Poteau puts away Wagoner in semifinals

JENKS—Poteau will be playing for a state champion Friday at 1 p.m. at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond after a 7-3 win over Wagoner in the state semifinals Friday night.

Class 4A bracket

On a cold and wet night, after a one-hour rain delay, the third-ranked Pirates gutted out a win over the fourth-ranked Bulldogs.

Poteau improves to 12-1 while Wagoner falls to 10-3. The Pirates play Weatherford, a 16-7 winner over Tuttle in the other semifinal game, for the gold ball.

As usual, Poteau’s defense dominated, holding the top offense in Class 4A to only 107 yards of offense. The Pirates also answered a huge challenge on Wagoner’s final possession.

The Bulldogs’ final possession started on Poteau’s 34 after a punt return and 15-yard penalty against the Pirates. Wagoner was shut down, giving the Pirates the ball with a little over four minutes remaining.

Poteau ran out the clock with a couple of first downs, sending the Pirates to the championship game for the first time since 2013.

Trailing 3-0, Poteau held Wagoner on the opening drive of the second half. The Pirates then drove 76 yards on 18 plays that ate up 8:28, capped off by a 3-yard scoring run by Jayden Mankin. Jorge Martinez drilled the PAT for a 7-3 lead.

The drive was aided by a 15-yard pass from Easton Francis to Colton Williamson on a fake punt on a fourth-and-one play. This came after Poteau failed on a fake punt in the first half.

Poteau’s Mason Barcheers rushed for 131 yards on 24 carries and picked up half the yards on the Pirates’ game-winning drive in the third quarter.

But it was Poteau’s defense that was once again the story, holding the Bulldogs in check aside from the one field goal in the first half. Wagoner had averaged 42 points per game coming into Friday’s game.

Now, Poteau is in position to play for the first football state championship in school history, and only the second one by a LeFlore County school. Talihina won a gold ball in 1966.

The win was also the Pirates’ 12th straight. After losing at 5A El Reno in the opener, Poteau sailed through the remainder of the schedule, easily winning most game. The only other close game was a 14-0 win at Broken Bow which clinched the district championship. That game was also played on a wet, cold night.

This will be Poteau’s fourth trip to the state championship game.

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