Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Journal tries out new reporting technique

After over two years of publishing the LeFlore County Journal, I finally figured out why we aren’t making the big bucks.

This came to me while listening to a game on the radio the other night and it was a “duh” moment. Why had I not thought about it earlier?

No response necessary to that last question, thank you very much. Before I get started with my new writing style, I thought I would test it out first, kind of a target audience to get your response.

Okay, this example is from an imaginary football game.

Welcome to the game story on the Stu’s Septic Service LeFlore County Journal Game of the Week! Remember, at Stu’s Septic Service we take crap so you don’t have to!

Tonight’s game was between the Petros Panthers, sponsored this week by King’s BBQ, and the Summerfield Squirrels, once again sponsored by Jamatt RV, where they can't save you money if you shop anywhere else!

The Marilyn’s Bail Bond play of the game happened in the third quarter when the KP’s Player of the Game, Bub Bubbles intercepted a pass and returned it for a 74-yard Lyle Whitworth Allstate Agency touchdown to put the Panthers ahead, 6-0.

The First National Bank, which is the largest bank in Heavener, extra point attempt was wide right. The score update was sponsored by the Kiamichi Technology Center.

And our Anchor Finance Final Score was, 6-0, in favor of the Panthers!

Both teams played solid defense in wet and muddy conditions, but were certainly warm and dry when they returned home, at least if they have Baker’s Heating and Air service their units.

Our Warehouse Willy’s offensive player of the week was Jimmy Bob Jo-Jo Chipper from the Squirrels, who completed 1-13 passes for six yards and rushed for two yards on 19 carries.

The LeFlore County Youth Services defensive player of the game was presented to Ralf de Pardue, who narrowly edged out Farm Bureau agent Jerry Pitchford’s second-best defensive player of the game, Mickeal White. White would have probably won the first-place award, but had to leave the game with an EOMC Hospital medical update dislocated pinkie toe.

Our Myers Drive-In ballchildren for the game were Danny Don Dumas for the Panthers and Jasminian Nikolian Featherdusterhead for the Squirrels. Both ballchildren were presented certificates suitable for framing by Kevin Traywick at GCT Printing Solutions! And remember, always get your suitable for framing certificates put in a frame from Diane’s Hobby and Leisure Attire in downtown Monroe.

The postgame interview with the winning coach was sponsored this week by Kay Sullivan Realty, who has been assisting buyers in their search for their dream home for well over 10 years.

“Goshdarn it was good to win this here dadgum ballgame,” said Bob Marchant Scoreboard Show (TM) winning coach Billy “Burp” Magnet. “I really gotta, uh, hand it to the players! They was the ones who won this game. I knew we had one of them big advantages in the coaching department, but them boys out on the field was the ones a blockin, a tackalin and sweating so much they probably cleaned out all those blackheads on their noses which gives me heartache. Not us coaches.”

“I can’t figger this out,” said Summerfield coach Arnie “the Lefty” Switchthrower in our Dawgone Grooming Salon interview with the losing coach! “Them refs done ripped us a new one! I tell you, Burp musta paid them an extra chili dog with the extra cheese or something at halftime. We got them yeller hankies throwed on us all night long.”

Our Stu’s Septic Service LeFlore County Journal game of the week picture is sponsored this week by the Dugout Drive-In on Hwy. 271 in Wister.

The Carl Albert State College scholastic player of the game was Ithan Lanscome III from Summerfield, who has a 2.23 GPA despite missing two weeks earlier in the semester with a medical condition that HIPPA laws state we cannot share.

“I wish I could have played tonight,” said Lanscome III, a fourth-string slotback on offense for the Squirrels. “I can understand the coach’s decision, but I really think I could have made a difference. It’s a good thing my uncle Mortimer is the president of the school board because I am going to talk with him about getting rid of the coach.”

Hopefully this generates the ad revenue for the Journal to make it big time!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Basketball is back

Many people look forward to the first day of deer season.

I am not a hunter, so that does not give me any particular thrill. For me, it is the first game of the year for football and basketball.

Each year, I look forward to that first football game over the summer and as the weather turns cold, I turn my attention toward that first basketball game.

My first game of the year was Tuesday as I ventured over to Cameron to watch the Yellow Jackets and Howe play. Both schools already had a game under their belts, so the new had worn off a bit for them.

It was still muggy as I arrived in the greater Cameron metro area and had to park out in the north 40 as the main parking lot was full. Fortunately, the ground was soggy but still solid so I didn’t have to worry about getting my wife’s car stuck.

