As the onetime head coach at the University of Oregon (2009-2012), current Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly schemed against Pac-12 teams almost every week – including his Pacific Northwest neighbor University of Washington - part of that scheming came against Washington running back Chris Polk, a Redlands East Valley High School product.
On Sunday, Dec. 8, against Detroit in the now-infamous snowstorm game, the Eagles won their fifth straight game, 34-20, with Polk (a 2012 draftee under former coach Andy Reid) scoring on a game-clinching touchdown run.
It happened to come on a day when LeSean McCoy rushed for 217 yards, getting all the headlines in Philadelphia and attention from around the country in the game played at Lincoln Financial Field in front of nearly 70,000 fans.
Polk’s TD-running photo went out to REV staff members, courtesy of Polk’s former coach, Kurt Bruich, who offered “the big TY” to assistant coach Elliott Anderson, of Beaumont, for discovering the photo.
Polk was seen being chased by Detroit cornerback Chris Houston on a 38-yard scoring, snow-bound run. It capped the scoring in a game where Detroit’s Jeremy Ross returned both a punt and kickoff for touchdowns that kept the Lions in the game.
Polk, the 5-foot-11, 222-pound back from San Pedro, who led REV to its furthest trip in the CIF playoffs (2007 semifinals), along with players like Ronnie Fouch, among others, was a first-team All-Pac 12 player (2012) and first team All-Freshman (2009).
As for the Polk-Kelly connection, the former Ducks’ coach had the upper hand when it came to playing Washington. In 2009, Polk ran for 110 yards with a touchdown in a 43-19 Oregon win over his Huskies’ team.
In a 53-19 loss to Oregon one year later, Polk carried 17 times for 81 yards. A year later, in a 31-17 Oregon triumph, Polk was held to 82 yards on 24 attempts. During his Huskies’ career, Polk shattered plenty of rushing records, turning in 1,113 yards rushing (5 TD) as a sophomore in 2009, 1,415 yards (9 TD) a year later – including a 177-yard Holiday Bowl performance against Nebraska.
Overlooked, perhaps, was Polk’s 19-yard performance as a freshman during a horrid Huskies’ season in 2008 – a 44-10 Ducks’ triumph in Eugene. Kelly was Oregon’s offensive coordinator that season.
So when Kelly arrived at Philadelphia, he inherited McCoy – and his backup, Polk.
Incidentally, Polk’s final collegiate game was against Baylor (30 carries, 147 yards, 2 TD) in a shootout 67-56 Bears’ victory. It was also the final collegiate game for Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who threw for 295 yards and was sacked four times.
One of those sacks came by Andrew Hudson, another REV product.
Polk played in two collegiate bowl games and now, it seems, as if he’ll be heading into this year’s NFL playoffs.