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Claremore sophomore running back Eli Rodgers breaks loose for a long run during a half-game scrimmage against Coweta on Aug. 20 at Lantow Field.

Editor's Note: Home teams in ALL CAPS

After getting some thrilling action in Week Zero, Week 1 is here to give us double the excitement.

That is right — the high school football slate in Rogers County is doubling from the six games we got last week to 12. That is a lot of football. Five hundred seventy-six minutes of it, to be exact (pending overtimes, of course).

Yes, we’re off and running. It is good to be watching high school football in Green Country, Okla.

We start with Claremore’s season and home opener against Bartlesville at Lantow Field.

The Zebras return some talent from last year’s squad, but after getting outscored 63-7 by Coweta and Wagoner in half-game scrimmages the past two weeks, they are desperate to find a consistent offensive identity.

On Friday night, Claremore will be starting a new running back and a handful of new receivers. It will also have a relatively young defensive backfield.

The Zebras do have experienced offensive and defensive lines, though, which will come in handy against a Bartlesville team that is also rebuilding at key positions, including quarterback, running back and the defensive line and secondary.

In a battle of rookie starters, I see the Bruins pulling away late for a second-consecutive victory over Jarrett Hurt’s squad … Bartlesville 28, CLAREMORE 19

Verdigris 38, SPERRY 21: The Pirates are improved and should put up a better fight than last year’s 45-6 rout, but Verdigris is simply too much here.

The Cardinals are considered a state title contender in Class 3A thanks to their abundance of returning players on both sides of the ball, and that experience will be evident Friday night. Quarterback Dylan White and linebacker Reese Roller will lead the highlight reel as Verdigris rolls to a convincing victory.

SEQUOYAH 35, Haskell 7: Sequoyah ended its 22-game losing streak last season with a 38-0 romping of the Haymakers, and the result won’t differ much this time around.

After suffering a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to Inola last week, the Eagles are eager to correct their mistakes and will likely put this one away early thanks to some big plays from quarterback Landon Gilbreath.

Claremore Christian 52, CORNERSTONE (Joplin, Mo.) 16: Despite losing some major production from last year’s team, Claremore Christian proved they can still manage high-scoring outings under first-year coach Steve Robinett.

The Warriors cross state lines and handle business against Cornerstone, which surrendered 42 points to CCS in the second quarter last season on the way to a 64-28 loss.

BARNSDALL 49, Foyil 12: Foyil still has a long way to go as its program rebuilds under Lance Williams, but the schedule won’t get any easier. Barnsdall flexes its muscles early and extends the Panthers’ losing streak to 11 games.

Chelsea 41, NOWATA 12: Home-field advantage will do only so much for the Ironmen when Chelsea comes to town.

Nowata scored two touchdowns in a game only twice through nine outings in 2020, averaging 6.7 points per game while surrendering an average of 46.7 points.

In fact, the Green Dragons scored the most of any of the Ironmen’s opponents in their 63-14 win.

Nowata might be somewhat improved thanks to a solid group of returners, but look for Chase Smith and Cash Ramsey to have big games on the ground once again as Chelsea rolls.

Inola 29, GRAVETTE (Ark.) 20: Gravette lost almost all its production from last season, and it showed in a 37-0 loss to Vian in Week Zero. The Longhorns avenge last year’s 22-20 loss and improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2015.

Collinsville 43, OOLOGAH 20: Andrew Carney and an electric offense that averaged 48.6 points per game last season lights up the scoreboard early and often as the Cardinals begin their march toward a possible Class 5A title.

Pryor 50, CATOOSA 16: Catoosa’s first-year coach Christian Hood aims to get the program back to a competitive level, but that will take some time and patience. The high-powered offense of Pryor will be too much for this young group to deal with this early in the season.

However, look for the Indians to score their first touchdown since a 37-7 loss to Claremore on Sept. 18, 2020. They were outscored 212-3 through their final four games last year.

OWASSO 38, Fayetteville (Ark.) 21: The Rams continue their recent dominance over their Arkansas foe behind the arm of Austin Havens. Owasso owns victories of 51-19 (2019) and 31-17 (2020) over the Bulldogs after losing a 45-31 decision to them in 2018.

BEGGS 42, Rejoice Christian 24: Rejoice Christian is flying high after shocking the state with a 34-27 win over defending Class A champion Cashion, but I see an angry Beggs and its star-studded roster grounding the Eagles after suffering a beatdown at the hands of Lincoln Christian last week.

Lincoln Christian 39, JONES 19: The Bulldogs seem to be in a never-ending cycle of reloading rather than rebuilding. That was especially evident after they trounced Class 2A favorite Beggs 52-14 in Week Zero.

Jones is another good Class 2A squad, and though it’ll be motivated after a 27-14 season-opening loss to Bethany of Class 4A, Lincoln Christian will turn on the burners in the second half and leave the Longhorns in the dust.

Last week’s record: 4-2 (66.7%)

Overall record: 4-2 (66.7%)

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