East Central comes back to beat Claremore 20-19
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, October 06, 2012
10/06/12 at 4:36 AM
After having to forfeit a district game already this week, the East Central Cardinals weren't about to accept another loss on Friday night.
Deontre Youngblood, Kimmie Carson and Stanvon Taylor weren't going to let that happen.
"No sir, we keep pushing it," said Carson, a standout senior linebacker. "In our minds, we're 6-0. We're gonna rise up from adversity."
The second-ranked Cards rose up from a 13-point deficit and took a big step toward the District 5A-4 title by pulling out a 20-19 homecoming win over No. 5 Claremore before about 2,500 at East Side Sports Complex.
The Cards exploded for 20 unanswered points to erase the early deficit and stood their ground when Claremore attempted a potential game-winning 2-point conversion in the closing seconds.
Trailing 20-13, the Zebras raced 52 yards in the final 3 1/2 minutes, and aided by a facemask penalty, pulled within a point on Jordan Cunningham's four-yard run over the right side on a reverse handoff with 6.1 seconds left.
The Zebras lined up to go for the win, and after both teams had called a timeout, tried the same reverse handoff to Cunningham. At first, he appeared to have running room, but Carson came in fast to slow him down, and several Cards converged to close the play.
Sideline watchers said Cunningham came up half a yard short.
Youngblood caught a touchdown pass, returned a punt 64 yards for a score and intercepted a pass, one of three off Zebra quarterback Matt Whatley.
Though technically 2-4 because of four forfeits for using an ineligible player, the Cards are unbeaten on the scoreboard. They improved to 2-1 in district play and now control their destiny for the 5A-4 title with Central's loss at Collinsville on Friday night.
Claremore, off to its best start in 17 years, lost for the first time in six games and fell to 2-1 in district play.
The Zebras ran 21 more plays (61-40) and held the Cards to 154 yards, but couldn't maximize their chances when they dominated the first half with a punishing ground game and all five possessions reached East Central territory.
Claremore lost the ball twice on turnovers before taking a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on James Chester's 10-yard run.
The Cards made it 13-0 on Brycen Short's 7-yard run with 1:29 left in the half, but Youngblood needed only two plays to change the game.
First, he returned the ensuing pooch kick into Claremore territory. Next, he raced behind the secondary to haul in sophomore Tre'Von Cherry's 25-yard pass, and suddenly the Cards had momentum as the first half ended.
Early in the second half, Carson intercepted a pass that had been twice tipped. Taylor, a University of Oklahoma commit, caught Cherry's pass on a crossing route and outraced two defenders, turning it into a 31-yard scoring play. Cherry raced barely inside the pylon for a 2-point conversion and East Central had the lead, 14-13.
Youngblood's punt return made it 20-13, and that's how it stayed until the Zebras' game-ending drive and near miss at stealing the game.
EAST CENTRAL 20, CLAREMORE 19
C: Chester 10 run (Vincent kick)
C: Short 7 run (kick failed)
EC: Youngblood 25 pass from Cherry (kick blocked)
EC: Taylor 31 pass from Cherry (Cherry run)
EC: Youngblood 64 punt return (kick blocked)
C: Cunningham 4 run (run failed)
Passing yards ||61||86|
Original Print Headline: East Central comes back to top Claremore
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
East Central quarterback Trevaughn Cherry gets past Claremore's Jordan Cunningham on Friday at Eastside Sports Complex. JOEY JOHNSON/for the Tulsa World
Claremore's Jordan Cunningham has his facemask pulled by East Central's Antoine Brown during Friday night's game at Eastside Sports Complex. JOEY JOHNSON/for the Tulsa World
Claremore's Dustin Basks makes a run during his team's game against East Central on Friday night. JOEY JOHNSON/for the Tulsa World