Near-perfect first half propels Polk to 50-6 rout of East Henderson
Polk County won the coin toss Friday night and didn’t lose much thereafter, either.
The Wolverines put together a dominant first half in all phases of the game, building a 43-0 halftime lead en route to a 50-6 defeat of East Henderson at G.M. Tennant Stadium.
In fashioning their biggest margin of victory in six years, Polk County (4-0) set a school record for fewest rushing yards allowed and played a first half almost as well as could be done.
The Wolverines scored on every offensive possession, returned a kick for a score, had a long punt return to set up another, recorded a safety, had two interceptions and held East Henderson to one total yard. Thanks to a handful of sacks, the Eagles finished with 17 rushing attempts for minus-40 yards, easily breaking Polk County’s previous best of -8 yards set in 2014 against R-S Central.
“We executed about as well as we could,” said Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis. “The ball bounced our way, we threw the ball well, we blocked and tackled about as well as we can. You put that all together and it will give you a 43-0 score at the half.
“I’m really pleased with the way we maintained our focus in the first half, even as coaches. You can’t help but feel for the guy on the other side of the field because we’ve all been there. We were there at Mount Airy a couple of years ago.”
Polk County stopped East Henderson on its first drive and forced a punt, taking possession at midfield. The Wolverines needed seven plays to score, with Angus Weaver bursting up the middle for a 17-yard scoring run. Matias Akers added the point after for a 7-0 lead.
Jordan Bishop’s 46-yard punt return on East’s next possession gave Polk the ball at the Eagle 17. On second down, Jergenson rolled to his right and found Gage McSwain open at the goal line, the 8-yard pass and Akers’ extra point making it 14-0 with 1:24 left in the period.
Chase McSwain intercepted an East pass on its first play, giving the Wolverines the ball at the 29. A play later, Jergenson found Bishop running free up the left seam and hit him for a 27-yard touchdown pass. Akers added the point after for a 21-0 margin with 40 seconds left in the first.
Angus Weaver opened the second quarter with a sack of Gavin Gosnell in the back of the end zone, upping the lead to 23-0. On the ensuing free kick, Gage McSwain bobbled the kickoff, scooped it up and weaved his way through East’s kick coverage team for an 83-yard scoring return. Akers’ extra point at the 11:36 mark ended a flurry in which the Wolverines scored 23 points in a span of 1:48.
“We knew going in that we probably were the better team and that if we executed well we could come out on top, but we didn’t know it would go like that,” Ollis said. “We got after it. I’m pleased with our physicality.”
Polk added two more scores in the second period, with McSwain scoring on a 24-yard run with 7:01 left and a Steven Chupp interception setting up a short drive capped by Bishop’s 4-yard run with 55 seconds left in the half.
The Wolverines fumbled on their first possession of the second half, and East took advantage as Gosnell fired a 28-yard strike to Brent Burleson late in the third period. Polk responded with a 48-yard scoring drive that ended in Lukas Tipton’s 4-yard run for the final points of the night.
Jergenson finished 4-for-6 for 65 yards and three touchdowns, with Weaver rushing for 71 yards and a score on six carries. Gosnell finished 11-of-18 for 104 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, with Burleson catching six passes for 74 yards.
The Wolverines have allowed just 12 points in their first four games, the lowest four-game opening stretch in school history. That mark will be tested next week when Hendersonville’s explosive offense visits in a game that will be broadcast on local television.
“Being 4-0 is a big deal for us,” Ollis said. “And we’ve got anotehr big game here next Friday.”
PC – Angus Weaver 17 run (Matias Akers kick), 4:42
PC – Gage McSwain 8 pass from Bryce Jergenson (Akers kick), 1:24
PC – Jordan Bishop 27 pass from Jergenson (Akers kick), :40
PC – Safety (Weaver), 11:56
PC – McSwain 83 kick return (kick failed), 11:36
PC – McSwain 24 run (Akers kick), 7:01
PC – Bishop 4 run (Akers kick)
EH – Brent Burleson 28 pass from Gavin Gosnell (run failed), 4:53
PC – Lukas Tipton 4 run (Akers kick), 10:23
EH – Tovaris Jenkins 1-1, Mason Green 10-(-9), Gavin Gosnell 6-(-32). PC – Angus Weaver 6-71, Lukas Tipton 9-54, Gage McSwain 5-50, Bryce Jergenson 5-25, Jordan Bishop 3-5, Tyler Staley 1-(-2).
EH – Gavin Gosnell 11-18-104-2. PC – Bryce Jergenson 4-6-65-0.
EH – Brent Burleson 6-74, Garrett Adkinson 3-26, Tanner Allison 2-4. PC – Jordan Bishop 1-27, Angus Weaver 1-18, Bryson Jackson 1-12, Gage McSwain 1-8.