Preseason drills have ended. The scrimmage schedule is complete. Nothing left now for Polk County but to open its regular season.
The Wolverines will do just that Friday at 7:30 p.m. as Chase visits G.M. Tennant Stadium. It marks the third straight season opener between the two schools, with Polk County having won each of the previous two.
Wolverine head coach Bruce Ollis would love to make it three straight in his return to Polk County, the veteran head coach knowing that a season-opening victory is often crucial for later success.
“The opening game is very important as far as charting the course to a great season,” Ollis said. “I don’t think it defines the season. One of the best football teams we had here lost its first three games and then ripped off nine wins in a row.
“You have to be concerned about the psyche of the team and how winning and losing affects them. We’ve done all we can to be victorious, and I think this football team is ready.”
Polk County enters 2017 with seven starters returning on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Chase also returns 12 starters from last season’s 4-7 squad, led by senior quarterback Xavier Williams, who will be the key to the Chase offense.
“He’s a hybrid guy who can beat you with his feet more than his arm,” Ollis said. “They’ve got a fast team. They’ll do a lot of stunting on defense.”
Senior Mike Singletary and junior Tylek Surratt lead the Chase defensive front, which will be looking to slow a Polk County offense led by senior quarterback Dillon Overholt. Overholt sat out Friday’s scrimmage finale at Bessemer City, but backup Avery Edwards moved the team effectively against both Bessemer City and Cherryville.
Overholt, Edwards and the rest of the Wolverines will take the field for the first time under Ollis after playing the past three seasons for Jamie Thompson, now Polk County’s defensive coordinator. Ollis doesn’t expect that to be a factor in Friday’s game.
“I think all of that goes away because of the relationship Jamie had with the players,” Ollis said. “They still care about him and that’s a plus for us. This is also the first time Jamie has coached these kids on defense, and they’ve actually got more to learn on defense than offense. We’ve worked on a lot of multiple looks on defense.”
All of that work will be put to the test before a home crowd on a warm August evening as the 2017 season, finally, has arrived.
“We’ve scrimmaged four different teams and had a lot of success,” Ollis said. “Certainly, this is a very important game because it’s our next game. We want to start off with a win.”
CHASE AT POLK COUNTY
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Season opener for both schools.
Series history: Polk County leads 6-4.
Last meeting: It took two overtimes for Polk County to eke out a 34-28 win its its season opener at Chase. Dillon Overholt’s 11-yard run in the second overtime earned a win for the Wolverines.
Players to Watch: Surratt returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in last season’s game and will be a factor up front for Chase. . . At 5-9, 220, sophomore center Tragen Moore gives the Trojans a burly presence up the middle