“We’re excited to win another district championship, but our reward is we get to go down to South Pittsburg (7-1) to play the No. 1-ranked Pirates,” said a tired Davis as the Wildcats (7-1) began drifting into the Polk fieldhouse for an early morning fall break practice. “Even though coach (Vic) Grider is not there, it’s the same South Pitt type team. They are right up there with the top teams we have played. They are one of the best. They’ve got a lot of speed and they are well coached. It’s going to be a challenge.”
With the Polk Wildcats enjoying fall break and the District 5-AA championship locked safely away, Davis is not only concerned about how well the Pirates can play, but also how well the Wildcats will play.
“It’s a long-haul road game plus with us being on fall break this week you never know what to expect. But, we are going to make the best of it and see if we can go down there and continue to play like we have been playing,” said Davis.
“I don’t understand how we can have a letdown, with wins and losses taken into consideration for playoff seedings. These next two wins we can possibly improve our position and maybe continue to improve if we win in the first round.”
Knowing they are already in the playoffs, the Wildcats hope to use Friday’s game as an opportunity to continue to improve and gain important experience for the upcoming second season.
“We know we’ve made the playoffs so maybe we can keep trying to get better and get ready for the second season, which is the playoffs. This will be a playoff-type game,” said the coach. “We’ve played some tough, tough teams and found ways to win when we didn’t exactly play great. We have faced some adversity with injuries. We’ve had those experiences so this is just another experience against a playoff-type team.”
As always, the Pirates will bring a solid, capable attack against the Wildcats. And, as always, South Pittsburg is top-heavy with offensive talent that always includes seasoned, battle tested Swashbucklers.
“There isn’t just one thing that worries me about South Pitt. They have a really good quarterback and running backs that can run over you are around you. They have a tailback, wingback and fullback that can all play. They expect to win and they’ve had their share of wins,” said the Polk coach.
“We can’t help them out with turnovers like we had on the first play of the game last week that led to a quick score. One positive though is we had zero penalties against Sweetwater. We need to continue that.”
Davis went on to say not only will Polk have to give its best effort of the season offensively, but the Wildcats’ defense will have to play as well or better than it has all season.
“Defensively we have to tackle. We have to break down, get in good position and move our feet. We have to tackle well, and when I say ‘tackle well’ that also means gang tackling. One guy is not going to bring their fullback down,” Davis said.
Playing the Pirates in South Pittsburg is a daunting enough task in itself. Add a hostile crowd and the undertaking becomes that much more difficult. Polk has developed a reputation for bringing large numbers of Wildcats fans wherever it plays. Davis hopes Friday night is no exception.
“I think we are going to have a big crowd. In 2009 and ’11 we had big crowds go with us down there. Its pretty much the same scenario. We were undefeated in ’09 and they had lost one and again in ’11 I think they were undefeated and we had lost one. It’s been our Week 9 matchup for the five years we have played, and they are usually ranked,” said Davis. “I figure our fans will want to see us matched up against a really good team. We would like to see another good crowd. Opposing coaches are always talking about how big a crowd we bring, so I hope that continues this week.”