By Ty Loftis
Photo of Dax Collins by Karen Schwartz
Over the next few weeks, SBLive Oklahoma will break down high school football teams from the four largest classifications in the state in anticipation of the upcoming 2022 season. Here's our look at the Poteau Pirates.
7 offense, 8 defense
2021 AT A GLANCE
Overall record: 11-2
District record: 7-0, 1st in District 4A-4
Playoffs: Lost to Tuttle, 28-21, in the semifinals of the Class 4A state playoffs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB Dax Collins, 6-1, 185, Jr.
Poteau coach Greg Werner’s Wing-T offense will be led by Collins, who rushed for more than 1,400 yards and averaged more than 12 yards a carry. Werner knows that Collins has great potential.
"Dax is the most talented skill player on this side of the state," Werner said. "He makes plays others don’t."
LB Kix Fenton, 6-0, 205, Sr.
On defense, Poteau held nine of its opponents to two scores or less during the regular season. Fenton comes back at linebacker after recording 44 tackles last year, along with 7.5 tackles for loss.
DL Luke Brooks, 6-1, 205, Jr.
Brooks, who made 55 tackles and added nine sacks, will anchor the defensive front for the Pirates.
On a week-to-week basis, the Wing-T offense is never easy to prepare for and when you have an explosive playmaker like Collins, it makes it even more difficult.
The Pirates have won 11 or more games in three of the past four years and reached the playoffs in each of the past nine years, including the program's first state title achieved in 2019.
Poteau will be breaking in a new quarterback in either senior Wesley Garrett, sophomore Kord Fenton or freshman Sam Tecia. However, whomever gets the starting nod behind center will have three talented receivers retuning in Wyatt Gamble, Jace Hall and Jaxon Hurst. Hall is a senior, while Gamble and Hurst are both juniors.
As long as the new quarterback is able to come in and handle the offense, more promising things should be on the horizon for the Pirates.
Poteau plays its first two ballgames against a pair of strong Tulsa-area schools. The Pirates travel to Bishop Kelley on Aug. 26, and then return home on Sept. 9 to take on Metro Christian.
Also, Poteau travels to Chandler in its final tuneup before District 4A-4 play.
The Pirates start 4A-4 action at home on Sept. 23 against Fort Gibson, a team that is vying to topple Poteau for district supremacy. Poteau has another home game with another potential 4A-4 contender, Hilldale, on Oct. 7.
On Oct. 21, Poteau is home against rival Sallisaw. The Pirates are meeting up with the Black Diamonds for the 75th time since 1944 this season. In that span, that series is currently split at 37 wins apiece, with Poteau winning eight of the last nine ballgames.
"What’s important now is our theme for 2022. That requires our kids to get better every day in order for us to continue our winning tradition." - Greg Werner