Future Polk County teams could be competing again at the 1A level, depending upon how the NCHSAA decides to structure the next realignment. YYY

Polk County’s reward for matching up with possibly two of the best football teams in the western half of North Carolina?

A road trip Friday to face an undefeated R-S Central squad.

But first-year Wolverine head coach Jamie Thompson knew that Polk County would face a challenge in its non-conference schedule, and a weekend removed from Friday’s 49-28 loss to Asheville, Thompson still thinks the early-season battles with the Cougars and Shelby will bring benefits later this season.

“They say steel sharpens steel,” Thompson said Monday after Polk’s first practice of the week. “I hope it is helping our kids grow up. They’ve seen two good football teams now, so they know what a good football team looks like.”

And the Wolverines may be turning into exactly that. Down 35-0 in the third quarter of Friday’s game, Polk County got its second-half momentum kicked into gear with a 98-yard kickoff return by junior Jamal Wheeler. That play seemed to energize Polk County, who cut Asheville’s lead to 42-28 in the latter half of the fourth quarter and had an onside kick attempt in an effort to draw even closer.

“When you have a young team, you need something good to happen, and that kickoff return was it,” Thompson said. “After that we started rolling more on offense and made some stops defensively. The kids started believing in themselves.”

INJURY UPDATE: Thompson said he doesn’t expect linemen Alex Leake or Will Justice to return to action this week.

All other Wolverines are expected to be ready to go by Friday.


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