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Polk County lineman Logan Conner works to clear a path for a running back during the Wolverines' defeat of Avery

Football

Wolverines look to ride momentum of Avery effort to Mitchell

The challenge of a Western Highlands Conference football game at Mitchell is never an easy one for any conference team. But it’s always much easier to prepare for that task following a win

The challenge of a Western Highlands Conference football game at Mitchell is never an easy one for any conference team.

But it’s always much easier to prepare for that task following a win.

Such has been the case this week for Polk County, which travels Friday to face the Mountaineers in a 7:30 p.m. conference kickoff.

It will likely be a subdued environment in Ledger as tragedy struck the Mitchell community this week. Sophomore Seth McKinney, the younger brother of junior football player Tyler McKinney and assistant coach Alex McKinney, died Tuesday from complications of a birth defect.

The school is hosting a service Friday at 2 p.m. to honor McKinney, a junior varsity basketball player who was also ranked No. 1 in the sophomore class.

Against that backdrop, one Polk County knows all too well, football seems secondary. But a game will still be played and the Wolverines will look to upend a Mitchell team (6-2, 1-1) that sits in second place in the conference.

“Mitchell is similar to the team they had a year ago,” said Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis. “They’ve reloaded, to a certain degree.

“They’re similar to us in that they run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. But their quarterback (Noah Pitman) is averaging 23 yards per completion. They’ll lull you to sleep with their running attack and then do a good job getting the ball out vertically.”

Pitman leads the team in rushing (99 carries, 738 yards, six TDs), with senior Landon Miller close behind (97-651-10). Pitman is 36-69 passing for 841 yards and 10 TDs for an offense averaging 373 yards per game.

While Polk County’s defense did surrender more than 400 yards in last week’s 59-27 thumping of Avery, the Wolverines delivered several stops early in the game, including forcing three turnovers.

“I think on the last drive of the first half, we didn’t play well. They convereted a fourth-and-long and a third-and-long,” ollis siad. “Other than that, we really played pretty well. We only gave up one score in the second half and we took the ball away from them some.”

Polk County’s offense will head to Ledger buoyed by a record-setting effort in the Avery win, gaining almost 600 yards and posting the program’s highest point total since the 2013 season in the team’s sixth game since moving to a double-slot attack.

“We’re tweaking it a little bit every week, maybe adding some things here and there,” Ollis said. “We’re not a home run-hitting team right now, but we’re hitting a couple of doubles and triples. The offense continues to evolve very well.

“We made a couple of above-average plays. Mitchell Yoder made some move with the ball in his hands that we hadn’t seen all year.”

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