Sports Sunday Correspondent
Following Claremore’s 23-7 win over Catoosa Friday night at Lantow Field, assistant coach Gavin Crocker gave a game ball to the team.
“It was a total team effort,” Crocker told the Zebra players. “We had a lot of guys play hard and do things tonight on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t just one guy tonight. That’s a testament to this team.”
The Zebras piled up 405 yards of offense, 305 on the ground, while the defense limited Catoosa to 87 yards rushing and 106 total yards.
With its second win this month, Claremore stands at 2-7 overall and 2-4 in District 5A-4. Catoosa is 3-6 and 2-4.
There were plenty of standout performances for the Zebras.
Junior Josh Dexter, an impact player on defense all season, rushed for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Sophomore Colby Bonham had 17 tackles and sacked Catoosa quarterback Doug Quinn twice.
Senior Casey Cook had one of three Claremore interceptions and also recovered a fumble, nearly returning it for a touchdown.
Junior Timmy Butcher broke the 100-yard mark again with 111 yards that included a 36-yard TD run.
Junior Josh Holland had a quarterback sack, a handful of tackles and continually chased Quinn from the pocket.
Sophomore quarterback Blake Grauer was steady, completing seven of 15 passes for 100 yards and running for 51 yards on nine carries
“Except for that one possession, our defense just played spectacular,” said offensive coordinator Rob Gilbreath, acting head coach in the absence of Keith Bell. “Offensively, we made some adjustments and started running to the quick side and that’s when Dexter stepped up.”
“That one possession” Gilbreath mentioned was Catoosa’s second of the game. The Indians started at their own 23-yard line and drove 77 yards in 17 plays, a drive that used over seven minutes. Dee Capehart capped the drive by bulling in from four yards for a 7-0 lead.
Claremore tied it on its next possession, going 80 yards on seven plays. Along the way, Grauer had a 21-yard run and Dexter eluded the defense for a 41-yard pickup before taking it in from the 10 on the first play of the second quarter to make it 7-all.
The Zebras took the lead for good when Dexter blasted in from the one on a drive that started at the Claremore 11. Big plays included a 15-yard pass from Grauer to senior Chris Bottoms, a 48-yard run by Butcher and a 24-yard pickup by Dexter to the Catoosa one.
“When our line comes to play, anybody has a chance to have a night like I did. They just blew people off the ball all night long,” Dexter said. “Tonight, we finally dominated and made the big plays it takes to win a ball game.”
“Any time you hold a team to less than 90 yards rushing, you’re doing the job,” said CHS line coach Brian Key. “We made some adjustments on defense after that first drive and they couldn’t move the ball after that. Our kids did a great job.”
The Indians, who had just two first downs over the final three quarters, tried to mount a drive late in the third quarter. But on third-and-11 from the Claremore 44, Quinn was intercepted by Cook, and the Zebras needed just three plays to score, with Butcher romping 36 yards to make it 21-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Two of Catoosa’s next three drives also ended in interceptions, one by freshman Evan Crutchfield and the other by senior Jared Estes.
The Indians last gasp at points began after junior Cory Jefferis’ punt pinned Catoosa at its own one. Two plays later, Bonham leveled Quinn in the end zone for a safety to squash that possibility.
CLAREMORE 23, CATOOSA 7
Catoosa 7 0 0 0 — 7
Claremore 0 7 7 9 — 23
Catoosa — Capehart 4 run (Tomlinson kick)
Claremore — Dexter 10 run (Jefferis kick)
Claremore — Dexter 1 run (Jefferis kick)
Claremore — Butcher 36 run (Jefferis kick)
Claremore — Safety, Bonham sacked Catoosa QB in end zone
Rushing — Josh Dexter 16-131, 2 TD; Timmy Butcher 12-111, TD; Blake Grauer 9-51; Ryan Foster 3-8; Jesse Bickell 2-4.
Passing — Blake Grauer 7-15-100.
Receiving — Derek Keniston 2-55; Ryan Foster 2-16; Eric Buck 2-13; Chris Bottoms 1-16.
Rushing — Dee Capehart 21-71, TD; Nick Bergeron 8-22; Scotty Moore 1-2; Doug Quinn 10-(minus-8).
Passing — Doug Quinn 5-16-29.
Receiving — Bobby McDonald 3-18; Adam Tomlinson 1-12.