A number of new schools fill Polk County’s 2021 football schedule as the Wolverines move up to the 2A ranks and also into a new conference.
But what may be equally notable about the 2021 slate is what it means for 2022.
Longtime rival Landrum will meet Polk County in the fall of 2022 as the Thermal Belt schools renew their series. The programs last met in 2017, when Polk County recorded a 24-0 victory.
Polk County will host Christ School this season as one of its four non-conference games, that series for one year only to allow Landrum to rejoin the schedule in 2022.
The 10-game 2021 schedule begins August 20 as Newton-Conover visits Polk County. Conference play begins on Sept. 17 as the Wolverines travel to Patton, the first of six league matchups.
A look at the complete 2021 schedule:
Newton-Conover, Aug. 20: Polk County graduate and former assistant coach Steven Pack brings the Red Devils to G.M. Tennant Stadium for the home opener.
Newton-Conover finished 2-4 in 2020. The Red Devils will return wide receiver Zane Richmond and linebacker Xavion Coulter, a first-team 2A all-state selection by Friday Nights in Carolina.
It will mark the first meeting between the two schools.
at Asheville, Aug. 27: Polk County will travel to one of Western North Carolina’s legendary venues to meet an Asheville squad coming off a 5-3 season.
Rising junior Khalil Conley is expected to return at quarterback for the Cougars, with 2020 leading receiver Trevonte Mcgahee also back.
The two programs last met in 2014. Asheville holds a 3-0 advantage in the series.
at West Henderson, Sept. 3: A long-dormant series will return as Polk County travels to Mills River to face the Falcons.
West will be looking to rebound from a 1-6 record this spring. Rising junior Lukas Kachilo threw for more than 1,100 yards this spring and will welcome back leading receivers Truitt Manuel and Andrew Schultz.
The two programs haven’t met since 1996. West Henderson has a 3-1 lead in the series.
Christ School, Sept. 10: The Greenies will travel to Polk County as the defending NCISAA Division II state champions after winning the school’s first title in March.
The Greenies will also have a new head coach for the 2021 season as Chad Walker takes over the program, his hiring just announced last week.
Polk County last faced Christ School in 1990, meeting the Greenies in each of the program’s first two seasons. Polk County won both of those encounters.
at Patton, Sept. 17: Polk County begins play in its new conference with a road trip to Patton, where a familiar face will await.
Panthers head coach Mark Duncan previously served as Polk County’s defensive coordinator during the tenure of former head coach Jamie Thompson. Patton finished 1-6 this spring in Duncan’s first season with the program.
It will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Hendersonville, Sept. 24: Bearcats-Wolverines once again becomes a conference rivalry as the two programs share the same league for the first time since 2016.
As did Polk County, the Bearcats advanced to a West Regional final, falling to Mountain Heritage in the 2A clash. Rising senior Gavin Gosnell returns to trigger the Hendersonville attack.
The programs have met 32 times, including Hendersonville’s 35-27 victory in 2020. The Bearcats hold a 21-11 lead in the series.
R-S Central, Oct. 1: The Hilltoppers travel to Tennant Stadium in the final game before Polk County’s bye week.
R-S Central finished 4-3 in 2020, ending the season with a wild 50-49 overtime loss to Chase and a 70-39 loss to Burns. The Hilltoppers are expected to return quarterback Jaiden Coston and leading rusher Ken Hines III as well as third-leading rusher Xavier Toms.
The two teams last met in 2019, a 42-0 Polk County victory. Polk Counts holds an 11-7 lead in the series.
Chase, Oct. 15: The Wolverines return from a bye week for their final home game of the regular season, a matchup with the Trojans.
Chase finished 4-3 in 2020 and will look to replace its quarterback, leading rusher and receiver. Rising senior Damian Boykins saw limited action at quarterback in 2020.
Polk County holds an 8-4 lead in the series, with the last meeting a 31-28 Wolverine win in 2018.
at East Rutherford, Oct. 22: Polk County begins a two-game road trip to end the regular season with a journey to Bostic to face the Cavaliers.
East Rutherford will be looking to rebound from an 0-7 season. Brint Russell will enter his second season leading the program and will be looking for contributions from returning junior Aiden Lynch at quarterback and Marqies McCombs at running back.
The two teams last met in 2019, with Polk County taking a 35-19 victory. The series is tied at 4-4.
at Brevard, Oct. 29: Polk County wraps its regular season with a trip to Transylvania County to tackle the Blue Devils on their turf.
Brevard finished 4-3 in 2020, but the Blue Devils are expected to welcome back rising senior quarterback Joe Powell and leading rusher Garrett Swicegood.
Polk County holds a 5-0 lead in the series between the two schools, including a 74-0 victory in 2012 in their last meeting.