Claremore had been waiting for this. No doubt about it, somebody was going to win this time, and it might as well be the Zebras.
After four weeks of frustration and futility, two winless teams faced each other, and coach Jarrett Hurt’s Z’s finally broke through. Senior David Lozoya rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns, igniting Claremore to a 26-0 homecoming victory over Memorial on Friday night at Lantow Field.
The Zebras (1-4 overall and 1-1 in District 5A-4 play) would not have to suffer through another disappointing fourth quarter and narrow defeat. Their defense limited the Chargers to just 99 yards of offense while senior Larry Whisenhunt intercepted a pair of Memorial passes.
“I thought tonight we played a complete game,’’ said Hurt after his team dropped the Chargers to 0-5. “The kids were able to finish. We’ve been really close in the first four games and had leads in the fourth quarter. We could have been 4-0, but I’m happy to get the win tonight. It feels better to go to sleep with a W than going to sleep with an L.’’
The Chargers never had a chance after the Zebras grabbed a 13-0 intermission lead and held them to one first down and 16 yards in the half. Memorial never made it past its own 47-yard line until its final series reached the CHS eight.
Linebackers Ethan Haddock and Titus Ashby executed sacks on third and fourth downs to keep the Chargers off the scoreboard.
“Our defense pitched a shutout, and I’m really proud of them.’’ Hurt said. “Both of our quarterbacks played after Braxton (Etheridge) played the first two games and Scout (Cutsinger) the last two. We wanted to put them both in and let them battle it out. Now we will look at the film and go from there.’’
Cutsinger started and guided Claremore on a 54-yard, nine-play scoring drive. Lozoya gained 34 yards, including an 11-yard TD run at 7:22 of the first period. A botched conversion left the Zebras ahead 6-0.
Whisenhunt’s first interception was returned seven yards to the Memorial 41 and Lozoya sprang free on the next snap. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound running back turned on his jets and outraced Memorial’s defense to the end zone.
Following Hunter Wood’s extra point, the Z’s led 13-0 with 4:24 to go in the opening period.
In the third frame, Lozoya picked up 26 yards on three carries in a series that reached deep into Chargers territory. Loyoza suffered a knee injury on his 7-yard burst to the 12 and left the game limping. Hurt said Lozoya would undergo an MRI, and his return is questionable.
“David was having a good year and ran for over 160 yards in the first two games. He’s around 500 yards,’’ Hurt said. “This is really bad for David. The test will determine the extent of the injury.’’
After Lozoya left, Eli Pezo rammed the final 5 yards for the touchdown. The Zebras’ 2-point conversion run failed, leaving them with a 19-0 lead.
Ashby scored the fourth Claremore TD on a 2-yard smash 44 seconds deep into the final period, and Wood kicked the conversion.
Lozoya carried the ball 25 times, three more than the Memorial team. Pezo added 68 yards on 10 tries as Claremore finished with 341 yards, including 319 on the ground.