Although district games are important for playoff purposes, not all matchups are created equal.
There can be exceptions for those less-exciting contests, though, which was the case for Claremore’s trip to LaFortune Stadium in Tulsa last season for a showdown with district bottom-dweller Memorial.
In addition to being a Thursday game, there was another stipulation to last year’s meeting — a noon kickoff. That added some spice to an otherwise uneventful 48 game-time minutes on the gridiron.
According to Claremore sports historian Wayne McCombs, it was the Zebras’ first regular season daytime contest since Nov. 23, 1944. The United States was still fighting in World War II at that time.
Claremore scored on three of its first five offensive snaps and had eight touchdowns before the midway point of the second quarter, cruising to a 56-6 victory.
That has been the trend since the teams were placed in District 5A-4 in 2016.
The Chargers haven’t scored more than 14 points in the past four meetings, with the Zebras holding a cumulative advantage of 166-46 on the scoreboard.
There won’t be a matinee Thursday kickoff in 2020, so assuming the game takes place on its scheduled date, there will be little spark on the excitement scale.
It falls at just the right time on the schedule for Claremore, which will undoubtedly be looking ahead to matchups against Collinsville, Tahlequah, Sapulpa and Pryor in four of the following five weeks.
Memorial hasn’t bested Claremore since a 27-22 decision on Sept. 16, 2011. That game also took place in LaFortune Stadium.
When: Week 5 | Oct. 2
Where: LaFortune Stadium, Tulsa
All-time series (as of 2008): According to IWasAtTheGame.com, Claremore leads 7-2
A LOOK AT THE CHARGERS
Overview: Memorial is looking for its first winning season since 2015 after going 1-9 last year, but a loaded District 5A-4 will make that a difficult task.
The Chargers don’t offer much in terms of explosiveness, scoring only 64 points through 10 games last season, but they can hang their hat on the offensive and defensive lines.
According to coach Brian Worrell, the entirety of both groups returns this fall. That could benefit Memorial’s production while also somewhat slowing down opposing offenses.
Key Returners: Mykel Lofton and Barry Jamerson. This running back duo combined for 553 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 134 carries in 2019, averaging about 4.1 yards per carry.
They will be key in creating a balance offensive attack that will be led by returning quarterback Kaden Walker.