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Friday night’s matchup between Claremore Christian and Sunrise Christian was a game full of hard hitting and running the ball down the defenses’ throats on what was a muddy and slippery football field.

This game was “win or go home” for the Warriors, as this was the first playoff game of the postseason for them, and the winner would go on to play in the HCAA Class 3A state championship.

Claremore Christian coach Ryan Mullins and the Warriors started the game strong, holding Sunrise Christian scoreless through the first quarter, but an onslaught of penalties and poor field conditions kept Claremore Christian from advancing in a 44-22 loss to the Buffaloes.

Junior quarterback Bryan Vickers started the game off with a 52-yard touchdown run on the opening drive to put the Warriors up 6-0.

The Warriors defense was stout in the first quarter with Caleb Ekedal and Deacon Abbott leading the charge.

Ekedal was all over the field on defense, racking up several tackles while Abbott, though undersized, was almost perfect when defending Sunrise Christian’s tall wide receivers.

Ekedal also had a great game running the ball, rushing for for 123 yards on 20 carries.

The Buffaloes would find their stride in the second quarter, though, preventing Claremore Christian from scoring again in the first half while throwing three touchdowns of their own.

Sunrise Christian’s secondary was stingy all game and allowed Bryan Vickers to pass for only 30 yards on 3-of-10 passing.

Both teams traded blows during the third quarter by scoring touchdowns on both sides of the field.

Towards the end of the third quarter, the Warriors showed hope after Ekedal blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown to cut the Buffaloes’ lead to two scores.

Unfortunately for Claremore Christian, it would not score for the rest of the game, for it was riddled with penalties, collecting nine for a total of 90 yards.

Taking care of the ball also proved to be an issue for the Warriors, leading to two lost fumbles and two interceptions.

The defense for the Warriors kept a lid on Sunrise Christian’s run game all night and did well in defending the ball through the air, but a few big pass plays would be all the Buffaloes needed to win the game.

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