Five things to know as Polk County celebrates Senior Night in G.M. Tennant Stadium and welcomes Chase in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference matchup.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Polk County (4-3, 3-0) had a bye after cruising two weeks ago to a 43-12 victory over R-S Central. Chase (4-3, 1-2) suffered a tough 28-21 loss to Brevard.
Back in action: Polk County will suit up for its regular-season home finale after enjoying a week off.
Despite owning all kinds of momentum with a three-game winning streak, Wolverine head coach Dustin Fry said the bye week came at a perfect time.
“We were able to rest some of our high-rep guys, we were able to get some of our younger guys a lot of reps last week,” Fry said. “That was good. I think they were a lot more fresh coming back in.
“I felt like it was the right time for the break. You could definitely lose momentum, but I don’t sense any of that. Practices have been good.”
Much on the line: Polk County heads into its final three games of the regular season tied with Brevard for first place in the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference.
Friday’s matchup with the defending conference champion Trojans is the start of what’s easily the Wolverines’ biggest stretch of the season.
“Coming in Monday, I think they needed to realize what’s on the table for us and what’s at stake,” Fry said. “I think it’s easy for them to say, ‘Just another week, here we go,’ rather than ‘this is what we’re playing for.’
“We have an opportunity to win the next three games. Or lose the next three. The first thing is that we need to win one more so we can get a first seed in the playoffs. After that, they have an opportunity to possibly win the conference. So that was my messaging on Monday – these opportunities don’t come around often, and you’ve got to seize them and you’ve got to take advantage of them.
“Now is not the time to get complacent with our preparation. Right now is a time to really walk in and focus and take each of these weeks as a one-game season.”
New face at the helm: Chase starting quarterback Turner McSwain missed last week’s game, with junior Zac Frashier getting the start and nearly leading the Trojans to a win.
Frashier finished 8-for-13 for 52 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he ran for 104 yards on 15 carries, becoming the third Chase player with a 100-yard rushing game this season.
McSwain, who had thrown for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first six games, unofficially isn’t expected to play Friday night.
Chasing ground success: The Trojans have thrived on the ground in recent seasons, and that has also been the case thus far in 2023.
Chase is averaging almost 200 yards rushing per game, with junior Dazion Murray leading the way (76-604-6). Senior Cade Davis will also see action in the backfield.
“They’re having to switch over a little bit with the loss of their quarterback, and I think they’re trying to find what their identity is now,” Fry said. “I’m sure they’ll have some new wrinkles for us.
“A run-first team. For the most part, since the Landrum game, we’ve done a good job stopping the run and playing the old bend, but don’t break. We say each week that if stop the run, we’ll win the football game.”
Big-play threat: Chase took a 48-27 win in last year’s meeting thanks in large part to five touchdown plays of 50 yards or longer.
A threat to produce similar kind of explosive feats this week is Chase junior wide receier Jhari Mosley. Mosley has scored seven touchdowns and is averaging 16 yards per reception, with 34 grabs for 543 yards. He’a also carried the ball 22 times for 159 yards with six scores, accounting for 13 of the Trojans’ 31 touchdowns.
Mosley had six catches for 150 yards and four touchdowns in Chase’s 40-19 win over Hendersonville.