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!
'Twice as Nice'
When it comes to the 3A State Tournament and Oklahoma City, the Verdigris High School basketball teams are a household name.
Head coaches Randy Upshaw and Mike Buntin lead their programs back to the 'Capitol City' this week for a chance to hoist the coveted 3A state championship on Saturday night at the Big House.
‘Soaring to State’
In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Tahlequah Sequoyah wins nail-biter over No. 4 Verdigris
The Tahlequah Sequoyah Indians pulled the upset Friday night and punched their ticket to the Class 3A State Tournament.
Behind Caisen Green’s game-high 26 points and B.J. Leach’s 16 points, the Indians roared past No. 4 Verdigris, 64-55 in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
4A AREA PLAYOFFS: Stilwell eliminates Inola
The Inola Longhorns got behind early and never could recover as Stilwell rolled to a 73-47 win in the Class 4A Area Tournament Friday afternoon at Claremore High School Gymnasium.
4A AREA PLAYOFFS: Inola knocks out Locust Grove
The Inola Lady Longhorns moved one win closer to punching their ticket to the Class 4A State Tournament Friday afternoon.
With the 37-35 win over Locust Grove, the Lady Longhorns advanced to the Area Finals Saturday night against Vinita.
High School Basketball State Tournament Brackets
The Oklahoma High School Basketball State Tournaments will get under way this week in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa-Metro Area.
Below is a listing of the Class 3A-6A State Tournament Pairings.
Arkansas fires women's basketball coach Tom Collen
Arkansas fired women's basketball coach Tom Collen on Friday, bringing a close to a disappointing stretch for the program.
The Razorbacks (19-11) lost in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament to Mississippi on Wednesday, the eighth time in nine seasons they've failed to advance past the opening game.
SEC MBB: Alabama snaps Arkansas' 6-game win streak
Trevor Releford scored 24 points and Shannon Hale added 18 to lead Alabama to an 83-58 victory over Arkansas on Saturday, snapping the Razorbacks' six-game winning streak.
SEC MBB: Tennessee trounces Missouri, 72-45
Antonio Barton scored 16 points and Jarnell Stokes had a double-double Saturday as Tennessee trounced Missouri 72-45 to win its fourth straight game and boost its NCAA tournament hopes.
BIG 12 MBB: Crockett leads Texas Tech past Texas
Jaye Crockett scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Texas Tech to a 59-53 win over Texas in a regular-season finale on Saturday.
This was the Red Raiders' (14-17, 6-12 Big 12) first win over the Longhorns (22-9, 11-7) since 2008 in Lubbock.
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