First win of the season? Great. Beating a rival to earn it? Even better. Driving nearly the length of the field in the final three minutes to do so?
A just-about perfect night for Polk County’s junior varsity.
The Wolverines used six straight running plays to drive 76 yards, scoring what proved to be the winning touchdown with 1:24 remaining in an 18-13 victory Thursday night over Landrum in the home opener at G.M. Tennant Stadium.
Landrum took advantage of a Polk County miscue on special teams, recovering a fumbled punt snap on the 1-yard line, then scoring on the next play to take a 13-12 lead with 4:41 remaining.
The Cardinals recovered a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff, retaining possession in Polk territory. But the Wolverine defense stiffened and knocked down a Landrum fourth-down pass attempt, giving Polk County the ball at its 24 with 2:46 remaining.
Enter Nate Henderson.
The Wolverine ninth grader ripped off gains of 16 and 12 yards before a 32-yard scamper around the right side moved Polk to the Landrum 16. Another Henderson carry, and one by Cameron Blackwell, left Polk facing third-and-3 at the Landrum 9.
Polk quarterback Jordan Bishop bobbled the third-down snap, but kept his composure and got the ball to Henderson, who sidestepped a Landrum defender and sprinted into the end zone to give the Wolverines the lead.
An Evan Miller interception set up Polk County’s first score, a 3-yard run by Shane Parris that capped a 28-yard drive and gave the Wolverines a 6-0 advantage early in the second period. Landrum responded with a touchdown with 3:48 left in the quarter to take a 7-6 lead.
The teams traded possessions, and Polk wound up with the ball deep in its territory with less than a minute remaining. Largely looking to run out the clock in the final seconds, the Wolverines handed the ball off to Henderson, who broke through the Cardinal defense and raced 61 yards to the end zone, scoring with five seconds left in the half and giving Polk a 12-7 advantage at the break.