CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Polk County entered the 2012 football season with a lot of questions concerning its football team. The Wildcats might not have all of the answers halfway through, but they do have a constant — and his name is Zach Miller.
The big junior was an active runner and a hard one to take down Friday night in Polk's 22-0 victory at Walker Valley. Miller, who coincidentally wrestles for Walker Valley, gained 126 yards on 29 carries.
The Wildcats (5-1) limited the Mustangs to seven first downs and 179 yards of total offense. Walker Valley had one first down and 50 yards in the first half.
"There is a lot of room for improvement with this team," Polk coach Derrick Davis said. "Our defense has been hot and cold so far this year, but this is our first shutout. We're a work in progress, but I think these kids are realizing — after a few discussions about preparation, I think they got the hint.
"Whether they realize it or not, I've been around a few football games in my time."
The Wildcats had two first-half turnovers and finished with three, but in the first half Walker Valley (3-2) couldn't capitalize on the visitors' mistakes. The Mustangs had six first-half penalties for only 29 yards, but most seemed to come at inopportune times — including an offside call on a Polk first-and-goal at the hosts' 6-yard line. The Wildcats marched 3 yards closer, and Miller took it in on the next play for a 6-0 lead.
Polk's Justin Green — who added 67 yards rushing — scored right before halftime, and then early in the fourth quarter the Wildcats got creative. Josh Silas threw a touchdown pass to Duncan Coffey, who moved to receiver after playing quarterback much of the game.
Walker Valley was limited to 114 yards rushing, led by Gabe Cartwright's 38. The loss was its second straight after the program's first 3-0 start.
"We just have to get the guys straightened out," Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan said. "We have to go back and see what we're doing wrong. Right now, we're not doing the things we once were: We're not blocking; we're not running; we're not doing what we need to do.
"We have to get back to doing what we do as a team."