Late sack seals deal for Claremore against Oologah
BY JOHN D. FERGUSON World Correspondent
Friday, August 31, 2012
8/31/12 at 4:54 AM
OOLOGAH - Defensive end Brandon Gaines picked a great time to record a quarterback sack during the Oologah-Claremore football game Thursday night.
Gaines sacked Oologah quarterback Payton Craig with 13 seconds left that helped Claremore preserve a 20-13 victory before 1,000 at Mustang Field.
This game was typical of the previous 20 meetings in the series: It was hard-fought with big plays deciding the outcome.
Claremore used Gaines' big sack, Jared Vincent's field goals of 25 and 21 yards, a 90-yard kickoff return by Caleb Webster and the hard running of Jordan Cunningham.
Cunningham, a senior, had 20 carries for a game-high 125 yards and a touchdown. Cunningham's 1-yard TD blast 14 seconds before halftime was the Zebras' last score of the game.
Claremore appeared to have a safe lead at 20-6, but the Mustangs threatened late with a defensive score.
Thomas Helvick recovered a fumble and raced 35 yards to make it a seven-point game with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
Oologah did little on offense in the second half until its final drive as time was running out.
The Mustangs ran and passed the ball down to the Claremore 6-yard line.
That's when Craig rolled out and Gaines nailed him for a long loss and an intentional grounding penalty on Craig.
"I just wanted to get him," Gaines said. "And, get that sack. That's the biggest play I've ever made. I will remember it forever."
Cunningham was the Zebra offense. He did the hard running all night long.
"It was a tough game," Cunningham said.
Claremore lost starting quarterback Matt Whatley just before halftime with a bruised ankle.
Second-string quarterback Brinley Brown finished up for Whatley.
Cunningham said he still was confident of victory when Whatley left the game.
"I knew we had it," Cunningham added. "I trust our team."
Oologah opened the game with a flawless offensive drive. The Mustangs drove 88-yards to score in just five plays.
Craig hit Justin Cole on a 53-yard TD pass with 9:57 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick failed.
Oologah's lead lasted only 13 seconds. That's when Webster raced past 10 Oologah defenders and then beat the kicker for the score. Vincent's first of two extra points made it 7-6.
Vincent added two more field goals and Cunningham's TD made it 20-6.
At that point, the lead looked safe. But, this is the Claremore-Oologah rivalry and it took a late sack to seal the deal.
CLAREMORE 20, OOLOGAH 13
O: Cole 53 pass from Craig (kick failed)
C: Webster 90 kickoff return (Vincent kick)
C: FG, Vincent 25
C: FG, Vincent 21
C: Cunningham 1 run (Vincent kick)
O: Helvick 35 fumble return (Clark kick)
Original Print Headline: Late sack seals deal for Zebras
Claremore's Jordan Cunningham slips a tackle during Thursday's game against Oologah. JOEY JOHNSON/For the Tulsa World