Playing at home. Playing on the road. Playing somewhere.
That’s largely how Saturday fared for Polk County’s football program as it awaited its first-round matchup and location in the state 1AA playoffs. By late afternoon, the Wolverines finally had the news they wanted to hear – an opening-round home game, the program’s first since 2014.
North Rowan will visit G.M. Tennant Stadium on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, and Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis hopes a packed, supportive stadium greets the 8-3 Cavaliers when they arrive.
“Playoff football at home is a special event,” Ollis said. “It’s something we’ve earned. It’s nice to be at home and playing a good football team.”
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association used a new seeding process for this year’s postseason, and an early glitch in the process briefly had Polk County traveling to North Rowan. The corrected pairings set up the matchup of the 8th and 9th seeds in a 1AA West bracket that may be one of the toughest in the state. The winner of Friday’s game will travel in the second round to undefeated Mount Airy.
In addition to the opportunity to play the 8-3 Cavaliers in front of a home crowd, there will be other benefits for Polk County in playing host.
“The number one benefit is concessions,” said Polk County athletic director Rex Wells. “We’re able to sell our concessions and that’s a big chunk for us. We’ll also save on travel.
“It’s just so much better to play at home. With Friday being Veteran’s Day, it will be a good thing for us. It can be a tough day because kids want to sleep in, the kids can wake up late and be groggy, then they have to get on the bus. It’s better for the kids when you can have a regular schedule.”
Since hosting Lexington in the opening round of the 2014 state 2A playoffs, Polk County has traveled to Reidsville, Thomasville and Surry Central, all lengthy trips to challenging environments. Polk County officials hope G.M. Tennant will provide that type of setting on Friday.
“It’s so much nicer when you don’t have to crawl onto a bus and ride for three hours like we did last year,” Wells said.