Playoff berths at stake make tonight's Pocola-Panama game much more exciting

If one visits the Pocola High School football fieldhouse, a clock is hanging on the wall which counts down the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next Pocola-Panama football game. That clock will hit zero at 7:30 tonight when the two archrivals meet at Panama's George Ollie Stadium in a crucial District 2A-6 contest.“They're on our minds 365,” said Rick Lang, Pocola's coach. “I don't let a week go by without mentioning Panama. It's a rivalry game, and we're in the district together. This is the type of game that sticks in your gut for 365. You can be 0-fer or coming in off a win. It's a rivalry game that every school should have. We're coming off a good win over Antlers. This is our last district game of the year, and we want to finish on a good note.”However, tonight's game has more than bragging rights on the line for the Indians (5-3, 3-2 in district play) and the Razorbacks (3-5, 2-2). The winner likely will secure a Class 2A playoff berth.“It's an important game,” said Brandon Ellis, Panama's second-year coach. “The rivalry stands off by itself, but there's playoff ramifications on the line — and that makes this game even more exciting. It's kind of like last year, when they [Pocola] was playing for a playoff berth, and we beat them. We've been looking forward to this game, but we have to take care of business.”— — —District 2A-6 StandingsTeam District Overall +/-Hartshorne-x 4-0 6-2 +60Vian-x 4-0 8-0 +60Wilburton 2-2 4-4 -3Pocola 3-2 5-3 +1Panama 2-2 3-5 -23Hugo 0-4 2-6 -32Antlers 0-5 0-8 -63x — Clinched playoff berth.