Winless Wellston gaining players instead of losing them

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS — Fred Peery wants to develop a winning culture at Wellston. His team hasn't won yet, but they've made an impression on their fellow students. Two weeks ago, eight more students showed up for practice to help out the team.
by Ed Godfrey Published: October 11, 2012
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photo - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Wellston football coach Fred Peery watches as players Andy Sitton, left, and Seth Sellars participate in a drill practice on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Wellston football coach Fred Peery watches as players Andy Sitton, left, and Seth Sellars participate in a drill practice on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Poplin, however, never thought about quitting, like some of his former teammates did.

“I have too much passion for Wellston,” he said. “I have been playing for this team forever. Losing gets to me, but I love football and I love playing for this team.”

It hasn't translated to wins on the football field, but Peery said the players have done everything that's been asked of them.

“Whether you are winning or losing, you got to start doing the right things,” he said.

People in the community have noticed the improvement and the effort.

“Everyone is wearing their orange and black, and they are pumped up for the game,” said senior Jeremy Gaitan. “People are hanging up signs, ‘Go Tigers.' I haven't seen that in a long time.”

The closest Wellston has gotten to a win this season was a 7-0 loss to Drumright on Sept. 28, when a fumble was returned for a touchdown late in the game.

Whether the Tigers win a game this season or not, Poplin believes he has played a part in the program's turnaround.

“We haven't won any games, but you can tell we've improved from last year,” he said. “I know we are getting a lot better, and this program is going to be a lot better in the future. I guarantee that.”

Men of Courage

Peery didn't expect to add eight new players in the middle of the season, but he gladly accepted the help.

Now, the coaches and junior high students don't have to stand in on the scout team during practice. Three of the newcomers already have earned starting positions.

On Thursday, Peery took his Tigers to Shawnee for a team photo that he plans to put on a poster entitled “Men of Courage.”

He thinks it's courageous that high school kids will continue to battle for a team that never wins, and that other kids would want to join them halfway through the season.

He plans to put the poster in the Wellston weight room for future Tiger players to see.

“This group here has laid the foundation,” Peery said. “These kids practice like they haven't lost a game, and that to me is inspiring.”


by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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WELLSTON (0-6) AT MEEKER (2-4)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Scouting report: Wellston hasn't won a football game since Oct. 8, 2010, when the Tigers defeated Hinton, 32-20. In the last two seasons, Wellston has been shut out eight times and not scored more than 14 points in a game. Meeker is coming off a 58-21 loss to Stroud and is 1-2 in District 2A-5 with its lone victory coming against Haskell.

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