By CRAIG HALL
For most of the county football teams, week 3 is the final week of the non-district schedule before district play starts next week.
There are certainly some interesting contests this week, highlighted by Poteau entertaining Arkansas power Gravette and Heavener visiting Paris, Ark.
Both Poteau and Gravette are 2-0 entering tonight’s game. The Pirates opened with a 38-35 barnburner against a good Checotah team before blistering Idabel last week, 42-7. Gravette has won both its games fairly easy, 50-26, at Jay and 49-7 over McDonald County, Mo.
The Pirates have already gotten revenge on Checotah, one of the seven losses from last year, and will be looking to win their second game against a team which beat them last year. Both teams have potent offenses and the game could be high scoring. Gravette is coming off a 9-2 season from a year ago
Poteau quarterback Wilson Klutts has thrown for eight touchdowns in the first two games while wide receiver Jesse Woodson has caught three touchdown passes and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown to open last week’s game. Gravette quarterback Clayton Alexander has completed 30-41 passes for 410 yards and seven touchdowns while running back Darrick Strzelecki has rushed for 315 yards and five scores.
Heavener will look to build on its momentum from last week’s win over Central before heading into district play next week. The Wolves struggled early, made some adjustments then dominated play over the final three quarters in the 21-6 victory over the Tigers. Junior running back Blake Smittle rushed for 244 yards last week and is the Wolves’ main weapon.
Paris is 2-0 on the season and expected to battle for a conference championship. The Eagles opened with a 35-7 win over Green Forest before downing Waldron, 42-8, last week.
The other top game of the week is Spiro hosting Roland. Spiro is 1-1 after falling at Muldrow last week while Roland enters the game, 2-0. One interesting aspect of the game is the two teams have played the same opponents this season.
Spiro opened with an easy win over Panama before having turnovers problems in its loss at Muldrow. Roland opened with an overtime win over Muldrow before winning at Panama last week.
Talihina will look to extend its regular-season winning streak when the Tigers host Central. Talihina is 2-0 after wins over Haileyville and Gore while Central has lost to Kansas and Heavener. These games have been competitive over the last few years and Central came the closest to ruining Talihina’s perfect record in last year’s game.
One big key is whether Central quarterback Aaron Busch can play. He injured a leg in the third quarter of last week’s loss to Heavener and did not return. The Tigers struggled on offense without Busch, who had two big runs early for Central.
Brandon Ellis will return to Gore this week as the Panama coach. Ellis was the coach at Gore before moving to Panama. Both teams have struggled early and are 0-2 entering the contest.
Pocola is 2-0 after a pair of fairly easy wins but is expected to get its first test when the Indians travel to Quinton tonight. The Indians are riding a five-game winning streak, but lost last year’s game against Quinton, 41-12. Quinton is also 2-0 with wins over Community Christian and Barnsdall.
Arkoma is looking to continue its hot streak early as the Mustangs travel to face Southwestern Christian tonight in Norman. The Mustangs are 2-0 while SW Christian is 0-3 and has struggled badly on defense, which is not good news when that same defense will have to try and slow down the potent Arkoma offense.
Bokoshe will be looking for its first win after losing its first two games when the Tigers host 1-1 Webbers Falls tonight.