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Hits come tumbling down as Wolverines greet midnight hour

Polk County’s football program held its traditional Midnight Madness practice early Saturday morning to mark the start of allowed full contact, rolling through a crisp 90-minute session at G.M. Tennant Stadium.

The sunlight that finally returned Friday afternoon to the Thermal Belt helped grow some live football.

Polk County’s football program held its traditional Midnight Madness practice early Saturday morning to mark the start of allowed full contact, rolling through a crisp 90-minute session at G.M. Tennant Stadium.

A healthy mix of fans, family and friends patiently waited for midnight to arrive, with Polk County’s varsity players doing the same while stretching on Miller Field. The hour finally arrived, allowing the Wolverines their first full contact since the start of preseason practice. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association mandates six days of official practice must be held before any body-to-body contact is allowed.

Thus on the seventh day, they hit.

“I think there was a lot of energy out here tonight by our players,” said Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis. “There was a lot of anticipation about getting after it for the first time.

“I was so pleased with the number of fans that came out tonight. It was a quality evening. Certainly wasn’t perfect, but certainly there’s a lot more to be happy about than to be sad.

Polk players ran through a series of contact drills before closing practice with a series of 11-on-11 plays. The Wolverines’ returning backfield of quarterback Avery Edwards, halfback Elijah Sutton and fullback Bryson Seay ripped off several long runs early in the session, with backup quarterback Tyler Staley fashioning a long drive near the end.

Polk County fullback Bryson Seay finds room to run during a drill Saturday morning in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

The Wolverine defense flashed its mettle with late interceptions by Shane Parris and Mitchell Yoder.

“Our running game looked awfully good,” Ollis said. “I think we ripped off about two or three touchdowns right off the bat. Tyler Staley, at quaterback with our second group, was really impressive.

“We did a lot of good. I was really pleased.”

The midnight workout begins the start of a busy week for Polk’s program. The Wolverine 12th Man will hold its kickoff celebration on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Parker Binns Vineyard, with tickets available at the door. Cost is $100 for two people, which includes food and drinks, live usic and a chance to win several prizes, including a $1,000 grand prize.

The Wolverines will returning to Tennant Stadium on Wednesday at 6 p.m., hosting a scrimmage with Hendersonville, Cherokee and Southside, S.C. Polk will then travel Friday to Cherryville for its final preseason scrimmage.

The Wolverines open the regular season on August 18 at Chase.

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