens, was hired in 2016 to turn NCA’s program into a national powerhouse. The Eagles, located in Fort Washington, Md., finished 9-2 last season.
NCA features a handful of Division I recruits, including 6-5, 305-pound senior lineman Will Harrod, who has scholarship offers from Michigan, Virginia Tech and South Carolina among others; junior Aaryn Park, a 6-5, 315-pound lineman who has offers from Rutgers, Michigan and Virginia, also among others, and 6-1 junior cornerback Josh Moten, who has offers from Oklahoma, Penn State, North Carolina, Wake Forest and a dozen other schools.
“Our players are excited about it,” Ollis said. “It’s always fun to play a team that you’re not familiar with. It’s like the playoffs in that respect. I think it’s going to be a positive for us win, lose or draw.”
The Wolverines open the season at Chase on Aug. 17. The schedule includes four straight home games beginning Sept. 21 and includes an Oct. 26 home game with Mountain Heritage that will be televised regionally, marking the first time Polk County will play on TV on Friday night.
The complete 2018 varsity schedule:
|Aug. 17||at Chase||7:30 p.m|
|Aug. 24||National Christian Academy (12th Man Night)||7:30 p.m|
|Aug. 31||at R-S Central||7:30 p.m|
|Sept. 14||at East Henderson||7:30 p.m|
|Sept. 21||Pisgah (Youth Football Night)||7:30 p.m|
|Sept. 28||East Rutherford||7:30 p.m|
|Oct. 5||Owen (Cancer Awareness Night)||7:30 p.m|
|Oct. 12||Avery (Homecoming)||7:30 p.m|
|Oct. 19||at Mitchell||7:30 p.m|
|Oct. 26||Mountain Heritage (TV Game/Senior Night)||7 p.m|
|Nov. 2||at Madison||7:30 p.m|
The complete 2018 junior varsity schedule:
|Aug. 23||at Southside Christian||7 p.m|
|Aug. 30||R-S Central||7 p.m|
|Sept. 13||East Henderson||7 p.m|
|Sept. 20||at Pisgah||7 p.m|
|Sept. 27||at East Rutherford||7 p.m|
|Oct. 4||at Owen||7 p.m|
|Oct. 11||at Avery||7 p.m|
|Oct. 18||Mitchell||7 p.m|
|Oct. 25||at Mountain Heritage||7 p.m|
|Nov. 1||Madison||7 p.m.|