BOKOSHE — The Arkoma Mustangs and the Bokoshe Tigers will renew not only their LeFlore County 8-man rivalry at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Bokoshe, they will begin the 2012 District C-4 season.
Both teams enter tonight's game from different situations. The homestanding Tigers (0-1) lost 48-34 to the Oaks Warriors last Friday night in their home opener, in what was their truly first game-like situation of the season. Tyler Massey, Bokoshe's second-year coach, said he can tell his team is further along than at this point a season ago.
“There were lots of positives and negatives, both offensively and defensively, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives,” Massey said. “We just basically ran out of gas. I felt like I lost the game in the second and fourth quarters. I'm not really into moral victories, but it was nice playing a Class B team and still be tied up with four minutes to go. We'll see what happens this week.”
On the other hand, the Mustangs (0-1) had a rough game at Keota last week to begin the season. Not only did the Mustangs lose 60-14 to the Lions, they also suffered key injuries, and could be dubbed “the walking wounded.”
“That's an understatement,” said Mark Weatherton, Arkoma's coach. “We're not in good shape. We lost some very good players, and two were among our three leaders. (Tyler) Ruston is done for the year (with a broken leg). If he has a miraculous recovery, he might play in the last game of the year. (Tyler) Daily, we're still waiting on. I've talked to him, but I haven't gotten a good story. I'm pretty sure he broke his thumb and dislocated his wrist. He had surgery Thursday. I don't think he'll be available (tonight), and next week is up in the air. Nathan Willis had 17 tackles last week, and he's got a shoulder injury. He's been at practice, but he's not had any contact. I don't know how he's going to handle contact, so we may sit him out. We suited out 20 players last week, 14 of which it was their first game to play football. Two of our top six players go down before halftime. It put pressure on the older kids who aren't experienced, and to the younger kids who are being thrusted into the spotlight. I told coach (Chester) Johnson that the thing I liked was that we didn't back down and fought hard until the end. We didn't back away. We played hard right up until the end of the game. I'm excited that we have kids who wanted to get out on the field. They haven't given up on this season, and that was great.”
Editor's Note — The Week 1 Gridiron Notes Column will appear in Saturday's edition.