The WMYA-TV crew huddled in the G.M. Tennant Stadium press box early Friday evening and bemoaned the first two contests on their 2022 broadcast schedule.
“We’ve had running clocks in both games,” someone noted. “This one should be much more exciting.”
TV wish, granted.
A long, warm evening in Tennant Stadium definitely never lacked for excitement, with West Henderson scoring three times in the fourth quarter to rally for a 40-26 victory over Polk County.
The night began on a high for Polk (1-2), which took an early lead and celebrated senior Angus Weaver becoming the school’s career rushing leader on a first-quarter carry. But the undefeated Falcons (3-0) refused to play the accomodating guest as Lucas Kachilo threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to spark West’s win.
Polk scored three touchdowns in a span of four offensive plays to take a 21-7 advanatge in the second quarter, and it appeared the Wolverines might have no problems matching the Falcons’ high-octane offense.
But after that scoring flurry, Polk would only get points from a safety and a field goal, having one other touchdown negated by a penalty and failing to convert a couple of other opportunities. That would eventually doom the Wolverines’ chances in the final 12 minutes.
“We really played so well early,” said Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis. “We were oppotunistic and made some big plays. But we had a couple of scores called back due to penalties and that certainly hurt us. We gave up some big plays on third and fourth downs that wound up biting us a little bit.
“This one hurts more than last week because I felt like we played a lot harder, and I think our players hurt a little more because of it.”
The Wolverines led 26-19 midway through the third period when a fourth-down stop began to turn momentem in favor of the Falcons. Polk failed to convert a fourth-and-4 at the Falcon 45, and West capitalized with an eight-play, 54-yard drive capped by Kachilo’s 14-yard touchdown toss to Lawson Sullivan on the first play of the fourth quarter, evening the game at 26-26.
The Wolverines responded with another drive and moved inside the West 40 before a fumble stopped that threat. The Polk defense stopped the Falcons from scoring on their next possession despite West reaching the Wolverine 1, but the Falcons forced a punt and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:55 left in the game, a 38-yard Carson Dimsdale scamper setting up Kachilo’s 1-yard plunge that made it 33-26.
Polk was stopped inches short on a fourth-down play on its ensuing drive, and the Falcons added an insurance score as Kachilo scrambled around on fourth-and-8 at the Polk 30 before finding Dimsdale alone near the Wolverine sideline, the junior then rumbling downfield and to the end zone.
“(West) is one of the most improved football teams I’ve seen,” Ollis said. “They are really good. They’ve got a great scheme. Quarterback’s elusive, the running back runs really hard and they get the ball to (Truitt Manuel) on the edge and he’s like a tailback out in the open field.”
The opening quarter and a half belonged to Polk. The Wolverines took the opening kickoff and drove 58 yards in 10 plays, with Weaver sprinting 19 yards to the end zone at the 6:49 mark. Logan Nodine’s extra point made it 7-0 in Polk’s favor.
Mackus Simpson stopped a West scoring threat on the Falcons’ first possession, forcing Kachilo to fumble and then recovering the dropped ball at the Polk 25, all after losing his helmet. On the next play, Casey Beiler connected with Keaundrae Green on a deep passs downfield, with Green hauling in the toss a step behind a defender and racing to the end zone. Nodine’s point after made it 14-0, Polk, with 2:58 left in the first period.
An interception on the Wolverines’ next offensive snap led to West’s first score, but Weaver immediately answered with a 71-yard touchdown jaunt through the Falcon defense. Nodine’s kick made it 21-7 with 11:12 left in the second period.
And then things began to go awry for the Wolverine offense. A bad snap at the Falcon 18 stopped one scoring threat. A holding call negated a 52-yard Green touchdown reception just after Polk got two points on a safety thanks to a bad snap on West’s end. The canceled score left the Wolverines up 23-19 at halftime.
Polk had first-and-goal at the 8 on its first drive of the third quarter, but had to settle for a 20-yard Nodine field goal for what proved to be its final points.
But while the ensuing minutes and result did not prove to be what Polk hoped, say this for the Wolverines – they were in position to win late in the fourth quarter against a larger school that dressed almost twice as many players. With rival Landrum coming to Tennant Stadium next week, that’s something on which Polk can build and point to with pride in the days ahead.
“They call it Labor Day for a reason. You got to show up and go to work and that’s what we’ll do,” Ollis said. “We did a lot of good tonight. Just got to do a little bit more and a little bit better.
‘I hope the fans will hang in there with us. The Wolverines will come back, I’ll assure you.”
WEST HENDERSON 40, POLK COUNTY 26
West Henderson 0 19 0 21 — 40
Polk County 14 9 3 0 — 26
PC – Angus Weaver 19 run (Logan Nodine kick), 6:49
PC – Keaundre Green 75 pass from Casey Beiler (Nodine kick), 2:58
WH – Truitt Manuel 2 pass from Lukas Kachilo (Irbin Villafuerte kick), 11:12
PC – Weaver 71 run (Nodine kick), 8:10
WH – Kachilo 7 run (kick failed), 6:47
WH – Manuel 8 pass from Kachilo (pass failed), 3:16
PC – Safety
PC – Nodine 20 FG, 8:55
WH – Lawson Sullivan 14 pass from Kachilo (Villafuerte kick), 11:54
WH – Kachilo 1 run (kick good), 2:55
WH – Carson Dimsdale 30 pass from Kachilo (Villafuerte kick), 1:10
WH – Carson Dimsdale 16-127, Lucas Kachilo 14-42, Truitt Manuel 3-27, Tayman Howell 1-1, Jackson Lynn 1-0, Team 2-(-13). PC – Angus Weaver 12-139, Karlen McEntyre 4-0, Keaundrae Green 1-(-1), Mackus Simpson 1-(-1), Casey Beiler 5-(-30), Team 1-(-18).
WH – Lucas Kachilo 21-31-228-0, Truitt Manuel 0-1-0-0. PC – Casey Beiler 12-21-174-2.
WH – Cameron Banks 5-84, Truitt Manuel 7-63, Carson Dimsdale 3-40, Tyler Nash 3-24, Lawson Sullivan 1-14, Cameron Banks 2-3. PC – Keaundrae Green 4-93, Antonio Simpson 4-28, Angus Weaver 1-22, Lawson Carter 1-19, Vincent Twitty 1-10, Karlen McEntyre 1-2.