Five things to know as Polk County hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Mills River to face West Henderson.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. The game will also air live on NFHS Network.
Last week: West Henderson put together a dominant effort on both sides of the ball to thump Hendersonville 44-0. Tuscola rallied in the fourth quarter to nip Polk County, 29-23.
Tenacious D: West Henderson’s defense has been key to its 2-0 start, the Falcons aggressively keeping opponents in check.
West has recorded 10 sacks in its first two wins, with linebacker Tyler Nash notching three of those. Fellow linebacker Eben Mann has two sacks and is a key presence on defense.
The defensive pressure has also forced opponents into five interceptions, with Truitt Manuel and Jude Lyda each grabbing two.
Passing fancy: West will line up in a one-back spread formation and isn’t afraid to let senior quarterback Lyda go to the air.
Lyda is 13-of-34 for 218 yards and four touchdowns in his first two games, with sophomore Cade Young going 10-for-11 for 148 yards and a score.
The 6-2 Manuel is the team’s leading receiver with 11 catches for 201 yards and two scores and may well be one of the top all-around athletes in the area – he’s already committed to play baseball at North Carolina State and helped lead the Falcons to the state 3A championship last season.
Receiver Diego Castro has nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
In a rush: Senior Carson Dimsdale is the primary factor in West’s rushing attack, with 46 carries for 219 yards and six touchdowns.
Dimsdale ran for 120 yards and a score in West Henderson’s 40-26 win last season at Polk County. He’s already had games of 24 and 22 carries – expect to see plenty of him with the ball again this week.
Block party: That Polk County senior Antonio Simpson blocked a late Tuscola field goal attempt last week should have come as no surprise.
The deflected kick was Simpson’s fourth blocked field goal in his Polk County career. He also has a blocked punt in his career.
“Go get it Tony” is a common cry from the Polk County sidelines when opponents line up for field goals and punts. Simpson has been doing just that.
Youngsters of note: Polk County has gotten good linebacker play thus far from a pair of underclassmen. Freshman Styler Blackwell shares the team lead with 15 tackles (Simpson also has 15), with sophomore linebacker Zalen McCraw recording 10 tackles. Sophomore defensive back Nolan Simpson also has 10 tackles.
Wolverine head coach Dustin Fry expects freshman Sawyer Huff to be available to play Friday. Huff, who has battled an injury since the preseason, is expected to initially contribute at tight end and may also see action defensively.