For a fifth-consecutive year, Claremore football has made it to the postseason.
This time is different, though. When the Zebras (5-4) welcome East Central to Lantow Field at 7 p.m. Friday night, it will be their first home playoff game since 2012 when they beat Memorial 35-26. Their previous five appearances – 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – were all on the road.
The winner advances to play Nov. 20 against Class 5A No. 3 Coweta.
Claremore is coming off its first loss to rival Pryor since 2014, falling 22-21 in overtime. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (4-5) ended a five-game losing streak with a 20-14 victory over Edison.
According to IWasAtTheGame.com, the teams have met 17 times since 1999, with East Central winning nine of those matchups to lead the series. However, the Zebras have won the past five meetings in convincing fashion by a combined score of 223-50.
Claremore won the last encounter on Homecoming Night 2019, topping the Cardinals 55-15.
Despite the difference in record, East Central boasts a better points-per-game average of 29.7 compared to the Zebras’ 26.8. Claremore has the better defense on paper, though, allowing 20.4 points per game while the Cardinals surrender an average of 34.3.
In terms of common opponents, both teams played Nathan Hale and Memorial. The Zebras and East Central defeated the Rangers 50-2 and 73-6, respectively, and took down the Chargers 33-0 and 36-14, respectively.
Massey Ratings gives Claremore a win probability of 86%.
Oologah (3-5) at Sallisaw (4-4)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Oologah 37-14 loss vs. Bristow; Sallisaw 48-6 win vs. Stilwell
Last meeting: Oologah 42-0, 2016
Series record: Oologah leads 3-1, per IWasAtTheGame.com
Points for: Oologah 208 (26 ppg); Sallisaw 209 (26.1 ppg)
Points against: Oologah 205 (25.6 ppg); Sallisaw 183 (22.9 ppg)
Win probability: Sallisaw 65%, per Massey Ratings
Notes: First playoff appearance for Oologah since 2018. Sallisaw is hosting for second-consecutive year.
Inola (4-5) at Checotah (4-5)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Inola 56-0 loss vs. Holland Hall; Checotah 60-8 win vs. Locust Grove
Last meeting: Checotah 47-11, 2011
Series record: Checotah leads 5-3, per Muskogee Phoenix
Points for: Inola 188 (20.9 ppg); Checotah 276 (30.7 ppg)
Points against: Inola 226 (25.1 ppg); Checotah 246 (27.3 ppg)
Win probability: Checotah 86%, per Massey Ratings
Notes: Inola hasn’t won a playoff game since 1994 despite qualifying seven times since then. Checotah, which scored a season-high last week, is averaging 36.2 points per game since October. It was 23.8 though the first four games.
Chelsea (3-5) at Commerce (4-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Chelsea 44-7 loss vs. Hominy; Commerce 30-20 win vs. Quapaw
Last meeting: Commerce 40-18, 2020
Series record: Commerce leads 7-1, per IWasAtTheGame.com
Points for: Chelsea 199 (24.9 ppg); Commerce 205 (25.6 ppg)
Points against: Chelsea 269 (33.6 ppg); Commerce 184 (23 ppg)
Win probability: Commerce 92%, per Massey Ratings
Notes: First playoff game for Chelsea since 2015. Commerce hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2000.
Foyil (0-8) at Garber (6-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Foyil 28-12 loss vs. Drumright; Garber 46-0 win vs. Olive
Last meeting: First meeting, per IWasAtTheGame.com
Series record: First meeting
Points for: Foyil 76 (9.5 ppg); Garber 400 (50 ppg)
Points against: Foyil 408 (51 ppg); Garber 210 (26.3 ppg)
Notes: Foyil is looking for its first playoff win since 2011. Garber scored no less than 34 points in a game this season and hung 80 points on Yale on Oct. 15.