POTEAU — When desperate times called for a trick play, Poteau executed it to perfection.
With the ball at its own 12, the Pirates used a hook-and-lateral play for a 88-yard touchdown with four minutes left to rally past Van Buren 43-40 in a interstate shootout Friday.
“We practiced it a couple of times Thursday,” Poteau coach Greg Werner said. “To tell you the truth, I am kinda tired of these high scoring games.”
The Pirates (2-0) survived a 43-42 overtime win last week against Durant, Okla., and things looked bleak just minutes before the big play.
The Pointers (0-2) had taken a 40-35 lead with 8:33 left on a 46-yard run by Tyrone Joseph and looked primed to increase the lead with the ball inside the Poteau 20. But the Pirates defense stiffened and stuffed quarterback Brad Eversole on a fourth-and-1 at the 17 with 4:15 left.
Pitchford, which did not play for most of the second half with leg cramps, returned to the game at that point. After a delay penalty moved the ball back to the 12, Pitchford hit Jarrett Lowrimore on a short route. Lowrimore then lateraled to Hardaway at the 20 and he raced untouched for the score.
Van Buren had one more chance, but an interception by Poteau’s Devin Anderson with 3:27 left allowed the Pirates to run out the clock.
The Pointers rolled up 462 yards of offense, but three turnovers, a blocked field goal and the fourth-down stop late kept Van Buren from adding more points.
Eversole finished with 234 passing yards on 21-of-39 passing with four touchdown passes. Joseph led all rushers with 155 yards on 20 carries and two scores.
Pitchford rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns while added 122 passing yards and two scores.
The first half was an offensive shootout as the teams dueled to a 28-28 draw.
Eversole threw for 200 first-half yards and three touchdowns to lead the Van Buren attack. Pitchford paced Poteau, throwing for a score, running for two others while gaining 100 yards on the ground at halftime.
Van Buren had a 21-7 lead after one quarter, only to see two Pitchford scrambles in the backfield turn into touchdown runs of 45 and 31 in a 50-second span late in the half to tie the game.
The Pointers answered on a 38-yard toss from Eversole to a wide open Jake Freeman to retake the lead 28-21 with 2:44 left in the half. The Pirates, though, turned a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff into a 78-yard touchdown return by Kendrick Hardaway. Like both Pitchford runs, the Pointers missed several tackles that paved the way for the long runs.
Van Buren 40
SUMMARY — The Pirates rallied with a trick play to score with four minutes left to win its second-straight high-scoring game of the season.
TURNING POINT — Before the Pirates used the gadget play, the defense stuffed Van Buren on a fourth-and-1 on the Poteau 17. Van Buren was poised to put the game away, but the defense made to stop that lead to the winning play.
STAT — Jace Pitchford ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more to lead the Poteau offensive attack.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
POTEAU 43, VAN BUREN 40
Van Buren 21 7 6 6 — 40
Poteau 7 21 7 8 — 43
VB — Joseph 48 run (Almond kick), 10:12.
Pot — Lowrimore 16 pass from Pitchford (Pitchford kick), 8:39.
VB — Martin 11 pass from Eversole (Almond kick), 5:33.
VB — Martin 17 pass from Eversole (Almond kick), 4:29.
Pot — Pitchford 45 run (Pitchford kick), 5:43.
Pot — Pitchford 31 run (Pitchford kick), 3:34.
VB — Freeman 38 pass from Eversole (Almond kick), 2:44.
Pot — Hardaway 78 yard kickoff return (Pitchford kick), 2:30.
Pot — Pitchford 43 run (Pitchford kick), 9:24.
VB — Joseph 10 pass from Eversole (kick blocked), 3:50.
VB — Joseph 46 run (run failed), 8:33.
Pot— Hardaway 80 lateral (Key pass from Pitchford), 4:02.
First downs 11 19
Rushes-yards 38-197 38-210
Passing 265 122
Comp-Att-Int 23-40-2 6-17-1
Punts 6-37 10-31
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 11-115 12-115
RUSHING — Van Buren, Joseph 20-155, Hudspeth 4-33, Eversole 14-9. Poteau, Pitchford 16-131, Barcheers 20-85, Archey 2-(-6).
PASSING — Van Buren, Eversole 22-39-2-234, Cureton 1-1-0-31. Poteau, Pitchford 6-15-1-122, Archey 0-1-0-0, Grimm 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Van Buren, Cureton 5-27, Martin 4-27, Rodriguez 3-19, Joseph 3-2, Freeman 3-73, Dasso 2-13, Eversole 1-31, Hudspeth 1-3. Poteau, Lowrimore 4-35, Hardaway 1-76, Key 1-11.
MISSED FIELD GOAL — Van Buren, Almond 39 (blocked).