BENTON — From a purely statistical standpoint, the difference on paper between Polk County and Meigs County is about as wide as the Grand Canyon.
In reality, the Wildcats and Tigers have a storied history that says the winner of Friday night’s final District 5-AA football game will be decided on the field.
“I don’t think we can look past them. One of the things about the way the playoffs are set up is you don’t know who you will be playing anyway until Saturday morning,” Polk coach Derrick Davis cautioned. “We’ve been on both sides of the ‘on paper’ deal. On paper, we were supposed to lose some around here. On paper, we were supposed to win some. It doesn’t always work out that way.”
A win will fulfill a goal Davis has had for his elder Wildcats since the group walked onto the gridiron as freshmen. And with a possible realignment in the works, football games between Polk and Meigs could become a memory of what used to be if and when the football districts are repositioned.
“I think our guys are really excited. Even though we have won the district we have an opportunity for the seniors to walk out of here with a 16-0 district mark. I don’t care where you are at, that is kind of hard to do, win 16 straight district games. I think we are looking at being able to do that, plus it can’t do anything but help our seeding in the playoffs,” said Davis.
“They are moving down to 2A and there is a chance we may not be able to play them for scheduling reasons or whatever. It is a rivalry game I hope we are able to keep. But, right now we are not going to be sure until they release the districts. We have played Meigs County for years. Even my dad played against Meigs County back in the day. He was a senior in 1962.”
Davis will not lead his Wildcats to Decatur with the attitude everything is already locked up and sealed. Polk is coming off a heartbreaking loss and it remains to be seen if the ’Cats can shake off the setback and move forward.
“We are going to do all we can to be ready. I know I’m not looking ahead. All of our focus is on Meigs and hopefully trying to get some guys back this week that have been injured. This is Week 10. We still need to brush up on a few things,” he said.
“I think the kids get over it a lot quicker than the coaches do. We watched the film and that was that. The two big plays they got on us were lack of communication on getting plays sent in, and lack of communication on a defensive alignment. We had a chance to stop them when we were ahead 14-6. We took a wrong gap, they got a first down and it snowballed from there. I’m over it. I will have time when the season is over to second-guess myself. But, we have to move on, especially with this being a district game.”
The Polk coaching staff has taken extra precautions this week to keep the Wildcats focused on their next 48 minutes of football. If so, the seniors will have reached two of their goals, a district championship and an undefeated four years of district football. Then, if all goes well Polk will focus on getting healthy for Round 1 of the state playoffs.
“We feel like going into every game we have a chance to win. They are 1-8 and if we play our best we should be OK. We feel like we have a chance in every game we play. We have been favored before and we have gone out and struggled all night long. That’s what I don’t want. We would like to take care of business and get some guys out of there. On paper we are 6-3 and that is what should happen. But, ‘should’ and what does happen could be different,” Davis stated.
“We’d like to go over there, get a lead, play good defense and get some of our starters out to lessen the chance of them getting injured heading into the playoffs. That is what we hope happens. But, this is Polk and Meigs County so you never know.
“As far as I’m concerned, we are playing the Green Bay Packers this week. That is the way I’m going to approach it, and if it works out that we get ahead then we will start pulling them and then we will start thinking about the playoffs.”