A game on live regional television plus Senior Night – Polk County’s football team already had a few distractions to consider this week even before a change of game date.

But when the Wolverines take the field Thursday for their final regular-season home game of the season, a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against Mountain Heritage that will be televised on WMYA, head coach Bruce Ollis says there will be far more positives involved in each event.

“(The TV game) is a great opportunity for our school to be showcased,” Ollis said. “People can see the great things Polk County High School has to offer, not just the athletics, but the academics and extracurricular activities. I was talking to someone today and telling them that if you come to Polk County Schools, you’re going to get a great education and be prepared for a great college education.

“I don’t consider Senior Night a distraction. It’s a happy, but solemn experience at the same time. Our seniors are playing their last home game, and there are a lot of emotions with that. It’s also the culmination of something in first grade that they probably never thought would happen.”

Once the pregame Senior Night festivities end, the Wolverines will turn their focus toward stopping a Mountain Heritage team that has barely skipped a beat since losing a group of seniors that included Trey Robinson, Western North Carolina’s all-time leading rusher.

The Cougars own a 7-1 mark, including a 3-0 record that leads the Western Highlands Conference. Mountain Heritage has rushed for more than 338 yards per game with a ground game led by seniors Jake Awtrey (103 carries, 796 yards, 9 TDs) and Jacob Mashburn (47-581-6).

Quarterback Callin Randolph doesn’t throw often, but has been efficient, hitting 33-of-65 passes for 640 yards and seven touchdowns.

“They’ve reloaded,” Ollis said. “People said they we’re going to fall off. If they’ve fallen off, it’s not much.”

The Cougars will present another challenge in a season that has been full of them for Polk County. Ollis expects the Wolverines to be ready.

“I expect a great effort by our team, especially it being Senior Night,” he said.