By CRAIG HALL
While most of the schools in Oklahoma will be taking part in their second scrimmage this week, Heavener, Pocola and Poteau are getting the regular season started a week early Friday with games during Zero Week.
Heavener travels to county foe Pocola and Poteau visits Bishop Kelley as the 2022 season officially begins.
You can listen to the Heavener and Pocola game HERE. Poteau’s game is on KPRV FM 92.5.
The Wolves are starting the season with new head coach Jeff Broyle guiding them as they hope to get off to a good start and make the playoffs for the first time since 2011 against a Pocola team which has dropped down to Class A and is hoping to make waves in the lower classification.
Heavener and Pocola were district opponents the last two years and are very familiar with each other. They split the last two games with the Indians winning last season. Overall, the Wolves lead the series between the two schools, 18-10.
“We’d like to have two scrimmages,” Broyles said. “I’m not a big Zero Week guy, but it is what it is. You could look at it like it would be good to have another scrimmage, but I think the kids like the Zero Week, so there are some good thing and bad things.”
The early start does have one advantage. Heavener has a bye later in the season prior to a district game with Valliant.
The advantage is the bye later in the season,” he said. “The bye week will get us an extra week for Valliant. Last year we played it and two times at Panama.”
Broyles is expecting a challenge against the Indians.
“They are what everybody expects,” he said. “Their skill people are really good and their linemen aren’t bad. They are a really good football team.
“Pocola and Gore will probably face off for the district championship. They fly around, swarm to the football. The offense they run, they do it really well.”
Broyles said Pocola is passing a little more than normal and is doing a good job.
Heavener’s scrimmage foe, Gore, is a veteran, experienced team and is expected to be one of the top teams in Class A. The Pirates showed that against Heavener.
“Gore is very solid and could win it all in Class A,” Broyles said. “They have 21 seniors which is really good for that class. That’s a lot for 2A or 3A.”
Prior to last week’s scrimmage, Broyles said he prefers playing better teams, like Gore, in the scrimmage.
“I told the kids we were missing two key parts in Jaxson Armstrong and Jackson Clubb, both a little banged up, but what I saw was they played the whole scrimmage,” he said. “They didn’t get their dobber down and the other thing I was proud of was we only had two cramps and both kids came right back and played.
Gore was physical. We aren’t going to see anybody like that until Eufaula. In the past, when we played physical teams and usually don’t handle it well. But that didn’t happen the other night. The kids kept playing until the end. They were better than us and missing those two pieces hurt us. But the kids played and that is what I like.”
Following Friday’s game, Heavener is on the road again the following week at Central Sallisaw before returning home Sept. 9 to host Hartshorne in the home opener.
Poteau and Kelley have played the last two years, both winning at home. Both games have been fairly close even though the Pirates are stepping up a class to play the Comets.
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