Tulsa Memorial freshman quarterback Trevor Boone made his first varsity start last Friday night in a 45-28 loss at McAlester.
On Friday, though, the Memorial Chargers signal-caller will face one of Class 5A’s fierce defenses in the Zebra ‘Wrecking Crew’.
Coming into Friday’s 5A playoff opener against Tulsa Memorial, the Zebra defense is holding opponents to 12.7 points in 10 games.
Inside Lantow Field, where the Zebras are a perfect 5-0 on the season, the Claremore defense has allowed 57 total points.
Claremore’s determination in overtime against McAlester, proved to be a huge 21-20 win over the Buffaloes.
Then, on Oct. 18, the Zebras came through in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to hold off Central, 21-16.
“We take pride in playing tough defense,” Claremore head coach Rob Gilbreath said.
“Ever since I’ve been in Claremore, our identity has been our aggressive defense.”
Boone, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound quarterback, will look to make plays against Claremore’s tenacious linebacking unit, led by senior captain Jordan Cunningham.
The three-year starting outside linebacker — Cunningham — leads the defense in total tackles with 142 (100 solo and 42 assisted). Cunningham is averaging 15.8 tackles per game.
Sophomore middle linebacker Baron Hope — in his first varsity season — ranks second in tackles with 112 for an average of 12.4 per game.
Cunningham and Hope have combined for 254 of Claremore’s 759 total tackles this season.
Along with those two talented linebackers, Gilbreath said he’s been impressed with the play of senior defensive end/tackle Grady Caton.
“Grady’s really picked up his game late in the season,” Gilbreath said.
“He’s one of the main factors that we’re in the playoffs and that our defense is playing so well.”
Caton, who missed several games early in the season, has responded with solid leadership and has 50 total tackles and 14 quarterback hurries.