BOONVILLE — On Friday night, No. 2 Starmount hosted the 1AA underdogs, Polk County, who have came through the bracket at a No. 11 seed. The stands were packed on both sides of the field in a game that saw plenty of action. At the end of four quarters, the Starmount Rams took a 21-7 win over the Wolverines to move on to the 1AA Western Regional Finals.
Starmount’s defense came out big on the Wolverines’ opening play. Adam Houston stuffed a Polk County player as he tried to make it on third down. Trey Dezern and Ethan Barnes both came up with big defensive plays as well. Polk County was able to advance down the field and attempt a field goal. The ball went wide left and the quarter remained 0-0.
The Rams’ first offensive drive of the night started with 4:55 left in the first quarter. Dezern put together an impressive performance from the pocket, with passes and hand-offs. Barnes and J. Max Swaim put up yardage for Starmount, which kept the drive alive.
On third-and-7 from the 42, Dezern put the ball into the air and found the hands of Bayden Childress. It was a highlight-reel catch, as the ball was almost intercepted and Childress ripped the ball away from Polk County to come up with a 16-yard gain. Starmount’s drive extended into the second quarter where it only took three plays for the Rams to find the end zone.
On first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Dezern handed the ball to Barnes, who powered his way into the end zone for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, but Starmount had a 6-0 lead with 10:31 left before halftime.
The Rams’ next offensive drive was stopped short as Polk County intercepted the ball at the goal line. The Wolverines’ drive didn’t last long though, as Nik Pardue was in the right place at the right time for the Rams. Pardue was able to jump in front of his opponent and grab the ball out of the air for a successful interception. He returned the ball to the 2-yard line and set the Rams up for another touchdown.
With 9.8 seconds left until the half, the Rams put in another touchdown. Dezern ran a quarterback sneak to add six points to the board. The two-point conversion was good to Swaim, and Starmount had a 14-0 lead at halftime.
In the final two quarters, Starmount added seven more points to the board. On third-and-5 from the 26, Barnes powered his way into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. The Rams were in control with a 21-0 lead over Polk County.
The visiting team added a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the nail was already in the coffin. Starmount ended the game with Dezern coming away with an interception and the Rams knelt the final seconds off the clock. The Rams took a 21-7 win over Polk County to move on to the Western Regional Finals.
Starmount will host East Surry on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
For a full game recap, along with Coach Sandy Grinton’s thoughts about the game, pick up Wednesday’s Tribune and Thursday’s Yadkin Ripple.
Starmount defeated Polk County to make it into the semifinals against East Surry.