PRYOR — As Claremore tacked on its 48th point in Friday’s 48-34 win at Pryor, Bishop Kelley had just rallied from 14-3 down to beat Tahlequah 16-14.
Coupled with Skiatook’s 10-3 win over Collinsville, Claremore came out on top of the three-way district tie with the most district points, and claimed the third spot in the upcoming 5A football playoffs.
Tahlequah takes the fourth spot, and Collinsville is out.
Claremore finishes the regular season at 6-4.
It wasn’t easy for Claremore in the early going against Pryor. The Tigers took the opening kick and marched right down the field as Drew Miller hit Garrett Mitchell with a screen pass, and Mitchell broke several tackles and rambled 26 yards for a 6-0 lead. The two-point conversion failed.
Pryor’s Will Considine intercepted a Noah Grimett pass at the 2, stopping an answer by Claremore. But eventually, the Zebras had the right answer.
Claremore running back Coleman Parsons, who had missed the past several games with a knee injury, showed no signs of a bad knee as he pounded the ball in from the 4, and Claremore led 7-0 with 51 seconds left it the first.
Mitchell got his second touchdown, this time a run up the middle from the 4, and after a two-point conversion run by Considine, the Tigers led 14-7.
Only a few plays later, the Zebras struck again, this time with a long bomb from Grimett to Dylan Kedzior, who was running free down the field. The catch and run covered 85 yards, but the kick failed and Claremore trailed 14-13 with 7:27 left in the half.
Claremore then took the lead for good on a two-yard quarterback keeper by Grimett. The two-point conversion pass to Quentin Skinner was good and Claremore led 21-14 27 seconds left in the half.
Claremore had deferred on the opening coin toss, which meant the Zebras got the ball to start the second half, and they made the most of it.
Parsons scored his second touchdown from the three yard line through a wide open hole with 9:51 left in the third. Claremore led 28-14.
The Zebras were in total control. They went for the kill on a double-reverse pitch back to Grimett, who tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Luke Williams, who was standing all alone in the end zone.
Claremore led 35-14 with 6:44 left in the third.
Another Grimett TD toss, this time a 19-yarder to Kedzior made it 41-14 at the 11:26 mark.
By the time Pryor woke up its offense, it was too late. Miller threw a 2-yard pass to Considine, who snagged it one-handed with 10:29 left in the game, making it 41-21.
Zebra sophomore running back Jace Hightower squirted through a hole on the left side of the line and ran virtually untouched for a 19-yard touchdown with 6:22 left. Claremore led 48-21.
Pryor was playing its last game of the season and weren’t going down without a fight. Miller hit Bennett Sherrer from the 4 with 5:29 left, making it 48-27.
Sherrer had a 92 yard fumble return for a touchdown to cap the scoring.
Claremore will now hit the road in the first round of the playoffs. They will play at Shawnee, a 20-14 winner over Noble for second place in District 5A-3.