Poteau was not only on the outside looking in of the 4A playoffs the past few seasons but the 4A-4 district as well.
Enter Greg Werner prior to the 2012 season and now the Pirates are the team being chased.
The Pirates have reeled off five straight wins and are averaging 43 points in the process. Poteau’s transition has been a quick one and, according to the team, it’s been an easy one.
“Coach Werner coming in here and trying to make us play hard,” senior Jarrett Lowrimore said. “The difference in before and now is we have so much more discipline and we play a lot harder.”
“Preparation I think is always a big part of confidence,” fellow senior Kendrick Hardaway said. “We’ve prepared through the offseason. He’s really good at knowing what to prepare for so there’s rarely a situation we run into that we don’t know what to do.”
After winning a pair of shootouts to start the season, the Poteau defense has clamped down since district play began two weeks ago. The Pirates allowed just nine points to league power Sallisaw two weeks ago then Poteau routed Stilwell 50-12 last week.
“We got a great group of kids right now,” Werner said. “They have just totally sold into the program and what we did in the spring and the summer. Attendance was unbelievable. Our kids have bought into the program and some great things are happening.”
The Pirates’ high powered offense could be tested this week as No. 7 ranked Fort Gibson hosts No. 6 Poteau and is averaging more than 33 points a game.
“They’re a great football team and very well coached,” Werner said. “They’re just really good up front. They’re big and physical and we’re just going to have to be able to stand up to that and not let them just grind us out play after play. It’s going to be a heck of a battle.”