Excitement abounds in Claremore.
The No. 5 Zebras are 8-1, headed to the Class 5A playoffs and looking to keep the momentum with a huge ‘Senior Night’ performance against the Grove Ridgerunners this Friday at Lantow Field.
According to Claremore head football coach Rob Gilbreath, “Last week’s win at Coweta was great for this team, the town of Claremore and our school. It guaranteed us a home playoff game — something that hasn’t taken place in quite a while.”
The Zebras clinched the No. 2 seed in the District 5A-4 race behind East Central and will more than likely face either Tulsa Memorial or McAlester in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs on Nov. 9 at Lantow Field.
Gilbreath acknowledged that his team deserves the town of Claremore behind them as the Zebras journey into the postseason.
“Each week, the fans that have come out and supported us have seen that this team never quits and plays with heart,” Gilbreath said. “We’re a team that isn’t going to go down without putting up a fight.”
Claremore’s task Friday night, though, comes against a Grove team that is struggling, Gilbreath added.
“Grove hasn’t won a district game and their only victory came against Miami in Week 1,” he continued. “However, they are one of those teams that doesn’t have anything to lose and will fight hard as long as we let them. The important thing that we have to do is take it to them early and often until they want to throw in the towel.”
Offensively, Grove (1-8 overall, 0-6 district) has total 147 points in nine games for an average of 16.3 per contest.
According to Gilbreath, “Their quarterback (Spychalski) is good and throws and runs well. The tailback (Steffenson) is a good athlete, too, that runs hard and has made some long runs this year.
“Up front, though, they are not very good and struggle against slanting and blitzing.”
Claremore’s defense — led by senior linebacker Jordan Cunningham and with 143 tackles and senior defensive end Grady Caton — has given up a total of 120 points in nine games for an average of 13.3 per contest.
“We take pride in running a base defense that swarms to the football,” Gilbreath said.
The old adage of ‘Defense wins Championships’ still holds true in Zebra Country as coordinator Jarrett Hurt and his ‘Wrecking Crew’ have held four opponents to under 10 points.
Coweta, in Week 9, is the only opponent to score 25 points or more on the Zebras’ fierce defense.
Excitement abounds in Claremore.
Patel named RSU men's basketball assistant coach
Rogers State University head men’s basketball coach Justin Barkley named Vinay Patel the new assistant men’s basketball coach on Monday.
“I am very excited about bringing Vinay on board,” Barkley said. “He brings invaluable experience to the program as he is a well-respected recruiter and his NCAA Division II resume is a perfect fit as we continue our transition to become a full-NCAA Division II member.”
Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell capped off a stellar four-year prep basketball career with Tulsa World 2nd-Team All-State recognition.
O’Dell, a 5-foot-5 floor general that will compete for the Lamar University Lady Cardinals in the Southland Conference next season, was one of five girls basketball players from Rogers County to earn All-State accolades.
Claremore senior point guard Kaleigh Cox, Inola senior point guard Lexi Williams, Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan and Verdigris freshman forward Keara Battenfield were named to the honorable mention squad.
SOCCER: Lady Zebras ranked 4th in Class 5A poll
Strong senior leadership and a talented core of underclassmen have kept the Claremore Lady Zebras on a nine-game winning streak since falling in the season opener.
Senior midfielder Katelin Teter and senior defenders Jentry Cruce and Anna McGuire have the Lady Zebras playing their best soccer in the closing week of the regular season.
Behind Teter, Cruce and McGuire, as well as other seniors Bailey Bacon and Emily Parkinson, the Lady Zebras (9-1) are currently ranked No. 4 overall in the Class 5A girls soccer state poll.
BASEBALL: Claremore splits series with Collinsville
The moment Claremore senior catcher Matt Whatley got thrown out at home plate in the top of first inning, it was downhill for the Zebras.
Collinsville took advantage of six Claremore errors and erupted for 17 hits to thump the Zebras, 15-2 Friday afternoon in Metro Lakes Conference play.
BASEBALL: Catoosa’s Brown holds off Ft. Gibson
Nick Brown twirled a four-hitter and Catoosa held firm defensively with the game on the line, powering the Indians to a 4-3 victory over Fort Gibson Saturday on Senior Day.
RSU's Law silences UT-Permian Basin
The Rogers State University baseball team dropped game one of a Heartland Conference series at Texas-Permian Basin, 2-0, but battled back to split the twin bill Friday with a 7-1 victory in the night cap.
Southern Mississippi searching for new basketball coach
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Kentucky's Julius Randle enters NBA Draft
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SEC MEN'S BB: Tennessee hires Southern Mississippi's Donnie Tyndall
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