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By CRAIG Hall
POTEAU – On a night where big offensive plays were the norm, it was a late stop by Poteau’s defense that gave the Pirates a 35-28 win in Friday in the season-opener for both teams.
Shortly after Kelley had a potential winning touchdown wiped out by a penalty, the Pirates threw the Comets’ quarterback Will Pickard for a loss on 4th and 3 and then ran out the clock to preserve the win.
Poteau had earlier built a 27-7 lead, fallen behind, 28-27, rallied for the lead thanks to a 68-yard drive, then held on late to win a battle of top 10 teams. The Pirates are seventh in Class 4A and Kelley was sixth in Class 5A.
Poteau relied on turnovers early to take a quick 14-0 lead thanks to an interception on Kelley’s first offensive possession then a recovered fumble set up the second score.
Dean Odom gave Poteau the lead on a 3-yard blast up the middle and Todd Mattox’s 3-yard run gave the Pirates the early 14-0 advantage.
Kelley blocked a punt late in the second quarter and scored to cut the lead to 14-7. Poteau answered on its first offensive play as Dax Collins went 80-yards for the score and a 20-7 lead after the PAT kick went off the left upright.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Poteau drove the field and scored on a 6-yard run by Jackson Summers and the lead was 27-7.
Kelley’s offense woke up and scored three straight times to take a 28-27 lead. Poteau came right back by driving 68 yards and scoring on a 9-yard run by Mattox with 8:32 left in the fourth quarter.
That set the stage for Kelley’s offense to drive down the field, have the touchdown wiped out before the big defensive stand kept the Pirates in the lead.
Poteau picked up a key first down and ran out the clock.
The win avenged a 26-7 loss at Bishop Kelley last season. Poteau hosts Arkansas power Shiloh Christian next week while Kelley plays Sand Springs.
Collins finished with 137 yards rushing and Mattox added 133 to lead the Pirates’ offense.
Poteau 35, Kelley 28
KHS 0 7 14 7—28
PHS 14 6 7 8–35
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