The Poteau Pirates built up a big lead in the first half that the Durant Lions just couldn’t overcome in the teams’ first game of the season on Sept. 6. The Lions put together some score plays in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 40-13 at home to open the season.

Before the season started, Durant head coach Ray Richards said he liked what he was seeing with the Lions.

“We had our best summer workouts in many years,” Richards said via email. “And the players are coming together as a team. Consistency on offense, the ability to get first downs and get field position (are going to be keys to success this season).”

Richards also said it’s important for the Lions to keep turnovers at a minimum and not give up big plays on the defensive side. The last big factor to a successful season is staying healthy, Richards said. With 14 starters returning and the senior leadership Durant has, Richards previously told VYPE Oklahoma the Lions have a chance to have a winning season if they catch some breaks and everything fits together.

Durant High went out on the road for Week Two on Friday to face District 5A-1’s Ardmore High Tigers, who lost last year’s Class 5A championship game to Edmond Santa Fe High, but that game was played after press time for this issue. The third week of the season brings the Lions’ first Thursday night game of the year, as they’ll face Class 4A Broken Bow High on the road on Sept. 19.