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Former Claremore running back Jace Hightower (5) is tackled by a host of Catoosa defenders during the Rogers County Rumble last year in Oologah.

Before they begin their push for a fifth-consecutive playoff berth, the Zebras go from one county rival to another.

For the first time since 2007, Claremore closes nondistrict play with a battle against intra-county foe Catoosa on Sept. 18 at Lantow Field. This comes only a week after reigniting its feud with Oologah, which also hails from Rogers County.

The programs had met on a semi-regular basis since 1970, but the series was put on hold after the Zebras moved to Class 6A and Catoosa dropped to Class 4A in 2008. Claremore has since fallen back to 5A, and though less than 20 miles separate the schools, they have only just now managed to resume the rivalry.

The Indians won the last meeting 21-14, keeping the Zebras from the playoffs in the process. Thirteen years is a long time to wait for revenge.

When: Week 3 | Sept. 18

Where: Lantow Field, Claremore

All-time series: According to IWasAtTheGame.com, Claremore leads 6-1 (records only as of 1999)

A LOOK AT THE INDIANS

Overview: Catoosa is young, returning only 10 starters from last year’s 3-7 team.

However, the roster has grown by 40 players in the offseason, which will give the Indians many options to choose from when filling out lineups. Coach Jason Medrano had only 28 players at the end of last season.

Catoosa will run a spread offense and utilize a 3-5-3 defensive scheme.

Key Returner: Cody Busch. As a junior, Busch somewhat struggled in the spotlight.

Although he completed nearly 50 percent of his passes for 1,409 yards and eight touchdowns, he also threw 18 interceptions.

With a year of experience under his belt, Medrano expects Busch’s turnovers to drop dramatically this year as the Indians look to exploit defenses with a pass-heavy attack.

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