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!
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.
BASEBALL: UT-Arlington tops Oklahoma, 6-5
Oklahoma didn’t arrive at L. Dale Mitchell in a listless state on Tuesday. It knew the meeting with Texas-Arlington was important. Momentum needed to start heading in a positive direction.
Then OU started hitting into double plays and it was all downhill from there in a 6-5 loss to the Mavericks.
Baylor's Isaiah Austin declares for NBA Draft
Baylor sophomore center Isaiah Austin has decided to forgo the remainder of his collegiate eligibility to enter the NBA draft.
NBA PLAYOFFS: DeRozan's 30 points lifts Raptors past Nets
DeMar DeRozan put his playoff jitters aside and turned in an All-Star performance for the Toronto Raptors.
DeRozan scored 30 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-95 on Tuesday night, evening their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.
NBA PLAYOFFS: Wizards take 2-0 lead over Bulls
This one looked like it was slipping away from the Washington Wizards. Then, in a flash everything changed.
Bradley Beal came on strong late in regulation to finish with 26 points, Nene scored six of his 17 points in overtime and the Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 101-99 Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. Game 3 is Friday at Washington.
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