It might be too early in Polk County’s 2019 season to label anything a statement win.
But Wolverine head coach Josh Trejo definitely felt the manner of Wednesday’s victory over Hendersonville said a few things about his squad.
Polk County once again raced to a quick lead en route to a 5-3 win over a rival Hendersonville squad that has been its nemesis throughout recent seasons.
Though the Bearcats are off to an 0-4-1 start against a difficult schedule, Hendersonville still entered with five straight victories over the Wolverines, a streak begun in the 2015 playoffs.
But Polk (3-0) came out with an aggressive approach from the opening whistle, scoring a goal in the third minute and adding another in the eighth minute to stun a Bearcat squad that also had to play a man down for nearly the entire match after an early red card.
“I don’t really know if the red card in the beginning, how that affected the game. We came out aggressively,” Trejo said.
“In the first half we were wide open, 100 percent. We attacked together and defended together and we were going up and down and up and down the field. That’s something we are continuing to work on.”
Hendersonville’s red card came in the second minute when a Bearcat defender was penalized for a deliberate handball to prevent a goal, leaving the Bearcats with 10 in the lineup for the rest of the evening.
Bearcat goalkeeper Luke Matteson stopped the penalty kick of Matias Akers, but the Wolverines broke through less than a minute later as Isaac Edwards cut between a pair of defenders to create space and drove a shot in the right side of the net, continuing Polk’s streak of scoring at least once in the opening 10 minutes.
The Wolverines tallied again six minutes later, a corner kick and shot from outside the penalty box leading to a deflected ball high in the area. Grayson Jones won the battle in the air, heading the ball into the net to give Polk a quick 2-0 lead.
The Wolverines continued to press and kept the ball in Hendersonville’s end much of the half. That aggressiveness was rewarded in the 23rd minute as Jones raced down the right side and delivered a perfect cross to Edwards, who tapped the pass into the net for a 3-0 advantage.
The Bearcats made it 3-1 in the 32nd minute on a penalty kick, but Edwards completed a first-half hat trick with just over a minute remaining with a cross-field blast, giving the Wolverines a 4-1 lead at the half.
Polk again struck quickly in the second half as Akers, who led a solid Wolverine effort in midfield, gained possession of a loose ball near the top of the penalty area, pushed to his right past a defender and cut a shot back to his left that found the back of the net.
Hendersonville made a late push, scoring a pair of goals in the waning minutes, but the Wolverines were able to stop the rally to end four years of Bearcat frustration.
Polk County travels Thursday to face perhaps the top team in Western North Carolina in T.C. Roberson.
“Now we’re 3-0 and the boys are super stoked,” Trejo said. “We came into this year and had something to prove and right now they are proving it.”
Hendersonville posted a 4-0 victory in junior varsity action.