The Pryor Times

Sports

June 21, 2014

Pirates no longer labeled underdogs

LOCUST GROVE, OK — In 2013, Locust Grove played the role of underdog to a 12-1 record, shattering school records left and right on its march to a state quarterfinal appearance.

The Pirates were able to sneak up on teams last season, though in nearly every game they boasted the better team. That happens when a program wins just six games in three years.

That won't be the case in 2014.

Junior firecrackers Mason Fine and Jason Pirtle return to light up the scoreboard and fellow junior Trevor Taylor is back to anchor the stingy defense, but their foes are familiar, if a little downgraded from a season ago.

The Pirates will play a similar schedule in the fall as they played a year ago, with the glaring omission of district runners-up Hilldale and Lincoln Christian.

Replacing the Hornets and Bulldogs in District 3A-7 are Claremore Sequoyah and Inola — respectable teams, but not nearly the forces Hilldale and Lincoln were.

Locust Grove will continue its home-and-away non-district slate with Salina (road), Kansas (road), Stilwell (home) and Dewey (home) in 2014. As always, the season will open on a Thursday with the Battle of 82 against the Wildcats.

All four opponents, save for Stilwell, were playoff teams in 2013.

The district slate includes returning playoff team Jay, Tahlequah Sequoyah, Westville and Keys.

Locust Grove should be favored in every regular season game this season. No team on its schedule except Salina won more than six games in 2013, and the Wildcats graduated six of their top seven rushers from a nine-win roster.

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