And will all that mean come when the Sequatchie County Indians roll into Benton Friday?
Absolutely nothing, according to Polk coach Derrick Davis.
“This is not a 10-game season where you are guaranteed 10 games and can mess up a game like we did at East Ridge and go back and correct mistakes. We are guaranteed one game. The team that does the best moves on, and it’s over for the other team,” said Davis.
Sequatchie County is 5-5, but the teams they have lost to are South Pittsburg, Notre Dame, Signal Mountain, Marion County and Stone Memorial. This is not some team limping in, they have played some tough opponents.”
Davis said his guys know about the Indians and have talked about Sequatchie being a very respected program with a highly respected coach — a coach the Wildcats have never beaten.
“That’s just one of the things to play for. One of the biggest is moving on to the second round and playing at home. We have a shot to get to a nine-win season with a chance to do better. We want one more week and we’ve got a shot. But one thing’s for sure, I am not looking past this game whatsoever. My sole focus is on Sequatchie County.”
The Wildcats have made it out of the first round of the playoffs five times during Davis’ tenure as head coach. But to get to Round 2, Polk must successfully navigate the dangerous waters of Round 1 and a team hungry for a playoff victory.
“They run an offense we haven’t seen in quite a few years in the split-back veer. And they have Ken Colquette as head coach. He was winning titles at Marion County in the ‘90s. They put us out in the second round when I was playing. They run a tough offense to defend and they are hungry for a playoff win,” said Davis.
“None of our playoff history is going to mean anything to a Ken Colquette coached team. It’s going to be our team against their team, and the team that plays the best is probably going to win the ballgame.”
Davis is expecting nothing short of an all-out assault from the Indians. Colquette has more than enough motivational material to send a fired-up football team onto the field in an effort to keep the Wildcats from having to worry about getting out of the second round.
“Their coaching staff is going to have them ready,” said Davis. “Their kids are excited to be in the playoffs. I think they will approach this as a chance to knock off a district champion a team ranked in the Top 10 in the final poll. It’s a chance to come over here and ‘give Polk County some of their own medicine.’ We are traditionally known for hard hitting and hard play. This is their opportunity to get after a five-time district champion and go toe-to-toe with them.”
Polk has no doubt produced an impressive trophy case of achievement with district championships, postseason appearances and a reputation for producing a quality product. What the Wildcats are looking to produce this time around is a first-round win against a team that also wants to move ahead in the playoffs.
“We have had success, but if we are ever going to make it out of the second round, we have to win the first round. I’m not looking ahead to that, but you’d like to get over that hump. Does losing in the second round bother me? Yes it does. But we work at it and we give it our best shot. That’s all you can do,” said the Wildcats coach. “With Sequatchie we can’t worry about getting out of the second round; we have to worry about getting out of the first round. Hopefully, we can win and advance.
“We have made strides throughout the year although we are far from perfect. I want this season to continue for these seniors in particular. We’d like to play well and give ourselves at least one more week.”
Ticket prices for playoff games are $8, as set by the TSSAA. Davis intends for the Wildcats to give their fans their money’s worth.
“That is a high price to pay for a football game. It doesn’t bother me to say that, and our fans deserve all the effort we can give for the $8 they are plunking down to watch us play,” Davis said. “They did not get that last year in the first round. I feel like we are at least going to play hard and give ourselves a chance to win. Our fans deserve four quarters of football. Hopefully, we can give them their money’s worth.”