“I think we did find ourselves, at least for one week. If these guys haven’t learned they can’t play off of past games — It’s, “What have you done for me lately?” You are as good as your last game and right now we are pretty decent,” said Polk coach Derrick Davis. “But, we have to carry it over to this week, the same effort and intensity.
“We didn’t change anything offensively, defensively or on special teams, it just boiled down to us playing with more intensity and more effort. You give yourself a better opportunity to win the game when you do that.”
The Wildcats (4-1, 1-0 District 5-AA) will be looking to stay undefeated in District 5-AA Friday night in Vonore against the 4-1 Sequoyah Chiefs who are 2-0 in the district. The game may not be a rivalry matchup in the sense of archrival McMinn Central or of former district foe Meigs County, but it is still a district game and that is big enough.
“All of our district games are somewhat rivalry games. It has come down to us and them a couple of times for playoff berths or, for us in particular, to win the district outright. Neighboring county, close school, so there is a rivalry there,” said Davis.
The 4-1 Wildcats will be facing a team with a fair amount of solid talent. The winner will walk away in the driver’s seat in the hunt for the district title.
“They are 4-1 and had Walker Valley down 21-0 before Walker Valley came back and beat them. That is their only loss,” said the coach. “They are 2-0 in the district and we are 1-0; the winner will definitely have a leg up in any tiebreaker. We only have four district games, this is our second and it couldn’t be more important for seeding and hopes of a district championship.”
Davis said his biggest concern is the time the Chiefs have had in preparation for remaining undefeated in the district. The biggest challenge for the Wildcats will be the solid offense offered by Sequoyah.
“They are a pretty good team that has had two weeks off to prepare for us. They have a really good quarterback and receiver, plus some running backs that can hurt you,” Davis stated.
“It is definitely going to be a game where we need to come out and play hard. They will give a lot of different wrinkles to try and catch us off guard, so we have to be prepared for anything.”
Davis is also hoping the Wildcats will continue to put into practice what they have learned from their four wins and one loss. He said if his guys don’t know what to do by now, it’s really too late to start learning now.
“This late in the year — we are over halfway through — it comes down to blocking, tackling and execution,” he said. “We’re not going to do much different. If we do, it will just be a variation of things we already do. It will all come down to these guys playing hard and executing what we’ve been doing all year.”
The Polk coach is optimistic, however, for the chances of the Wildcats if his guys continue to do what they know to do and work hard to play like they know how to play.
“I think if we played like we played last week, but cut out the penalties, late hits, offsides. We’ve got to play like we played last week — and that’s a big if, because we’ve got to do it” for the chance to win, he said. “We also have to limit penalties and turnovers and limit things that help the other team; whichever team does that the best will probably win the ballgame.