Polk County's Styler Blackwell (23) and Sawyer Huff lead a gang of tacklers taking down R-S Central's Levi Vogel

Polk County’s defense more than did its job Friday.

Option-based offenses often cause headaches for opposing defenses, especially in this era when teams don’t see the option that often. But the Wolverines found the answer to stopping R-S Central, holding the Hilltoppers to 96 total yards in a 43-12 victory on Homecoming Night in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

The effort gave Polk County (4-3, 3-0) a three-game winning streak heading into next week’s open date, kept the Wolverines tied for first in the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference and sent a large Homecoming crowd home very happy.

“Four and three, three and oh in conference, I think when we were walking out after the Landrum game if you would have said, hey, this is what you got, I would have paid for it,” said Polk County head coach Dustin Fry. “It’s definitely good shape to be in.”

Polk County scored on all four of its first-half possessions, including time-chewing drives of 10 and 13 plays against an R-S Central defense that often dropped eight into coverage in an effort to slow the Wolverine passing game. Quarterback Lawson Carter ran for three of those scores, often finding room to scramble with defenders spread all over the field.

The Hilltoppers (1-5, 0-3), meanwhile, struggled to generate anything offensively as Polk County checked its attack at every turn. R-S Central managed just two first downs in the first half and barely dented the Wolverines’ side of the field.

“A very good defensive effort,” Fry said. “The big thing was stopping the run. Obviously, after last week (when Hendersonville’s Hezzie Rudisill rushed for 315 yards), we just spent a lot of time working on that veer blocking and staying sound and playing pitch and quarterback, and they did a really good job.

“We know what kind of running back Karlen (McEntyre) is, and to be able to hold those guys down a little bit, that was really nice to see. Very happy with the defense.”

Polk County quarterback Lawson Carter rushed for three touchdowns in the first half to give the Wolverines a 28-0 lead at the break

The first half largely unfolded into a pattern of Hilltopper punts and Polk touchdowns. The four Wolverine drives:

  • 10 plays, 60 yards. Carter teamed with Keaundrae Green for a 26-yard pass play and eventually scored on a 14-yard scramble.
  • 13 plays, 92 yards, 5:35 of clock. Loreynzo Sanchez had an 18-yard run and Carter ran for 21 yards to help move the Wolverines away from its end zone. Polk converted a fourth-and-1 at the 18 and Antonio Simpson made a diving catch on 3rd-and-9 at the 14 to set up Carter’s 9-yard scoring run.
  • 8 plays, 56 yards. Passes to Simpson, Green and Nolan Simpson led to a Sanchez 1-yard score.
  • 5 plays, 46 yards. A Sanchez 16-yard run and another Simpson catch on 3rd-and-8 at the 13 led to Carter’s 1-yard plunge.

The third quarter proved the only negative for the Wolverines as Polk committed two fumbles, with another early in the fourth quarter. Both turnovers led to R-S Central’s two touchdowns. Polk did add one score in the period on a short pass to Antonio Simpson that turned into a 57-yard catch-and-run to the end zone.

“Very disappointed in our third quarter,” Fry said. “We can’t win this conference playing third quarters like that. We can’t come out lethargic. Three turnovers, two touchdowns off turnovers. It’s a great win, but that kind of sticks in my side to come out flat like that.”

The Wolverines capped the scoring in the fourth quarter with a Sanchez 1-yard run – Antonio Simpson had two catches in that drive and finished with nine receptions for a season-high 166 yards – and a safety when R-S Central’s punter stepped on the back line while receiving a snap.

McEntyre, who entered averaging 101 yards per game, finished with just 13 yards on six carries. Marcus Logan led R-S with 72 yards on nine attempts, with 45 of those coming on one run.

Polk County will now take a week off before preparing for its final regular-season home game on October 13 against Chase.

“It’s a nice victory,” Fry said. “To be 1-3, and then be 4-3 going into your bye week, I can’t ask for anything more than that.”

POLK COUNTY 43, R-S CENTRAL 12
R-S Central 0 0 12 0 — 12
Polk County 7 21 7 8 — 43

FIRST QUARTER
PC – Lawson Carter 14 run (Billy Booker kick), 7:12

SECOND QUARTER
PC – Carter 9 run (Booker kick), 11:50
PC – Loreynzo Sanchez 1 run (Booker kick), 4:28
PC – Carter 1 run (Booker kick), 1:02

THIRD QUARTER
RS – Boone Hodge 2 run (Max Lozano kick), 6:26
PC – Antonio Simpson 57 pass from Carter (Booker kick), 5:48
RS – Karlen McEntyre 3 run (run failed), 3:05

FOURTH QUARTER
PC – Sanchez 1 run (kick failed), 4:00
PC – Safety, punter stepped out of end zone, 1:40

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING

RS – Marcus Logan 9-72, Karlen McEntyre 6-13, Kendall McEntyre 3-8, Levi Vogel 5-6, Elijah Guzman 2-2, Boone Hodge 9-1, Reagan Holley 1-(-6). PC – Loreynzo Sanchez 24-113, Lawson Carter 9-58, Donte Tingling 2-9, Styler Blackwell 3-3, Team 1-(-5).

PASSING
RS – Boone Hodge 0-6-1-0, Elmer Littlejohn 0-1-0-0. PC – Lawson Carter 14-23-0-222.

RECEIVING
PC – Antonio Simpson 9-166, Keaundrae Green 4-47, Nolan Simpson 1-9.