There’s no other place Claremore senior midfielder Tommy Howe would have enjoyed spending his 17th birthday than on the soccer pitch at Lantow Field.
Howe helped fire up the Claremore offense with first-half assists on a pair of goals that led the Class 5A No. 9 Zebras past Sapulpa, 2-0 Friday night in non-conference action.
Claremore (3-1) came out blazing with a strong offensive attack led by Austin McKinney and Bear Hope.
McKinney got the Zebras on the board first with 23 minutes remaining in the first half on a goal from the cross field assist by Howe.
With Claremore leading 1-0, Sapulpa’s offense couldn’t counter as the Zebras defense — led by junior sweeper Nick Hrdlicka and senior goalkeeper Zane Greer — kept the Chieftans in check.
Moments after McKinney’s goal, Howe launched a 20-yard pass over the Sapulpa defense and right under the grasp of junior forward Gage Meisinger, who manuevered past the Chieftans’ goalkeeper Colton Wilson.
Meisinger’s goal sent Claremore into the locker room at halftime with a 2-0 advantage.
Claremore continued its pressure on offense in the second half with several shots on goal, including a wide-open shot attempt by Meisinger that sailed over the net.
Claremore’s (Bear) Hope also had a scoring opportunity late in the game but the official ruled an offensive foul on the push off by the Zebras’ sophomore forward.