Polk looks to lock up 5th straight district crown in Sweetwater
by RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Oct 17, 2013 | 576 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE POLK COUNTY WILDCATS have a chance to lock up their fifth consecutive District 5-AA championship with a win over the Sweetwater Wildcats Friday, in Sweetwater.
Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
THE POLK COUNTY WILDCATS have a chance to lock up their fifth consecutive District 5-AA championship with a win over the Sweetwater Wildcats Friday, in Sweetwater. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
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Polk County football coach Derrick Davis should have little trouble motivating the Wildcats as they prepare to go on the road against District 5-AA for Sweetwater Friday.

First of all, there is the 18-game district winning streak the Wildcats are currently enjoying.

"This will be our 19th district win in a row if we are able to pull it off. I don't care who you are, it's hard to win 19 straight district games," said Davis. "We are going to get everybody's best shot. Everybody wants to be the one to knock us off. It's tough going out every week and getting everybody's best shot. We have to be on edge and be ready ourselves."

Secondly, a win over the Sweetwater version of the Wildcats will lock up the Benton Wildcats' fifth straight district championship.

"It's come down to the point we have put ourselves in a position to win the district if we win Friday. That was one of our goals heading into the season and now it is here for us" Davis stated. "I'd like to think we are going to be ready, but from week to week you never know."

Thirdly, a Friday win will also set Polk up nicely with home field playoff games.

"The possibility of playing at home is big. We don't want to build it up too big, but they need to know this is an important game," said the coach.

But as the Wildcats learned at East Ridge, winning, no matter who the team is, requires effort and a desire to play football for 48 minutes. Davis said he is pleased to see how Polk has recovered after the loss to the Pioneers.

"I'm very pleased with the way we have played the last three weeks, that's for sure. Defensively, we have grown by leaps and bounds since early in the year with our intensity. I think we held Notre Dame and Walker Valley to the fewest points they have scored all year," he said.

"I think we are excited about this opportunity. You're never going to be perfect and we have to get better at certain things and cut out some mistakes. But, it's a great opportunity for us."

The Sweetwater Wildcats (3-4) will present a challenge to the Polk defense with different looks and disguised formations.

"They started out really good, but have lost three in a row and that makes them particularly dangerous. They are 3-4 but have won a couple of big games. I think they have had some injuries which played a part in them losing their last three games," said the Wildcats coach.

"They will show multiple offenses and that's hard to prepare for. It's Sweetwater. I have played on the bad side of those guys in the ’70s and ’80s when they were a thorn in our sides. It's a rivalry game and a district game."

With the Wildcats again picking up steam there comes the danger of looking beyond an opponent and making plans for what lies down the road. Davis said what Polk must understand is if the team doesn't take this week seriously there will be no down the road after the end-of-season meeting with Loudon.

"I'm not looking past this week. This is a playoff type game and hopefully we can take care of what we need to take care of, and worry about the other two after that. Championships are hard to get. We went 10 years before we were able to get one. You never know when this opportunity with roll back around," he said. "We've been fortunate to play well in our district games the last five years, but I don't take these championships for granted. You never know when you will have a run of never sniffing one."

With that in mind, Davis and staff have made it a point to let the Wildcats know exactly what is at stake Friday. If the Wildcats can pull off a win against Sweetwater there is still a lot of football left to play after the regular season comes to a close.

"There will be a little extra coming from the coaching staff. Maybe the guys didn't know we can lock up the district this week, but they know it now. We haven't had to say a whole lot; I think they understand we are at Week 8 and if they don't know how to get ready by now, I don't know if there is anything that will help," he said.

"We have a lot to play for. There are some teams out there that know it's Week 8 and they only have two or three more games and that's it. It's over with and they know it's over with. We've got a lot to play for, we need to understand that. All the hard work we've put in since July, we need to keep this rolling."

The Wildcats will certainly be looking for any edge they can come up with against Sweetwater. The team is hoping a large crowd form Benton will make the short trip to help bring another district championship back to Benton.

"I would love to see a big Polk crowd follow us," said Davis. "We always have a good following, but Sweetwater is a tough place to play and we'd like to have all of our fans there, hopefully, to see us wrap up another district title. It means a lot when our fans travel like they do and support us."