Friday, November 6, 2009

It has been a good year...

Just wait one second!

It is Friday and the weather is good?

Isn’t that against the law or something? Well, maybe not. But for the last several weeks, every Friday has been cold or wet, or a combination of the two.

That means it will be nice at the football games tonight. Simply amazing.

As you know, the Journal has only been around since late September. We only started covering games the third week of the season, but it seems much longer than that.

I have enjoyed covering the games and everything that goes along with it. And I hope you have enjoyed the coverage.

I actually missed a game the first week of the season, but saw Heavener play at Union Christian the second week, although I didn’t cover it as the web site was not up and running.

The first high school game I covered this year was Mena at Poteau. It was a romp as several others were. The following week, I covered Panama at Spiro, which was closer than the final score of 26-0 indicates.

Week 5, I traveled the lonesome highway to Talihina to watch Central Sallisaw meet the Tigers in a battle of undefeated teams. No, it wasn’t close but was a fun game to watch.

The following week came the best game of the season. Poteau rallied late in the fourth quarter to come from behind and beat Wagoner, 17-15. The winning points came on a two-point conversion run that put the Pirates ahead with less than two minutes left.

Poteau played at Sallisaw the following week, the most highly anticipated matchup of the regular season. Unfortunately, it did not live up to its billing as Sallisaw won going away.

I covered Poteau again the following week at home against Broken Bow. Another one-sided contest as Poteau’s offense and special teams faltered.

Week 9 was the only game some would consider an upset. Hartshorne came into its game with Spiro in a three-way tie for the district championship. But the Bulldogs’ defense posted one of the most impressive efforts of the season and won, 21-6.

Each week I try to cover the most important game in the county and the one I think has the most interest. The only requirement is it needs to be at a county school, aside from Poteau's game at Sallisaw.

There are still tonight’s games and hopefully at least two playoff games ahead, but I want to hand out a few awards from the games I covered.

We can call the awards the Craiggers, or whatever you want.

BEST GAME—without a doubt, Poteau 17, Wagoner 15.

BIGGEST SURPRISE—Spiro 21, Hartshorne 6 (followed by Sallisaw 49, Poteau 7)

MOST IMPRESSIVE TEAM—Talihina, easy. The Tigers are 9-0 overall, 8-0 in district play with seven shutouts. Talihina’s closest game was a 27-8 win over Central Sallisaw, another top 10 team in Class A.

BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE (by a county player in a game I covered)—Jordan Eagleroad in the win over Central. The Talihina junior rushed for 161 yards on 25 carries for two touchdowns, including one on an 81-yard run.

BEST TEAM DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE—Again, it was Spiro’s performance against a previously-potent Hartshorne team. The Miners only rushed for 35 yards and the only score was a 59-yard touchdown pass on the final play before halftime.

GUTTIEST PERFORMANCE--Poteau's defense in the loss to Broken Bow. Wait, how could a defense get an award in a game their team lost that bad? Easy. The Pirates were banged up on defense after the Sallisaw game, but played hard until the very end. Plus, Poteau's defense only gave up two touchdowns. The offense and special teams gave up four.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR--Hard to pick one here, but one player who has impressed me over the final part of the season was Poteau sophomore Wilson Klutts. After Britt Brown was slowed down by an injury, Klutts really picked up the slack. He was a receiver this year, but will probably move to quarterback to replace his brother next year.

BEST PLAYER--Yes, I know, he only plays for a Class A school, but Talihina's Eagleroad is a stud and could play for any county team. He is blazing fast, strong enough to break tackles and also outstanding on defense. The runner up would be either Garrett Klutts or Britt Brown, but I have to go with Eagleroad.

The only county teams I have not seen this year are Arkoma, Bokoshe and Pocola. Sorry, guys, maybe next year! Thanks to all of you for the memories.


  1. Agree with you on all points except one. I agree about Britt Brown as an excellent player. As for the Klutts kid, average at best. His little brother that you mentioned is by far the better of the two. There are much more consistently excellent players at their positions on the Poteau team and others in the county. Klutts has his moments, but he isn't consistent. Just my opinion.

  2. Has anyone come up with an idea of selecting an All-County team? There are alot of standout players in this county that deserve recognition. If there is one ive never heard of it but if anyone needs to be the head of that it is you craig.