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Talented Asheville squad awaits Polk in Wolverines’ home opener

Having seen one of the state’s top 2A teams in Shelby, Polk County now gets a look at one of 3A’s best as Asheville rolls into town Friday for the Wolverines’ home opener.

Polk County opened its season with a look at one of the leading contenders for a state 2A football title.

Now the Wolverines get a chance in Week 2 to see one of the teams expected to be in the mix for a 3A state crown as Asheville rolls into town for Polk County’s home opener, a 7:30 p.m. matchup Friday at Wolverine Stadium. An audio Webcast of the game by broadcasters Ray Henderson and Wayne Auman can be heard here beginning at 6:45 p.m.

The Cougars dominated Hendersonville, albeit an injury-plagued Bearcat squad, in a 49-14 Week 1 victory. Asheville features an explosive running game led by Regis Battle and Reynolds transfer Jave Jones, the standout back who received a scholarship offer from North Carolina prior to his junior season. Jones eventually encountered legal and drug issues during and after that season and left Reynolds last winter for Asheville.

Battle ran for 132 yards and four touchdowns and Jones added 121 yards and three scores in the win over Hendersonville. The Cougars ran for 342 yards on 33 carries in the victory.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but a different challenge from Shelby,” said Polk County head coach Jamie Thompson. The Wolverines suffered a 50-20 loss to the Golden Lions last week. “Asheville is more traditional in that they’re going to get in the I and run the ball. They’re big up front, and a lot of people have them picked to win 3A this year.

“The key for us in stopping those backs is going to be the get them before they get started.”

The Cougar offensive line features 6-5, 285-pound junior Peter Leota, who already has a scholarship offer from Boston College. Leota plays offensive tackle and also at nose guard on defense.

Quarterback Tevin Salters didn’t throw much last week, but was effective when he did, completing 7-of-8 passes for 112 yards.

With Hendersonville starting a freshmen quarterback last week, the Asheville defense thrived, holding the Bearcats to minus-eight yards and no first downs in the first half. Christian Green had 11 tackles to lead the Asheville defense, which recorded five sacks in the win.

Polk County will look to improve its offensive output against Shelby, a game in which the Wolverines generated 156 total yards and committed four turnovers. Tyler Jackson led the Polk offense with 57 yards rushing, with Jamal Wheeler throwing for 26 yards on 6-of-11 attempts.

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