It is warm inside the gym, but luckily the windows are open and it isn’t a sweatbox. Cameron’s gym is easily the oldest in the county, one of those rock buildings built back in the 1920s or 30s, during our last major depression. It’s small, old and smells of history. If the great state of Oklahoma ever has an old basketball movie filmed here like Hoosiers, it should be in Cameron.

I usually like my sit to the side of one of the baskets to take pictures in the first half of both games. That isn’t possible at Cameron, where the baseline is approximately six inches wide. I start off at the Cameron end, but quickly realize that was a mistake as all the action is down at the other end. I walk to the other end and squeeze my body into a doorway that provides a little more room and hopefully keeps me from tripping one of the officials, or them from stepping on me.

I haven’t taken a picture at a basketball game since last March. I wonder if I still have it in me. Seriously. Howe is attacking the basket with a passion and I soon have some keepers, although I did have to throw back a few because of bad focus.

Unfortunately, the game is one sided and it is hard to stay interested. I go out to get a bag of popcorn and a student shows extreme gusto and chases me down to sell a chance on a rifle. As I mentioned before, I don’t hunt and don’t need a rifle, but I cough up my two bucks.

The first game ends with a final score of 78-17 in favor of Howe. Despite the score, Cameron does show some improvement under new coach Sheila Jones.

Finally, the excitement starts to build as the boys take the court. This promises to be a good one as Cameron has three starters back from last year and starts five seniors while Howe is much improved over last year’s bunch.

The action is at a frantic pace from the start. Both teams play defense like it should be played, man up, belly to belly. Easy shots are few and far between.

Howe slowly builds a lead through the first half and stretches the margin to nine early in the third quarter, only to see Cameron come back, even though its two big guys are on the bench and the Jackets don’t have a player on the court who is six-foot.

The intensity builds. The fans are into this game and the noise level picks up. Players dive for loose balls and an already physical game gets even rougher as players from both teams play like this is for the county championship, not an early-season game.

The fouls start to mount up and trips to the charity stripe build. Cameron loses its two big guys as does Howe with Daniel Barnhart. Each possession is critical and the game could go either way.

Rodie Snell makes a three for Cameron with 1:45 left. It is his only basket of the game and breaks a 51-51 tie and puts the Jackets ahead for good. Howe misses a couple of shots and Cameron converts to build the lead to six in the final minute.

The game finally ends at 61-57. A good game and night, even though somebody else won the gun I didn’t need.

But basketball is back.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't quake on me

So, here we are safely tucked away in the central part of the United States.

We thought we were pretty safe from those nasty earthquakes that threaten to break California apart and send Hollywood out into the Pacific.

Wrong. An earthquake hit near Prague early Saturday morning and aftershocks could even be felt here in the county Saturday around 11 p.m., which was conveniently timed right after the end of Oklahoma State’s game with Kansas State.

I have never particularly wanted to be in or anywhere near an earthquake. I don’t dig the ground shaking, sorry. And I missed this one. People from the county felt this one and described the event like “uh, the house started shaking!”

As far as I know, our house didn’t shake. Or it might have been because our house had been shaking since approximately 3 p.m. that day since Trish the Wife had invited three (count them, THREE!) little ones to spend a good part of the day and the night with us.

The little ones were 10, 4 and 3. I’ll admit that herr Craigman likes things calm and quiet, except for the muttered adjectives tossed about when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State failed to perform the way they should during their games that day.

The noisy one of the trio is Brenley, aged 4, who is a personal earthquake. She was on the go constantly and enjoys fighting with our dog, Molly, who enjoys fighting back. Brenley does not quite grasp the whole sit still and watch a movie.

She gets bored with inactivity after approximately .02 seconds. Since I was safely tucked away back in the office/Craig cave watching football, she visited me on average every 3.35 minutes to ask me what I was doing, what everything in the office was, and managed to stand perfectly between my spot on the couch and the television.

I tried the mute button on her, but unfortunately it didn't work.

Like every semi-sane adult male, I was flipping back and forth between the OSU/K-State and LSU/Alabama football game. I lost track of the touchdowns I missed in the OSU game and the missed field goals by Alabama in the other game.

She had good timing. Every time something was about to happen, Brenley came running into the office wanting to know what the printer was, the laptop, remote, cell phone, book and other items were.

I started to suggest a strong dose of allergy medicine for sleep aid, but did not feel like that would go over well since Trish the Wife is a responsible adult for the most part and would frown on that suggestion, even though she was in charge of children entertainment and accident prevention.

