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When the Pocola Indians and the Heavener Wolves last met at Heavener's Harvey Stadium, it was the 2011 regular-season finale with a playoff berth at stake. The Wolves beat the Indians 21-12, and grabbed District 2A-6's final postseason spot.
However, when they meet again at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Harvey Stadium, it will only be the final preseason scrimmage to get both teams ready for their season openers one week from tonight.
There will be a tailgate party taking place today and tonight, which will begin at 3:30 p.m.
Carl Lee, Heavener's new coach, realizes how well the two teams' players know each other.
â€śThey're a good team,â€ť Lee said about the Indians. â€śOur guys are familiar with these guys. They've played against each other. It's a good rivalry. Coach (Rick) Lang does a good job in getting his team ready. It's going to be a challenge because of the familiarity factor. There's no secrets because all the kids know what they do. We're just going to treat this like a game-like situation. We want to play a clean, physical football game, but we know there's a rivalry connected to it from the past. We want to try to give them the respect they deserve, but at the same time for us to get ready for the regular season and the opener against Union Christian. We want to have a hard-hitting game, but also stay injury free.â€ť
With tonight's action being the last chance to get things ready for the teams' respective season openers next Friday night â€” Pocola at Tulsa Regent Prep in Broken Arrow and Heavener at Union Christian Academy in Fort Smith, Ark. â€” both coaches want to see their teams look better than in last week's scrimmages.
â€śIt's our last chance to get better,â€ť said Rick Lang, Pocola's coach. â€śWe've got some competition for some starting sports. We've called out some kids on both defense and offense, and told them that this is their last chance to make something happen. As a team, this will be our final tune-up. It will be our last chance to get things to where we need to be, because on Monday it will begin for real. We have to get our kids lined up and ready to go, and this scrimmage will be a good chance for us to get better. It's going to be a good one. What we've told the kids is that we need to see some kids do well in certain positions, and iron out our mistakes in this scrimmage.
â€śAfter watching the film on the Gore scrimmage, we saw some things that we don't want to see again. There's things that we have to improve on to make this thing happen for us. We made too many penalties. We made some mistakes. We've got to get better at not doing that.â€ť