Polk Middle blanks Canton in tournament opener

Polk County Middle’s boys soccer team held a three-goal halftime lead Wednesday, but Wolverine head coach Lennox Charles knew that margin offered no chance to perhaps relax.

“It could have been 3-3 at halftime,” Charles said. “They had several good chances in the first half.”

But the Wolverine defense kept Canton Middle off the scoreboard in the first half and did so again in the second, leading to a 4-0 Polk County win in the opening round of the Blue Ridge Conference tournament.

The Wolverines (8-5) advance to face the winner of the Macon-Flat Rock quarterfinal match, with location and date to still be determined.

Brinson Ashworth had two first-half goals as Polk Middle grabbed that 3-0 halftime advantage. Ashworth’s first score came in the seventh minute as Blake Anderson dribbled past a Canton defender on the right wing and hit a perfect cross to Ashworth, who converted the opportunity.

Anderson next scored for the Wolverines a few minutes later, grabbing a loose ball as Canton’s goalkeeper deflected a Wyatt Highsmith shot and striking it into the net.

Ashworth and Anderson then teamed again for the final goal of the half in the 22nd minute, with Ashworth again turning an Anderson pass into a tally.

Meanwhile, the Wolverine defense and goalkeeper Charlie Wagoner stayed busy keeping the Bears (2-8) off the scoreboard. Wagoner especially delivered a key stop early in the half on a point-blank drive.

“That was a big save,” Charles said. “We were up just 1-0, I think, and that kept them from scoring.”

Polk Middle picked up its final goal in the second half as Hunter Ledford struck a shot on goal that deflected off a Canton defender and into the net.

“We had some other chances in the second half and couldn’t put those away,” Charles said. “The score looks like we had an easy time, but that was a lot tougher match because of how good they were offensively than the score shows.

“We played really hard and at times we played very well. We were effective.”