The Wildcats did both, holding Walker Valley to 175 yards on the ground while pounding out 340 and handing Davis his 90th win as a head coach, 32-6.
“Who would have thought I would have hung around for 90. Twelve years ago, that would have been the furthest thing for me to even think about. We’ve had some good players come through here. We’ve still got those tough, hard-nosed kids. It’s easy to hang on when you’ve got good kids and we’ve had them through the years. I’m fortunate,” said a humble Davis.
“There aren’t many coaches who hang on 12 years. The great coaching staff we have and these kids that have come through the program, it’s for them. I haven’t played a down in any of these wins. It means a lot to get it at home in front of our good crowd.”
Polk workhorse Derrick Saxe did the job for the Wildcats behind a solid effort from his offensive line and bulldozed his way for 179 yards. Quarterback Alex Akins added 76 more on 10 carries.
Kelvin Wells again carried the load for the Mustangs on the ground. The stalwart junior running back picked, juked and accelerated his way through the Polk defense for 131 yards on 22 carries and scored the Mustangs’ only touchdown in the third quarter.
The Wildcats scored first on their second play of the night, after forcing a Walker Valley punt. Akins called his own number and skirted around Mustangs for 38 yards to put Polk up 7-0 after the extra point.
Walker Valley came back with a strong drive from their own 25 and moved to the Polk County 33 before being turned back on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-6.
“With our offense, we’ve got to establish the run first. That’s the reason our passing game opened up last week. Tonight, we just couldn’t get ahead of the chains and get ourselves in situations to throw the ball,” Mustangs coach Ted Lockerby explained. “When we did have to throw the ball, we did some good things. But, they kind of tightened down their defense and made some adjustments and we didn’t make some very good decisions offensively at certain times. We’ve got to be able to run the football to be successful passing.”
The Wildcats answered with their second TD of the night, staying on the ground and using Saxe to cover the final 21 yards to the end zone for a 13-0 first-quarter lead after the failed PAT.
“That is the first time we have kind of scripted some plays to start the game. Maybe we need to do that more often,” said a pleased Davis.
“Defensively, Wells was the guy we were really concerned about and he broke some tackles. He was the main threat we were worried about. They hurt us a little bit throwing early. They got a few first downs early.”
Walker Valley caught the first break of the night pouncing on a Polk County fumble at its own 29. The Mustangs mounted another strong drive and looked poised to strike when Collin Wimberley picked off a pass and returned it to the Walker Valley 46-yard line ending the threat.
After getting the ball back just before the half, the Mustangs mounted one final drive toward the goal line and stood at the Polk 38 before again being turned away on another interception. The Wildcats’ Chris Moses ended the march with the pick and sent Polk to halftime with a 13-0 lead.
“They jumped on us early 13-0. We kind of answered with some drives of our own, but shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of turnovers, two interceptions that hurt us,” Lockerby said. “They didn’t score off the turnovers, so we still felt good about the score going into halftime. But, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes against a good football team.”
The Wildcats’ defense stepped up early in the third quarter holding the Mustangs on a fourth-and-1 to take over at the Walker Valley 40-yard line. Ten plays later, Akins found Wimberley open on a crossing pattern for 19 yards and the third Polk County TD of the night.
The Mustangs put the heat back on the Wildcats on their next possession using a no-huddle offense to press the Polk County defense. Walker Valley quarterback Garrett Wallace put the ball in Wells’ hands five times and the junior speedster carried for 64 yards and a Mustangs’ touchdown.
Polk turned the momentum built by the Mustangs back in favor of the Wildcats traveling 74 yards in eight plays capped by a 28-yard run to paydirt by Saxe.
The Wildcats added a final six points to the total on a 12-yard carry by Chase Mull to make the final score 32-6.
Lockerby said costly mistakes put the Mustangs in a hole early and they were never able to completely recover the momentum.
“The fourth-and-shorts hurt us when we went for it in our own territory. That was kind of a momentum buster when they went up three scores. We were able to finally score, but on both sides of the football we made entirely too many mistakes against a good team. If you don’t have 11 guys working together as one on both sides of the football it really hurts you. They made us pay for it,” said the Walker Valley coach. “We had a misalignment on their touchdown pass and didn’t execute the fourth-and-shorts. The little things we didn’t get done when we needed them done in crunch times.”
Davis said the Wildcats came out ready to play and, but for a couple of early errors, were able to hold serve on the Mustangs.
“I thought we played well defensively and offensively. We moved the ball and jumped out early. That is something we have stressed. I think it was the most complete game we have played all year — except for a couple of those first-half mistakes, a fumble and a chop block. But, I still felt we had it under control,” he said.
“It’s nice to see us come out firing from the get-go. We did have some lulls, but overall that was a classic Polk game, good defense. They negated our punt return with the spread punt they did. We didn’t really get that part of our game going. Offensively and defensively, that was kind of a classic Polk game.”
POLK COUNTY 32, WALKER VALLEY 6
Walker Valley 0 0 6 0 — 6
Polk County 13 0 6 13 — 32
PC — Alex Akins 38 run, (Joseph Flores kick), 9:22
PC — Derrick Saxe 21 run (kick failed), :58
PC — Collin Wimberley 19 pass from Akins (PAT failed), 2:45
WV — Kelvin Wells 14 run (PAT failed), 1:02
PC — Saxe 28 run (PAT failed), 9:29
PC — Chase Mull 12 run (Flores kick), 1:15
First downs 14 19
Rushes-yards 40-175 52-340
Passing 74 39
Total yards 249 379
Comp-Att-Int 5-15-2 2-3-0
Punt-ave 3-40.3 1-34
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-24
Rushing: Kelvin Wells 22-131, Garrett Wallace 7-23, Hunter Keefer 2-21 (WV); Derrick Saxe 28-179, Alex Akins 10-76, Chase Mull 6-49 (PC).
Passing: Wallace 5-14-2, 74 (WV); Akins 2-3-0, 39 (PC).
Receiving: Gabe Cartwright 2-26 (WV); Collin Wimberley 1-20, Duncan Coffey 1-19 (PC).
Records: Walker Valley 0-5; Polk County 4-2.