Polk County ran 24 offensive plays and scored 50 points Friday, exactly the efficient, effective effort the Wolverines hoped to have.
Polk County thrilled a Homecoming crowd at G.M. Tennant Stadium with a firm dispatch of Madison, scoring on every possession en route to a 50-6 victory in the Western Highlands Conference opener for both teams.
No more odd statistic tells the story of the game than this – Polk County ran 11 offensive plays in the first quarter and just 13 in the final three. The Wolverines scored on five of those 13 plays.
It was exactly the type of performance that Polk County, now 7-0 for the first time since 2007, wanted to deliver in its conference opener, especially given the difficult slate that still awaits beginning with next week’s trip to Owen.
“It went according to plan,” said Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis. “We felt like we could play well on both sides of the ball. One of our goals was to be concerned about our execution and the things we do well.
“It was a great Homecoming. We had an incredible crowd here tonight. We need to take a big crowd on the road next week.”
Polk County’s defense again delivered a smothering showing. The Wolverines held Madison to minus-9 yards rushing, the second time this season an opponent has been held to negative rushing yardage, and forced a pair of turnovers, each leading to scores.
Madison quarterback Caden Hilemon, pressured all night, still completed 11-of-19 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, that a 19-yard pass to Peyton Wallace in the final two minutes.
Polk scored on its two drives in the opening quarter, the first a six-play possession that ended in Lukas Tipton’s 7-yard run, the second a five-play drive that ended with Gage McSwain’s 5-yard scamper. The Wolverines led 15-0 after the first.
Steven Chupp intercepted a Madison pass early in the second period to give Polk the ball at the Madison 38, and the Wolverines scored in four plays as Bryce Jergenson tossed a 20-yard pass to McSwain. Madison then fumbled at its 22 on its next drive, Tipton emerging from a pile with the football, and Jergenson completed a 22-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Jordan Bishop on the next play, giving Polk a 29-0 lead.
The Wolverines then scored again on their final possession of the half as Shane Parris took an inside handoff, headed outside and raced 48 yards to the end zone. Matias Akers’ extra point gave Polk a 36-0 lead at the half.
McSwain’s 54-yard kickoff return to open the second half gave Polk the ball at the Madison 29, and the Wolverines scored in two plays, with Nate Henderson also turning an inside handoff into a 10-yard scoring run. After stopping Madison on downs at the Patriot 36, the Wolverines needed just four plays to score again as Henderson rolled over the right side and to the end zone for a 25-yard scoring run.
Thanks to a running clock, a long Madison drive, a few penalties and a lengthy series of events after Madison’s touchdown, the Patriots held the ball for the entire fourth quarter.
“We threw and caught the ball as well as we’ve done all year long,” Ollis said. “It was great to see Shane Parris break one for a long touchdown. We really got Nate Henderson involved in our offense. I think he’ll get more and more reps for us at our ‘A’ back and he’s going to do a great job, which means we’ll be able to rest Jordan Bishop some.”
Jergenson finished 3-for-4 for 77 yards and two touchdowns, with Henderson rushing for 70 yards and two scores on five carries.
“Some of our second-tier players had a chance to go in, and we saw tonight we don’t miss a lot with them when they come in,” Ollis said. “That’s important. They’ll have a chance to go to school Monday with their chest stuck out a little bit, they made a tackle or they made a good run or they made a good catch. That develops depth on our football team.”
Madison 0 0 0 6 — 6
Polk County 15 21 14 0 — 50
PC – Lukas Tipton 7 run (Gage McSwain pass from Tyler Staley), 5:10
PC – McSwain 5 run (Matias Akers kick), :37
PC – McSwain 20 pass from Bryce Jergenson (Akers kick), 10:28
PC – Jordan Bishop 22 pass from Jergenson (Akers kick), 9:09
PC – Shane Parris 48 run (Akers kick), 5:32
PC – Nate Henderson 10 run (Akers kick), 11:10
PC – Henderson 25 run (Akers kick), 3:46
M – Peyton Wallace 19 pass from Caden Hilemon (pass failed), 2:01
M – Peyton Wallace 8-19, Clay Hilemon 6-3, Jose Ramirez 3-0, Elijah Tipton 2-(-4), Caden Hilemon 5-(-27). PC – Nate Henderson 5-70, Shane Parris 1-48, Lukas Tipton 4-23, Angus Weaver 3-23, Cameron Blackwell 3-17, Gage McSwain 3-13, Team 1-0.
M – Caden Hilemon 11-19-1-131. PC – Bryce Jergenson 3-4-0-77.
M – Naz Windley 3-52, Peyton Wallace 3-42, Clay Hilemon 4-30, Tyler Debruhl 1-7. PC – Gage McSwain 2-55, Jordan Bishop 1-22.