Poteau Pirates making strides despite loss to Sallisaw Friday night
Well, the Poteau Pirates played with Class 4A's sixth-ranked Sallisaw Black Diamonds in Friday night's District 4A-4 opener at Costner Stadium, and were in contention until the final quarter. It seemed like the Black Diamonds came out in the third quarter and made major corrections on the offensive side of the ball. Ben Oberste, the future Tulsa Golden Hurricane, has been highly visible in sports in eastern Oklahoma for the past three years. But without question, he was a lot more dominating with his legs than with his arm. Poteau had no answer for the QB read option.I believe the Black Diamonds' lofty rating, status and name earned them some “iffy” calls that went to them. I have always heard that highly rated teams gets the calls.I have questioned Poteau QB Jace Pitchford and his youth, eagerness and his decision-making ability under duress. Well Jace, I am here to tell you, that if Oberste is a Bowl Championship Series (formerly known as Division I-A) player, I think you’re not too far behind. I guess I just want you to keep playing with the same intensity, heart and belief in your own abilities, and I believe that one day those attempts at great plays will start to fall into place — and you, too, will start to get the respect that you will have earned, and maybe the Pirates will get the calls, too. I may be thinking through my Pirate-tinted brain, but I believe you outplayed your counterpart.The Black Diamonds had a group of very talented skill players, but what I saw was the fact that Poteau's skill players are younger and more explosive than Sallisaw’s. I believe the Pirates were deeper than the Black Diamonds, and here is why. You have a blue-chip quarterback, and he is forced to play on defense. Sure, he posted an interception, but he also had several non calls on running plays. I looks like Roger Barcheers has matriculated at warp speed through the Poteau football pecking order, and his days of toting the ball for the Poteau freshmen is a thing of the past. I cannot see him playing another down for the freshmen, unless he is used in the Vian contest — a game that could be the major hurdle to finish the season undefeated after Thursday night's game at Sallisaw. Here is something that I am concerned about. The Pirates will travel Friday night to Stilwell and play the Indians, which is a team that is better on the basketball court than the gridiron. Listen, this game is a trap game that is ready to be sprung. After all, the Pirates have this game sandwiched between and Sallisaw and Fort Gibson, the sixth-ranked team in Class 4A and the seventh-ranked team in the state. Please Pirates, be ready to play Stilwell. You have came too far to lose focus now.I am proud and thrilled to see the Poteau stands packed to overflowing. Poteau fans, we have a great team, and this is only going to get better.