For every challenge Polk County posed Friday, Hendersonville had an answer. And then some.
The Bearcats delivered an offensive showing as G.M. Tennant Stadium has rarely seen from an opponent, claiming a 56-25 victory over Polk County in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference matchup.
The Wolverines (3-2, 1-1) struggled with poor field position early, but could never find any type of offensive rhythm against the Bearcats (5-1, 2-0). Junior Angus Weaver rushed for 218 yards despite a large cast covering the broken bone in his left hand, with 150 of those yards coming on two long runs. The Wolverines had 160 yards of total offense on their remaining plays.
The Bearcats, meanwhile, racked up almost 500 total yards and posted the second-highest point total by a Polk opponent in Tennant Stadium, trailing only the 59 points scored by Hendersonville’s 2001 team in a 59-6 win. The Bearcats scored two touchdowns in every quarter plus a 33-yard Cooper King field goal in the opening period.
“We just couldn’t get out of our way sometimes, but I felt like we played hard,” said Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis. “We did some good things, but we didn’t do enough offensively. We needed to possess the ball some and we didn’t do that.
“We gave up too many home runs on defense. We’re not going to be able to give up the deep ball and be competitive with this group. They’re a super, good offensive group.”
Field position and a key turnover helped give Hendersonville a 17-0 lead advantage by late in the first period. The Bearcats had scoring drives of 29, 31 and 20 yards, those set up in order by a good punt return, failed fourth-down attempt near midfield and fumbled kickoff. The Wolverines didn’t have a first down in the period and thus didn’t cross the 50-yard line, meaning nearly the entire quarter was played in Polk’s end of the field.
“I think they put us down inside the 10 the first time and we just couldn’t gain any momentum because of that,” Ollis said. “As a result, we kind of played behind the chains a little bit, and then seemed like every time we turned around they had the ball on our 40 or 35.
“They had some short fields early, and that certainly made it easier for them. But we just didn’t move the ball on offense. We’ve got to make some of our own breaks. We have to pick up the defense a little bit sometimes and we didn’t do that.”
Weaver provided the bright spot offensively for Polk with the third 200-yard rushing game of his career. Ollis thought earlier in the week that Weaver wouldn’t be available offensively, but the junior carried the ball 17 times, breaking a 76-yard run to set up Polk’s first score – Casey Beiler’s 1-yard sneak – and then opening the third period with a similar 74-yard sprint for a touchdown. He added a 14-yard touchdown run on his final carry of the evening.
“Angus Weaver played well, with one arm,” Ollis said. “That says a lot of about his grit, his toughness and his desire to be a football player.”
Up 17 at the end of the first period, Hendersonville added to the lead on a one-play drive, quarterback Gavin Gosnell tossing a long, accurate strike to Eric Rasheed for a 66-yard touchdown midway through the second period. Weaver’s first long run on Polk’s next possession set up Beiler’s plunge, but the Bearcats responded with a 64-yard drive that ended with a Gosnell 10-yard touchdown scramble, building a 29-7 lead that stood at the half.
Weaver’s second long run cut the margin to 29-13 at the start of the third quarter and gave Polk hope for a rally, but the Bearcats quickly blunted those dreams. Gosnell’s 53-yard toss to Lennard Benniefield led to a short Gosnell scoring run, and an interception on Polk’s next drive meant another short field for the Bearcats, who scored on Gosnell’s 18-yard toss to Malik Angram. That pushed the lead to 42-13 and assured Hendersonville would remain undefeated in MF7 play ahead of next week’s anticipated matchup with Chase.
The Wolverines scored twice in the final quarter, once on Weaver’s run, then on Beiler’s 35-yard toss to Antonio Simpson, who turned a short route into a sprint down the Hendersonville sideline to the end zone.
Polk County will celebrate Homecoming next week as R-S Central visits for a 7:30 p.m. matchup.
“We’ll get better, and we’re going to have to get better,” Ollis said. “We’ve got a good football team next week to play right here. We’ll look at the film, analyze our mistakes, hone on what we did well and we’ll be a better football team next Friday.
“We’ve still got a good football team here, and we’re going to continue to work hard and and get better by next week.”
HENDERSONVILLE 56, POLK COUNTY 25
Hendersonville 17 12 13 14 – 56
Polk County 0 7 6 12 – 25
H – Hezzie Rudisill 12 run (Cooper King kick), 7:40
H – King 33 FG, 3:50
H – Rudisill 10 run (King kick), 2:34
H – Eric Rasheed 66 pass from Gavin Gosnell (kick failed), 7:09
PC – Casey Beiler 1 run (Logan Nodine kick), 4:48
H – Gosnell 10 run (kick failed), 3:24
PC – Angus Weaver 74 run (kick failed), 11:42
H – Gosnell 5 run (pass failed), 10:48
H – Malik Angram 18 pass from Gosnell (King kick), 8:12
H – Rudisill 1 run (King kick), 10:48
PC – Weaver 14 run (pass failed), 6:12
H – Angram 11 run (King kick), 1:58
PC – Antonio Simpson 35 pass from Beiler (pass failed), 1:10
Hendersonville: Hezzie Rudisill 17-146, Gavin Gosnell 8-73, Malik Angram 3-17, C.J. Landrum 1-3, Team 2-(-4). Polk County: Angus Weaver 17-218, Karlen McEntyre 4-23, Mackus Simpson 6-22, Steven Chupp 2-8, Keaundrae Green 2-0, Casey Beiler 3-(-5).
Hendersonville: Gavin Gosnell 14-22-0-248; Polk County: Casey Beiler 3-15-1-44.
Hendersonville: Eric Rasheed 5-106, Lennard Benniefield 2-54, Tayshawn Collins 2-50, Malik Angran 3-33, Hezzie Rudisill 2-6.