My little buddy Parker also visited a few times, but since he is only 3, did not understand or enjoy the whole football thing. The oldest one, Kennedy, is shy for the most part and voiced her desire for popcorn by sending a text to Trish the Wife, who was sitting next to her on the couch in the family room.

The household was settling down at about the time the tremor effects were supposed to have hit the area. Again, our house did not shake, but it was probably because it had been shaking for approximately eight hours nonstop.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Goodbye 'Coach'

Ralph Perdue Sr. lived the good life.

He touched the lives of hundreds of people as a coach, principal, teacher, administrator and as a person. He was also a good husband, parent, grandfather and friend to many.

Perdue’s battle finally came to a close Sunday at around 4:20 in the afternoon and while we are glad he is no longer in pain, the world is not nearly as good of a place as it was yesterday.

He moved to Heavener in the mid-1960s along with wife, Peggy, and sons, Ralph Jr. and Andy to take over as head football coach of the Wolves.

Perdue was the coach at Heavener from 1966-74 and while his record was only 36-50-4, he took over a program which was struggling in a difficult time to coach anywhere.

His second team upset defending state champion Talihina, which was undefeated at the time, and he was the last Heavener coach to lead the Wolves to a win over Poteau, winning over the Pirates in 1971-72.

He was an old school coach and teacher, but behind that rough exterior, all his players and students knew a jewel was hiding.

Perdue got out of coaching as his sons got old enough to play sports and umpired baseball and was later a football official.

After retiring from Heavener, he golfed, but only on days ending in “y”, and was a member of the First Baptist Church in Heavener and the Heavener Lions Club.

He was always a person I respected. Even as an adult, it was almost impossible to call him by his first name. It was still "Coach" or Mr. Perdue.

I remember as a young boy going to watch football practice. Coach Perdue and Coach Bob Riley were coaches then and they let the players know what needed to be done, and if it wasn’t done, that messaged was delivered in a simple fashion.

His sons Ralph Jr. and Andy are now two of my best friends. Another indication of how good Perdue was as a parent is both his sons are two of the best people around. Andy has followed in his father’s footsteps and is an assistant coach at Poteau.

He leaves behind his wife, Peggy, along with his two sons and wives, and four grandchildren.

Goodbye “Coach”, you will be missed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

County notes

The regular season ends Friday night for all county football teams.

At least two county teams will make the playoffs, and possibly three.

Arkoma is in, along with the winner of Pocola's game at Heavener. Spiro must win at Stigler and see how other district games wind up to find out if the Bulldogs will make the playoffs.

One of the biggest surprises for county teams this year was the improvement Panama showed. Earlier in the year, the Razorbacks were not a good football team. But the Razorbacks snapped a 17-game losing streak two weeks ago by beating rival Pocola, 21-20, and gave Heavener a tussle before losing last week.

If Panama had defeated Heavener, the Razorbacks would have made the playoffs. This was certainly a difference from early in the season. Panama coach Brandon Ellis has probably done the best coaching job of any coach in the county this year.

Ellis has got the Razorbacks headed in the right direction. If he is given enough time, Panama could be back.


It looks like the LeFlore County Tournament will be played in county again this year. Bokoshe is the host this year with the semifinals and finals to be played at Spiro High School, just like it was last year.

This means the big games in the county tournament will be played in the county. This is still a little controversial move. Everybody wants the county tournament to be played in the county, but there are some who don't like playing at Spiro.

But until a new facility is built, and there are no plans to do so, if we are going to play it in LeFlore County instead of UAFS, this is the only choice.


Talihina's girls were already expected to be better this year. The addition of Chelsea Baggs could make the Lady Tigers one of the teams to beat in the LCT.

Baggs was one of the top players in the county as a sophomore and played her junior year at Caddo.

Baseball is still months away, but there is already some controversy. Arkoma was scheduled to be the host this year, but handed it off to Spiro, which will now host the county tournament.

Some coaches are not happy with this and have said their teams will not participate. Hopefully this won't happen and all the teams will compete in the showcase for county teams.

It does look like one of the best pitchers in the county, Blake Roley, will not be throwing for Poteau this year as he is scheduled to have an operation on his arm. Roley, also one of the better basketball players in the county, will miss his senior year in hoops.

Roley came out for football as a senior after not playing since his freshman year and is one of Poteau's leading receivers, catching three touchdown passes in last week's 59-56 loss at Fort Gibson.

Apparently the injury dates back to last summer and was not a result of playing football. Roley, who was throwing over 90 MPH last year, was expected to get a lot of attention from colleges this spring.