WEEK 10 PREVIEW
After Claremore had disposed of East Central, Rogers and Memorial, the final three games on the schedule looked daunting. Instead of looking at them as three games, Claremore coach Jarrett Hurt made it a goal to play them one game at a time.
The Zebras, now on a five-game winning streak, took care of Skiatook and Pryor, and now can look at their Week 10 home game against Tahlequah.
"This is the big one," Hurt said. "Friday night, the winner is second and earns a home playoff bid, and the loser is third and has to go on the road in the first round. There is a lot riding on this game."
In other games this week, it is Berryhill at Verdigris, Claremore Sequoyah at Jay, Union Christian Academy at Claremore Christian, Regent Prep at Foyil, Oologah at Catoosa, Inola at Cascia Hall and Chelsea at Adair.
The Zebras are 5-1 in District 5A-4 and 6-3 overall after starting the season 1-3.
The Tigers are 8-1 overall and also 5-1 in 5A-4. Their only loss this season was 43-8 to Collinsville. The 35-point loss to the Cardinals was similar to Claremore's 31-0 loss to the red birds.
These two teams are just about equal.
Two years ago, Tahlequah beat Claremore, a game that started a Zebra slide from first to fourth in the district standings, and Claremore barely made the playoffs. Last year, Claremore got even with a 10-0 home win over the Tigers.
"This is the rubber match," Hurt said. "We're pretty evenly matched. They come to our team camp every year and it's always great competition with them. We’re looking forward to a great game Friday night."
The winner would host District 5A-3's third place finisher. The loser will plays at the 5A-3 runner-up. But nothing has been decided in that district as four teams, Edison, Ada, McAlester and Coweta, are in a scramble for playoff slots.
But that is then and this is now. Claremore must take care of business to give Lantow Field one last hurrah this season.
"Tahlequah can throw the ball and run the ball," Hurt said. "Tate Christian is doing a great job at quarterback. His dad used to coach here with us. Dae Dae Leathers is a dynamic running back and we're going to have to get him hemmed up Friday night."
The Zebras are a little banged up and missing some starters for the regular season finale, but Hurt has all the confidence in the world about a positive outcome Friday night.
"We've got some kids stepping up in key areas that have done a great job for us," Hurt said. "Tahlequah is a great team. They do a great job over there, but we feel like we've got a great team as well. We're hoping the fans will come out Friday night and support our guys on senior night and help us get a victory."
Berryhill at Verdigris — It's make-or-break time for the Cardinals. Nothing is settled as far as playoffs, but a win would put Verdigris in the dance. A loss could eliminate them completely. And depending on other district games Friday, they could fall anywhere in between.
Berryhill is in as district champions and a 9-0 record. They have wiped the floor with everyone this year. The closest game all season is a 19-9 win at Locust Grove. Meanwhile, Verdigris had a four-game winning streak snapped last Friday at Locust Grove.
Claremore Sequoyah at Jay — It is Sequoyah's last chance for a win this season. Already out of the playoffs, the Eagles head to Jay Friday with one goal — get a win. Sequoyah fell to Cascia Hall 33-0 last week. Jay lost 56-14 to Berryhill, and has lost six straight to fall to 2-7.
Union Christian at Claremore Christian — The Warriors host the semifinal round of the Heartland Christian Athletic Conference playoffs Friday. They play Union Christian Academy of Fort Smith, Ark., with the winner to play for the conference championship next week.
The 13-team league ranks the top four for the playoffs. Both teams are 5-3.
"This is the first time we've faced them," said head coach Ryan Mullins. "They have some good-sized athletes, so we need to be technically sound and play fast."
The winner of this game would play the winner between Immanuel Christian Academy of Broken Arrow and Wright Christian Academy of Tulsa at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 at Harrah High School.
Regent Prep at Foyil — There is a new bounce in the town of Foyil after dropping from 11-man to 8-man football this season. The days of losing streaks are over, as the Panthers are 8-1 and 4-0 in District B-8. They host Regent Prep, who is 9-0 and also 4-0 in district play. The winner will be district champions and host two games in the playoffs. The loser hosts one home game. Regent has posted six shutouts this season and allowed just 54 points total. They outscored their last three opponents 123-0. Foyil has scored at least 46 points in their last six games.
Oologah at Catoosa — Both teams are in the playoffs and are fighting for positioning with Oologah having a slim chance at a District 4A-3 title. The Mustangs lost four of their first five games, but poured it on during district play. They even beat nemesis Wagoner in overtime and are coming off a 38-10 win over Grove last week. Catoosa has lost to Wagoner and Bristow this season. This game could come down to the wire.
Inola at Cascia Hall — The Longhorns need some things to happen to make the playoffs. The first step is to win at Cascia Hall. Inola is 5-4 and 3-3 in districts. Cascia is 6-3 and 4-2. The Commandos shut out Claremore Sequoyah 33-0 last week, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Inola has lost two of three since beating Locust Grove on Oct. 5.
Chelsea at Adair — It's looking grim for Chelsea to get a win this season. At 0-9, the Green Dragons play at District 2A-4 champion Adair Friday night. Adair is 8-1 and 6-0 in district play. Chelsea's best chance at a victory this season was a 12-8 loss to Class A Ketchum in the season opener. They also played Chouteau tough last week, losing 25-8. Adair beat Chouteau 46-8 on Oct. 5.