Updated at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, with more information.
A rare changing of the guard for the Polk County High School football program is expected to be a smooth one, thanks to the familiarity factor.
On Wednesday morning, Polk County announced Wildcats assistant Rusty Brewer would become the team's next head coach. Brewer has been with the team for 10 seasons, six as offensive coordinator, and has 17 seasons of experience coaching football.
"I found out last Monday things were going to go through for me to become the next head coach," said Brewer, a 1990 graduate of the school in Benton. "I know we have big shoes to fill, but I am excited for this great opportunity. This is a program with a tradition of success."
Brewer will replace Derrick Davis, who resigned Jan. 3 after winning 123 games in 19 seasons with his alma mater.
"Rusty has been very loyal to me and the football program for the past 10 years," Davis said. "He is very deserving of this opportunity. He will continue to work hard to give Polk County football a chance to be successful."
Polk County went 6-5 last season — when its wing-T-based offense averaged nearly 250 rushing yards per game — for the program's first winning record since 2013.
The Wildcats made 13 consecutive playoff appearances starting in 2001, and Brewer hopes to restore that type of consistent success. In addition to their success under Derrick Davis, the Wildcats were coached for 27 years by Larry Davis — Derrick's father, who came out of retirement to work on his son's staff. The school's football field is named after Larry Davis.
"Derrick and his dad have given so much to this program," Brewer said. "You hate to see him leave, but we have to keep things rolling. We have to do all we can to make this football tradition continue to grow."
The new sideline leader originally came to Polk County to take over the school's boys' varsity basketball program in 2008 before joining the football staff a year later. Brewer called the shots for the Wildcats basketball program until the end of the 2015-16 season.