BENTON — Mistakes continue to be the theme of the season for Polk County head football coach Derrick Davis. After a solid win over Sweetwater last week, the still-frustrated coach said those same foul-ups simply cannot happen if the Wildcats want to pick up win No. 5.
Polk County (4-1, 2-0 District 5-AA) will make the short trip to Walker Valley where the Mustangs (3-1, 0-1 5-AAA) will try for a rebound win after their first loss of the season last week.
“As excited as we were after the win over Sweetwater, we put the film on and it brings you down a little bit because of some of the mistakes. I give our kids credit, We play hard and do some good things, but we’re still making too many mental errors. It’s concerning that we are making mistakes. It’s our job to correct those mistakes.
“Hopefully, we can get that done. We’ve still got a lot of football to play. We need to keep improving every week. We’ve had too many missed tackles and our turnovers have been hurting us,” conceded Davis. “Against a team like Walker Valley that has gotten a lot better, a 3-1 team, you can’t make those mistakes. I’m sure they will be ready to play after last week.”
The Wildcats are looking at a multitude of problems presented by the Mustangs. Walker Valley won its first three games of the season and still has a full head of steam and a dangerous arsenal of talent heading into Friday night, even after taking one on the chin last week.
“Walker Valley causes us some problems with No. 1, their size and No. 2, their speed. They’ve got some really good players who can cause us some difficulty if we’re not a little better this week,” said Davis.
Against Sweetwater, the Wildcats showed they can move the ball when facing quality opposition. They also gave away the secret of their big play capability. Polk scored a couple of times on breakaway runs and a pitch-and-pass, catching the Sweetwater Wildcats on their heels. Defensively, Polk got pushed around a bit from time to time, but stood its ground on three different occasions on fourth-down attempts.
“We’ve got it in us (to make plays) because we’ve seen it. The thing about it is, it’s not just one person, it’s everybody making mistakes. That is what’s frustrating. When we do execute on offense we move the ball.
“When we execute on defense we are able to get the stop. You take the 19-play, 99-yard drive on our defense, that doesn’t happen around here that often. We’ve got to get off the field sooner than that. Ninety-nine yards, 19 plays. We are going to have to find a way to get that stopped. That’s kind of demoralizing,” said Davis.
“But, you have to give our kids credit. We turned right around and scored from 72 yards out with Miller, who made a great run. We did enough to win. I just keep trying to harp on the things we are doing negatively that can and probably will cost us down the road. I’d love to keep doing the positives because we are doing the positive things at times. There are times where we block extremely well and move the ball. Then, we have mental errors that drive me crazy,” said Davis.
What Davis is looking for besides another win from the Wildcats is more improvement. It will not be easy against a Mustang team looking to avenge its first loss of the season and will come prepared to push Polk County against the fences in “The Corral.”
“Walker Valley getting beat last week is probably going to get them more focused. I think it would us. I’m really flabbergasted at some things that we are still doing going into Week 6. I hate to be negative — we are 4-1. But, sometimes when I watch the film, I wonder, ‘How are we 4-1?’ We’re going to keep grinding. Last year we started out and were not a great team. But, we improved every game. I’m hoping we can do that this year,” said the Polk coach. “This is our last week before our off date. We would like to go into it playing well.”