Wolverines hope to make most of chances in returning home to face Pisgah

Opportunity keeps knocking for Polk County. Head football coach Bruce Ollis is ready to open the door and answer.

A handful of plays are all that stand between Polk County and a 3-1 start rather than the 1-3 record that the Wolverines bring Friday into G.M. Tennant Stadium for a non-conference clash with Pisgah. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Polk County will honor its 2018 state 1A boys track and field championship team and girls 4×400-meter relay state champions during a halftime ceremony.

In its first trip to Tennant Stadium, Pisgah (4-1) will bring a defense that hadn’t allowed more than 13 points to an opponent prior to last week’s 41-7 loss to Greeneville (Tenn.), the defending Tennessee 4A state champions.

Ollis and staff barely even watched film of that game – “An aberation, a game like our National Christian game” – but have instead focused on the Bears’ effort during a 4-0 start that included wins over Murphy and Tuscola.

“They’re just a solid, hard-nosed, get-after-you kind of team,” Ollis said. “Offensively, they’re going to give you a bunch of formations and make you adjust to those, then run the same plays out of each and try to get you out of position.

“Defensively, they’re kind of similar to East Henderson in that they’ll run an even front with eight in the box. We saw that last week and ran for 350 yards, and that’s going to be the key to victory for us offensively.”

Senior Tanner Wike, who had six touchdowns as a quarterback in Pisgah’s 49-28 win last season, is now a Bear wide receiver, catching pass from sophomore quarterback Korey Griffith. Equally troubling for opposing defenses is 6-5 senior tight end Kam Walker, a North Carolina State recruit.

“He looks 6-9 on film.,” Ollis joked. “He’s committed to North Carolina State, and he certainly has the physical tools to be a Division I player.

“They’re explosive offensively and very adept at throwing the ball over the top.”

Polk County has been able to move the ball on the ground since switching to a double-slot formation, but the Wolverines have struggled with scoring points in what Ollis calls the “green zone,” the area inside the 20-yard line. Compounding those struggles are turnovers; Polk has committed miscues in each of its last two losses inside the 10.

“We told the players after the game Friday night (a 20-13 loss at East Henderson) that we did enough things well to win,” Ollis said. “We’ve got to find a way when we get the ball in the green zone or the scoring zone to finish. We’ve rushed the ball for over 600 yards in the last two games. That should equal two wins.

“We’ve got to get more locked in, ore focused and more accountable for what we are doing individually so that we can be a better team.”