BENTON — For four games, Derrick Davis has been looking for a sense of pressing desire from the Polk County football team.
A sense of desire he has yet to see. When asked if he had found the sence of urgency he is looking for, Davis was quick with an answer.
“No,” he said matter of factly. “We need to be urgent in practice. I don’t want to see any crying if we have a tough loss. We need to be crying in here Monday through Thursday. We’re doing some good things and I am happy to be 3-1, but I also know what we’ve got coming up. We have yet to really put a consistent game together.
“I never thought I’d say it, but we’ve got teams that are playing harder than us. You should be happy with a 54-14 win, but when you put the tape on and see things that will bite you down the road against a better team, that’s a reason for concern.”
Coming up for the Wildcats after Friday’s district game with Sweetwater is Walker Valley, Signal Mountain, a much improved Sequoyah, the always very tough South Pittsburg and Meigs County.
Polk will be put to the toughest test it has faced since Week 1 when the undefeated Sweetwater Wildcats come to the Larry G. Davis Football Complex Friday. If Davis’ biggest fears are realized, the northern pack of ’Cats will be 5-0 and the homestanding felines will be relegated to 3-2 with a big hole in their district championship boat.
“I told them this week, the three wins we’ve got are against teams with an overall record of 1-10. We’re going to have a chance to beat a good opponent — they’re 4-0. If we are able to win this week then we’ll be able to say we’ve done something. There are things groups have from year to year and this group has to learn how to practice through the week and be ready. We are making too many mistakes. We changed the practices up a little bit and tried to get to that urgency that we need, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
“This will be the best team we have faced other than Bradley. They are not the Sweetwater of old, they’ve got a new coach in Craig Moser, who for years did a great job at Midway. They’ve got two other head coaches on the staff, Mike Martin, who used to be at Meigs and East Ridge and David Staff who used to be the head coach at Sweetwater.
“They have a great staff and from what I’ve seen their kids are playing extremely hard. That concerns me because right now we’re not consistent. Are we out of shape? I don’t know. I see when we do things we do very well when we go full speed, so I know they’ve got it in them. But, if it’s the out of shape deal we are sure going to work on that. We can go hard during practice for games or we can do something else, but we’ll be in really good shape one way or the other.”
The Wildcats have walked away with four wins in the last five meetings with Sweetwater, but that could change this time around if the Polk County group decides to approach this game as if it were a first of the season scrimmage, according to Davis. The coach is genuinely concerned about Polk’s chances to put another district championship trophy in the case if attitudes do not take an upward swing before Friday.
“They don’t even look like the same team we have played since we’ve been in the district together. It’s night and day. You don’t know what these kids are thinking, but you don’t hesitate to put this game on and let them watch [game video]. Sometimes you hesitate to show an opponent because if they are not as good as some teams we may face, the guys can pick up on it pretty well.
“But, this is one we didn’t care to cue up and show. Sweetwater is playing hard. They are a hungry team. We’ve rocked on here and won three straight district championships. We’re 13-0 in the last 13 games, but it’s only going to take one loss to put us in the back seat. These teams are hungry and we’re going to get their best game,” Davis observed.
“It’s just that sense of urgency we don’t have right now. It starts with me and I’m trying to figure out how to push the right buttons. I’m going to do it during the week, but Friday night these guys are going to have to do it. It’s up to them. We want to give ourselves and these seniors a chance to say they walked out of here with four straight district championships or they can say ‘Three out of four ain’t bad, I guess,’ if that’s what they are thinking.”
“We’re searching right now for leaders. I’m talking about leaders throughout the week and off the field who do the right things all the time. After Friday night the season’s half over. You are going to blink your eye and it will be over. We’ve still got a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”