Polk County linemen battle at the line of scrimmage during a drill at Saturday's practice

Jamie Thompson checked his watch and delivered the news all gathered on W.J. Miller Field wanted to hear.

“I’ve got 12,” the Polk County assistant football coach shouted.

“We’re live, we’re live,” responded head coach Dustin Fry.

Midnight arrived and Polk County’s football program let it all hang out, engaging in the first full-contact practice of the 2023 preseason. The Wolverines worked through a brisk session of slightly more than 90 minutes before a group of dedicated supporters in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

Blocking and tackling drills were largely the order of the evening, though the practice did conclude with some 11-on-11 work. The sixth day of practice marks the first time that players can engage in full contact under North Carolina High School Athletic Association rules, which is why the Wolverines were on the field at midnight, and Fry felt the initial scrimmaging progressed as he hoped.

“I was happy with how this went,” he said. “The energy was up with the guys we had. It was good to see our veteran players taking a lot of reps and not shying away from it. That’s what I want to see, guys getting in there, even if they feel like, hey, I’ve arrived a little bit. They still got in there and got in a lot of good work. And we’ve got some freshmen who are working hard that I’m really excited about.”

Senior Lawson Carter handled all of the repetitions at quarterback during the session, with Lorenzo Sanchez, Styler Blackwell and Zach McCraw taking handoffs at running back. Those positions were manned last season by Casey Beiler and Angus Weaver, who were among a group of former players watching the night practice from the sidelines.

The workout also marked the end of the first week of preseason camp as Polk County continues to prepare for its August 18 home and season opener against Madison.

“It’s been a good first week for what we’re doing,” Fry said. “We’re not there yet – we’re far from it. But if we can stay healthy, we’ll be OK.

“We’ve got to build up a little bit. We’ve got to find one or two more guys on the (offensive) line so that we can spread about a bit. So we’re pushing a few guys there. But for the most part, we’ve had good practices, good sessions, good meetings.”

Polk County will hold a joint practice and scrimmage with Bessemer City on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Tennant Stadium. The Wolverines will then travel Friday to Erwin to face T.C. Roberson in a 6 p.m. scrimmage, their final tuneup for the regular season.