By JOE CANNON
BENTON — As the full moon rose over Chilhowee Mountain, Polk County’s football squad turned from Dr.
BENTON — As the full moon rose over Chilhowee Mountain, Polk County’s football squad turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
With the fur flying between a pair of Wildcat squads, the boys from Benton controlled the first half and still held a slim lead with just over four minutes to go, but it was the felines from Sweetwater that got the upper hand late to claim a 28-14 victory.
“I don’t know what happened,” proclaimed a bewildered Polk head coach Derrick Davis.
“Our kids played hard. We had a good first half, but then we couldn’t get a (defensive) stop or anything going offensively in the second half.”
The hosts scored the game’s first two touchdowns, but the boys from Monroe County got on the scoreboard with just 33 seconds left in the opening half before adding a trio of scores after “Charlie” Mitchell was crowned the Polk County homecoming queen to pull out the win.
Despite slipping to 3-4 on the season with the non-conference loss, Polk is 1-1 in Region 3-2A play and can secure its first playoff berth in three years with a victory Friday evening when Bledsoe County (3-4, 0-2) comes to the Larry G. Davis Complex.
Things started out well for Polk Friday, when despite giving up a pair of first downs, the Big Red defense was able to force a punt to end the game’s opening series.
Taking over on their own 23, Coach Davis’ offense marched down the field on 13 running plays, with junior Kyle Dunn taking the ball over from the 7 with three minutes left on the opening quarter clock.
The hosts were able to double their lead midway through the second frame with a six-play drive, including a 24-yard pass completion from junior Nate Waters to classmate Conner Barks.
Waters capped the 43-yard march with a 10-yard quarterback sneak and then booted his second extra point of the evening with 4:35 to go until halftime.
Sweetwater (5-2), a Class 3A team, was able to put together its initial scoring drive after the ensuing kickoff, going 65 yards on 10 plays with sophomore Drew Hicks carrying the ball over from the 3 with 33.6 seconds on the clock.
The extra point by Khayman King gave the game a 14-7 tally at the intermission.
Polk opened the second half with a decent drive into Sweetwater territory, but got stalled at the 33 with a penalty and then an “interception/punt” on a fourth-and-6.
“We went for it on fourth down there and I thought we had it but their defender was able to come away with the ball,” remarked Coach Davis.
Taking over on its own 11, Sweetwater was able to mount a sustained 10-play drive, with senior QB Riley Turpenien covering the final 11 yards.
A failed extra-point attempt left the hosts ahead by a point with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter.
After two straight three-and-outs by the hosts, the Blue-and-Gold clad Wildcats put together another scoring march, driving 69 yards on 11 plays.
Hicks carried the mail for the final 14 yards with 4:18 to go in the contest. A two-point conversion pass put the visitors up by seven.
After another Polk offensive stumble, instead of taking a knee to run the clock out, Sweetwater tacked on a final touchdown on a 34-yard run by Hunter Jenkins with 31.2 ticks remaining.
After being held to just 148 yards in the opening half, the visitors exploded for 278 in the final two periods.
“We lost three key defensive guys — (senior DE Andrew) Coffey, Mason Wilson (senior DE) and (Kendall) Swemley (senior safety) — early in the game, so we had some young guys in there most of the time,” related Coach Davis.
The swarming Sweetwater defender held the hosts to less than 200 yards of offense, with only a half dozen Polk plays going for double digits.
Junior Hunter Morgan topped the Polk effort with 10 carries for 61 yards, while freshman Eddie Lamb was held to only 46 yards on 16 carries.
Dunn gained 41 yards on a half dozen rushes, including the one that found the end zone.
at Larry G. Davis Complex
Sweetwater ;0 ;7 ;6 ;14 — 28
Polk County ;7 ;7 ;0 ;0 — 14
PC — Kyle Dunn 7-yd. run (Nate Waters kick), 3:00
PC — Waters 10-yd. run (Waters kick), 4:35
S — Drew Hicks 3-yd. run (Khayman King kick), :33.6
S — Riley Turpeinen 11-yd. run (kick failed), 3:05
S — Hicks 14-yd. run (King kick), 4:18
S — Hunter Jenkins 34-yd. run (Kig kick), :31.2
Rushing-Yards ;48-267 ;36-169
Passing yards ;159 ;24
Passing ;12-20-0 ;2-10-1
Total yards ;426 ;193
Punts ;2-16.0 ;4-30.5
Fumbles-Lost ;1-0 ;0-0
PenaltiesYards ;7-75 ;3-15Individual stats
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE