Excitement abounds in Claremore.
The No. 5 Zebras are 8-1, headed to the Class 5A playoffs and looking to keep the momentum with a huge ‘Senior Night’ performance against the Grove Ridgerunners this Friday at Lantow Field.
According to Claremore head football coach Rob Gilbreath, “Last week’s win at Coweta was great for this team, the town of Claremore and our school. It guaranteed us a home playoff game — something that hasn’t taken place in quite a while.”
The Zebras clinched the No. 2 seed in the District 5A-4 race behind East Central and will more than likely face either Tulsa Memorial or McAlester in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs on Nov. 9 at Lantow Field.
Gilbreath acknowledged that his team deserves the town of Claremore behind them as the Zebras journey into the postseason.
“Each week, the fans that have come out and supported us have seen that this team never quits and plays with heart,” Gilbreath said. “We’re a team that isn’t going to go down without putting up a fight.”
Claremore’s task Friday night, though, comes against a Grove team that is struggling, Gilbreath added.
“Grove hasn’t won a district game and their only victory came against Miami in Week 1,” he continued. “However, they are one of those teams that doesn’t have anything to lose and will fight hard as long as we let them. The important thing that we have to do is take it to them early and often until they want to throw in the towel.”
Offensively, Grove (1-8 overall, 0-6 district) has total 147 points in nine games for an average of 16.3 per contest.
According to Gilbreath, “Their quarterback (Spychalski) is good and throws and runs well. The tailback (Steffenson) is a good athlete, too, that runs hard and has made some long runs this year.
“Up front, though, they are not very good and struggle against slanting and blitzing.”
Claremore’s defense — led by senior linebacker Jordan Cunningham and with 143 tackles and senior defensive end Grady Caton — has given up a total of 120 points in nine games for an average of 13.3 per contest.
“We take pride in running a base defense that swarms to the football,” Gilbreath said.
The old adage of ‘Defense wins Championships’ still holds true in Zebra Country as coordinator Jarrett Hurt and his ‘Wrecking Crew’ have held four opponents to under 10 points.
Coweta, in Week 9, is the only opponent to score 25 points or more on the Zebras’ fierce defense.
Excitement abounds in Claremore.
Verdigris’ Hanslovan commits to ORU
One of the biggest decisions of her upcoming senior year is finally behind Verdigris High School soccer standout Caitlyn Hanslovan.
The four-year letterwinner and three-time Class 4A state champion forward announced Tuesday that she will commit to playing NCAA Division I soccer at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
RSU's Loy earns third-straight Academic All American honor
Rogers State senior outfielder Katrina Loy was named to the Capital One Academic All-America College Division Softball Third Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Area players earn All-Region baseball awards
The awards keep piling up for Verdigris High School graduate Blake Battenfield.
After being named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Large East team earlier this week, Battenfield and numerous other players from Rogers County earned OCA All-Region accolades.
Battenfield was joined by his teammate, Ryan Hurd, who was a senior outfielder/shortstop for the three-time Class 3A state champion Verdigris Cardinals.
Clyde Barkley Basketball Camp starts May 28-30 in Inola
The Clyde Barkley Boys Basketball Camp will get underway on May 28-30 at Inola High School Gymnasium.
The three-day camp will go from 9 a.m. to Noon and is offered to boys entering third through ninth grade. The cost of the camp is $55 or $100 for two campers in the same family.
Zebras Baseball/Softball Camp set for May 29-31
The Claremore Zebras baseball and softball camp will take place on May 29-31 at Powers Park.
The camp is for boys and girls ages 4-14. The cost of this camp is $60 or $90 for two campers from the same family. Team discounts are also available for seven or more players.
OU athletics pledges support to tornado relief efforts
OU Athletics officials have been advised by local relief agencies that the best way to help Oklahoma disaster victims is to text RED CROSS to 90999 to give $10 or go online to make a donation at RedCross.org.
ORU hosts "Vaulting for Moore" fundraiser
The day after a devastating tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., the Oral Roberts University Track & Field program has announced that it will host a fundraiser to help in the aid and recovery efforts. The “Vaultin’ for Moore” fundraiser will be held inside the H.A. Chapman Indoor Practice Facility on ORU’s campus on Saturday, June 1 at 1 p.m.
ORU claims 4-2 win over SFA in Southland Conference Tourney
Timely hitting and solid relief pitching carried third-seeded Oral Roberts University to a 4-2 victory over sixth-seeded Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday morning at the 2013 Southland Conference Tournament. The opening day victory books ORU (24-30) a spot in the winner’s bracket of the eight-team tournament.
Drillers pledge $10,000 toward tornado relief efforts
The Tulsa Drillers announced today that the team was donating $10,000 to the tornado relief efforts on behalf of those who were affected by this week's storms in Shawnee and Moore, Oklahoma.The donation will be made to the American Red Cross.
Whitaker ready for new role as Texas Tech coach
Candi Whitaker's introduction as Texas Tech's basketball coach was probably news to many Lady Raider fans on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old mother of one son is expecting a second in September.
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- Verdigris’ Hanslovan commits to ORU