Bulldogs use rout to sew up playoff spot
Torrin Polk surveyed the scene from the sideline, content to spectate on one knee as the final minutes of the first half played out.
He’d already put in a full game’s work by then.
The junior running back notched four touchdowns on his first six carries Saturday, and the Heights Bulldogs found the end zone on their first six possessions en route to a 46-14 blowout of Bellaire at Delmar Stadium.
The victory clinched a spot in the Division II playoffs for Heights (3-6, 3-2), which started the season 0-4.
“We started off the season rough,” said Heights coach Stephon Dixon, whose team is in the playoffs for the eighth straight year. “We played a tough schedule. (But) we started getting our guys healthy and back right now, and we look the part.”
Bellaire fell to 4-6, 3-3 in District 18-6A in its regular-season finale.
The Cardinals can only watch as Westside (4-5, 2-3) takes on Sam Houston (1-8, 0-5) next Thursday, knowing the Wolves hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their pivotal 27-21 win over Bellaire in Week 9.
Heights didn’t look like a team with only two wins entering Saturday.
The Bulldogs scored on their first two offensive snaps, with Kendric Rhymes’ 68-yard return of the opening kickoff setting up Polk’s 5-yard scoring run, and Dale Dickerson breaking an 81yard touchdown run on the first play of their second series for a 14-0 advantage with 9:25 left in the first quarter.
And Heights was only getting started en route to a 28-7 lead before the second quarter.
“We’re not a two-win team,” Dixon said. “We’re just young, inexperienced, and we’ve made some dumb mistakes. But the one thing I’ve noticed about this team is we’ve been improving week after week.
“They played (Saturday) like I know they’re capable of playing.”
Bellaire answered Polk’s second short TD run with an impressive drive quarterback Darius Reed capped with a 2-yard touchdown on a keeper..
But Polk came right back with a 55-yard touchdown sprint. Then the 5-9, 210-pound back broke a 54-yard TD run on Heights next series.
He watched the final two firsthalf possessions, already boasting 160 yards and four touchdowns on six carries, and the Bulldogs kept on rolling without him, with Rhymes supplying a 46-yard TD run.
That score gave the Bulldogs a 43-7 lead at halftime.
Heights had 342 yards on 19 rushes in the first two quarters, averaging 18 yards per run.
“We’ve got some guys back who’ve haven’t played the last couple of weeks … and we’ve got some consistency going offensively,” Dixon said.
Polk picked up three more carries in the third quarter to finish the night with 185 yards and four touchdowns on nine rushes.
“He’s been phenomenal,” Dixon said. “And he’s one of those guys who was injured early, and missed about four games this year, but he’s rounding back into shape.”
Heights kicker Marco Toledo added a 32-yard field goal for a 46-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
Bellaire receiver Willie Branch had nine receptions for 101 yards and a 15-yard scoring grab with 6:20 left in the game.
Bellaire managed only 148 yards of offense and nine first downs.
Heights finished with 501 yards with 19 first downs, with 455 yards coming on 39 rushes (11.7 yards per carry).
“We’re in the playoffs,” Dixon said.
Heights running back Torrin Polk, left, slips by Bellaire defensive back Walter Truitt en route to a first-half touchdown Saturday at Delmar Stadium.