Run, Claremore, run!
The Zebras amassed 428 rushing yards and cruised into the Class 5A state playoffs with a 34-7 win over Grove Friday on Senior Night at Lantow Field.
The win secured Claremore the No. 2 seed in District 5A-4 and a home playoff game on Friday against Tulsa Memorial.
“What a great win for these seniors. They represent the heart-and-soul of this team,” Claremore head coach Rob Gilbreath said. “The reason we’re headed to the playoffs and having such a successful season is a credit to their leadership.”
After a sluggish first half that saw Claremore carry a 14-0 lead into halftime, the Zebras’ ground attack started rumbling and firing on all cylinders.
Claremore senior running backs Jordan Cunningham and James Chester combined for 216 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns. Cunningham chewed up 115 yards on 6 carries, while Chester had 101 yards on 7 carries.
“We had success running the ball in the first half, and we wanted to capitalize on that coming out of the locker room,” Gilbreath said. “Grove kept blitzing, therefore taking away our passing game, and we countered with a strong running attack.”
Quarterback Matt Whatley scooted 55 yards down the right sideline to put Claremore ahead 7-0 with 6:47 left in the first quarter.
Then, with 6:44 remaining in the second quarter, Cunningham followed the lead block of Chester for a 5-yard touchdown run that put Claremore ahead 14-0 at halftime.
Claremore’s defense created two turnovers in the first half as senior defensive end Grady Caton and senior linebacker Brycen Short intercepted passes from Grove quarterback Jake Spychalski.
The momentum that Claremore gained in the first 24 minutes carried over with a lights out performance in the second half.
Claremore extended its lead to 28-0 as Chester and Short added touchdown runs of 2 and 7 yards to close out the third quarter.
“We knew Grove was going to give us their best game tonight and the first half looked very similar to the Central game,” Chester said. “In this district, none of these games are a walk in the park. You have to take every team serious.”
Claremore’s final touchdown came with 11:21 in the fourth quarter as Chester found a crease in Grove’s secondary and rumbled untouched for a 40-yard touchdown that put the Zebras in control at 34-0.
“Any time I get in the end zone, I always point to the sky and say, ‘That’s one for you, Dad,’” Chester said. “He’s been my inspiration from Day 1, and any time I can honor him, it’s special.”
Claremore’s defense, which ranks third in the state in Class 5A, received another turnover as Brinley Brown intercepted Spychalski’s pass with 5:57 left in the game.
Grove, however, held Claremore’s offense and then found the scoreboard on a 17-yard touchdown run by running back Benny Steffenson.
Claremore rushing attack amasses 428 yards in 34-7 win over Grove
Run, Claremore, run!
Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program
The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.
9 straight for Lady Zebras
Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at LaFortune Stadium.
Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.
Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1
Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.
BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah
Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.
BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah
It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.
SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0
Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
“We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.
Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays
Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.
BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats
The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.
BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3
The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.
WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney
The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.
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