When anyone enters the Poteau Pirates football team's locker room, on the wall are several team goals. No. 8 — Beat Sallisaw. No. 9 — Go undefeated at home. If the Pirates achieve goal No. 9 tonight at Costner Stadium, it means the Pirates also achieved goal No. 8.
The Pirates (3-0) will welcome the archrival Black Diamonds (2-1) to town to open District 4A-4 play at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Costner Stadium.
“It's nice to be home,” said Greg Werner, Poteau's new coach. “It's going to be special because this will probably be the largest crowd these players are going to play in front of.”
The Poteau Pirate Quarterback Club is urging fans to wear their Pirate red to help “red out” the Black Diamonds.
Tonight's game between the Pirates, tied for 10th in the Class 4A poll, and the sixth-ranked Black Diamonds is being touted by one state newspaper as one of the Top 10, if not Top 5, games in all of Oklahoma high school football tonight.
“That (the opponent is Sallisaw and the game is the district opener) makes it that much more special,” Werner said. “You want to get as many district wins as you can.”
For the last few years, the Black Diamonds have had the Pirates' number — winning 41-7 last year at Sallisaw's Perry F. Lattimore Stadium and 38-13 Oct. 15, 2010, at Costner Stadium. The Pirates are hoping that the trend will go a different direction tonight.
“It's a big rivalry game, and we want to get it turned to our favor,” Werner said. “We want to make it more of a rivalry game that is has been.”