Big Red Train rolls over Redskins
by RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Nov 03, 2013 | 489 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Polk County vs Loudon
POLK COUNTY fullback Zach Miller (35) rumbles for yardage against the Loudon Redskins in the second quarter Friday, in Benton. The District 5-AA champion Big Red Train rolled over the Redskins by a 35-21 margin in the regular season finale at the Larry Davis Football Complex. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
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BENTON — Twenty times over the last four years, the 2013 Polk County seniors lined up against District 5-AA opponents and 20 times the Wildcats walked away victorious.

Friday inside Larry G. Davis Football Complex, Derrick Davis' current group of Wildcats seniors made it 21 in a row with a solid 35-21 Senior Night win over Loudon in the regular season closer.

"Obviously, we're happy for our seniors. When you get to Senior Night it's bitter sweet because the season is close to being over. Even if we went the whole way you don't have much time left," Davis said of his upper classmen. "I'm proud of them and what they've done."

The coach also lauded the seniors for four years of perfect district play.

"That's hard to do," he said. "Sometimes had one of those nights, but we found a way to win district games 21 straight times. There are those who would say the district is weak, but it's still hard to win 21 district games in a row."

It was a surprise to no one the Wildcats relied on a solid ground game and the leg of senior Zach Miller to roll up 308 rushing yards. Miller carried 29 times for 142 yards and scored three times in the win.

Junior Ryan Rowland made the most of his six carries rushing for 73 yards and Chris Wimberley added 56 yards on seven touches.

Miller's first score came on the Wildcats' first possession from 1-yard out. Polk's seven passing yards came on a Josh Silas to Gatlin Lanning touchdown pass in the second quarter to break a 7-7 tie.

Miller's second TD came with just under six minutes left in the half again from a yard out. Devin Weber set up the score with an interception and 34 yard runback to the Loudon 29-yard line.

Polk to a 21-7 lead into the halftime break.

"Our offense really bailed us out tonight," praised Davis. "Our defense has bailed us out before. But with Loudon able to score a few times on us our defense was able to take the ball and score right back. This is a Loudon team that throughout the years has been tough. They put us out in 2009 and we were 11-0."

The Wildcats continued to dominate in the ground on their first drive of the second half marching 81 yards for the score. Silas followed his blockers on a 1-yard sneak to the end zone.

After the Redskins made it a 28-14 game, Polk's defense held Loudon on a fourth-and 5 and set up at the Redskins' 39. Miller put the final touches on the night from 5-yards out.

Loudon added late TD to make the final score 35-21.

"This is big for us too because they have all their players back. We beat them with a full roster. I'm happy we were able to finish 8-2. If you had asked me at the first of the season if 8-2 and a district championship would be good enough, I'd have probably taken it. District champions and 8-2, we've done pretty well," Davis said.

"Now we are one of the fortunate teams to move on to the second season, the playoffs. Now, for sure there are no do-overs. It's win and advance, lose and it's basketball season."

The Wildcats will get back to work Monday in preparation for Round 1 of the playoffs.

"These guys have a lot to be proud of, but I don't want them patting themselves on the back too much because we still have football to play. We put ourselves in position to keep playing and we'll be playing at home the first round and that is good," said Davis.

"I've climbed on a charter bus before in my 14 years as coach here and gone up around Kentucky and over to Nashville. We've made a lot of long trips. But, this time we're playing right here in Larry G. Davis Stadium and it doesn't get any better than that."