SIGNAL MOUNTAIN — The Polk County depth pool was a bit too shallow Friday night against Signal Mountain.
After taking an 18-7 lead into the second half, the lack of one-way personnel took its toll on the Wildcats. The Eagles scored 21 unanswered points in the final 24 minutes to hand Polk its second defeat of the season, 28-18.
“This is not an excuse, this is a fact. Their depth took its toll on us. They don’t have but one or two going both ways. It’s not that I think we didn’t play hard or didn’t try, I didn’t see that. I just saw us with the pace of their offense and as many as we have (going both ways), it had it’s effect,” said Polk County coach Derrick Davis afterward.
As it has been in the first six games, Polk’s Zach Miller carried the load on the ground for the Wildcats (5-2) with 126 yards on 15 carries against Signal Mountain (4-3). Miller scored on a 68-yard reception and a 66-yard touchdown run.
Newly installed Wildcats quarterback Josh Silas had a good night under center completing 3-of-5 passes for 151 yards.
Signal Mou-ntain quarterback and Kentucky commit Reese Phillips had the better night of the two field generals with 262 yards through the air.
Polk struck first on a middle screen snagged by Miller who broke through the Eagles’ defense and raced 68 yards untouched for a Wildcats touchdown.
Signal Mou-ntain responded with a 17-play drive to take a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.
On Polk’s first play of the ensuing possession, Miller again cracked the Signal Mountain defense for 66 yards to put Polk up 12-7.
The Wildcats held the Eagles short on a fourth-and-4 to take over with just under four minutes to play in the first half. Silas took the snap and on the second play of the drive and connected with Chris Wimberley for 35 yards to the Signal 35. From there, Miller took over one more time carrying five times and scoring from 6-yards out to make it 18-7 at halftime.
Polk fired right back with an 82-yard kick-off return by Wimberley called back by a block in the back.
“It was a punch in the gut,” said Davis recalling the near miss. “We would have gone back up by two touchdowns with a lot of time run off the clock. It hurt, but that’s football. It was a punch in the gut, that’s for sure.”
The Eagles took the lead with a 7-yard pass from Phillips to Jamil Mathis put Signal Mountain on top 21-18. Signal put the game on ice with a final score with 7:28 left to play.
“We had our chances. They beat us. That happens. Sometimes there is no reason other than they were better than we were and they won the ballgame,” Davis said already looking ahead to Friday’s game with Sequoyah. “This was not a district game. We’ve got a chance to come in next week and win the district. The winner of that game, as far as I know wins the district no matter what happens in the last one as far as tiebreakers. That’s what I am looking forward to. We can learn from this game and hopefully continue to get better. We’ve got three more guaranteed and hopefully some after that.”