Football season shifts into high gear Thursday in Polk County as the Wolverine junior varsity squad and Polk County Middle School make their season debuts.

Coming off an unbeaten season and Blue Ridge Middle School Conference division title, Polk County Middle will host Waynesville Middle at 5 p.m. The game is a rematch of last season’s Blue Ridge Conference title game, in which Waynesville stopped a late Polk Middle drive to secure a 24-22 win.

The Polk County junior varsity will travel to Asheville for a 7 p.m. game. The opener is also the first outing for new junior varsity head coach Ethan Edwards.

“I think we’re going to be better than usual, even though we’ve got such small numbers,” Edwards said. “We’ve given the varsity a lot of our sophomores.

“But I’m looking for us to be better than we normally are. Our skill players will probably be the highlight of our offense.”

Zane Johnson returns at quarterback for the Polk JVs, with freshman Arnie Twitty expected to play a key role at tailback.

“Defensively, we’re pretty solid,” Edwards said. “I don’t know that we’ve got any standouts, but we’re going to be pretty solid overall.”