Saturday, October 16, 2010

No way to end a game

Don’t expect Sallisaw football coach Craig Benson to get a Christmas card from any of the Poteau faithful.

In fact, don’t expect him to get anything but scorn.

Benson was not exactly well liked before Poteau played Sallisaw Friday night. Now, not liked is a huge understatement.

After a hard-fought game with the favored Black Diamonds well in control of the game, leading 24-13, Sallisaw took over deep in Poteau territory with less than a minute remaining.

Game’s over. Show some sportsmanship, right? Wrong. Instead of taking a knee, Sallisaw rushed to the line and ran several plays, scoring on the final play of the game as the horn sounded.

Not a good way to win friends and influence people. The Poteau crowd let out a round of boo’s, the PA announcer congratulated Sallisaw on the poor sportsmanship and the Pirates’ coaches and fans were not happy.

I feared a confrontation. Poteau coach Jeff Broyles did let Benson know the final score was not appreciated.

This was not the way to end a game where the underdog Pirates basically left everything they had on the field. Facing a much bigger Sallisaw team, which dwarfed the Pirates in most of the line positions, Poteau gave an effort which showed how much heart this undersized team has.

The Pirates were bruised and pounded. Quarterback Nick Donathan dislocated his thumb in the second quarter, but came back to play after halftime.

Poteau had earlier battled back from a 14-point deficit to pull within one and would have tied the score in the third quarter except for a penalty washed away a successful PAT kick and there was a bad snap on the next attempt.

Sallisaw came back and scored 10 points, which a good team does. And make no mistake, the Black Diamonds are an excellent team and well coached.

The Black Diamonds can blame the silly OSSAA rule (which seems to discourage good sportsmanship) for giving a team up to 15 points for winning margin as a tiebreaker for the playoffs as a reason they ran up the score. Sallisaw won’t need a tiebreaker for the playoffs, however.

Everybody knows the Black Diamonds will make the playoffs, either as the first or second place team out of the district, depending on how they fare against undefeated Broken Bow.

But sportsmanship should prevail in a situation like this. Game’s over, show some dignity and respect for your opponent. Don’t kick dirt in your opponent’s face. Sports are supposed to be played to teach the players lessons such as discipline and good sportsmanship.

That wasn’t good sportsmanship. And as I overheard after the game ended, what comes around goes around. Poteau plays Broken Bow in its next game. The following week Broken Bow plays Sallisaw and rest assured, the Savages will have a ton of fans supporting them against the Black Diamonds.


  1. What goes around MIGHT have come around Friday night!!!

  2. a week later Poteau 8th grade scores a TD against spiro as the horn sounds winning 14-0. Coach Broyles seemed to be very excited about the score when the shoe is on the other foot. I guess they(coaches and fans) showed their true character.