Zebras roll to eighth win with quick second-half start
BY JOSH HALEY World Correspondent
Saturday, October 27, 2012
10/27/12 at 6:51 AM
COWETA - Five players scored touchdowns for Claremore en route to a 35-25 victory over the Tigers in Coweta on Friday night.
"We've been preaching all year long that great players make great plays in big games and they came through tonight and I'm really proud of them," said Claremore coach Rob Gilbreath.
Leading 14-13 at halftime, Claremore (8-1, 5-1 district 5A-4) scored on its first three drives of the second half to hold Coweta at bay and clinch a first-round playoff game at home.
"We knew we would have to establish the run game and it finally starting clicking at the end of the first half," said Gilbreath.
Jordan Cunningham accounted for 62 rushing yards and a touchdown on Claremore's opening drive of the third quarter.
"It's all a team game," said Cunningham, who finished with 140 rushing yards.
"All of the linemen, fullbacks and receivers stepped up and were blocking really good."
Coweta (5-4, 3-3) answered Claremore's touchdown drive when Hayden Holmes hit Desmond Hill on a 26-yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 21-19. The two-point conversion attempt failed when Claremore's Dustin Basks dived in front of a Coweta receiver to knock the pass down.
On the ensuing drive, Zebras quarterback Matt Whatley converted two third-and-14 passes to Hunter Garroutte, the second of which was a 23-yard touchdown.
"Hunter made two great catches and (Whatley) put the ball where it needed to be," said Gilbreath.
Following a Coweta punt, Claremore essentially put the game away when Derek Reliford's first two carries of the game went 27 and 25 yards, the second of which was a touchdown on a third-and-15 play.
Following a Coweta field goal that made the score 10-0 early in the second, Basks returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards for a touchdown.
Another Caleb Thomas field goal in the second made the score 13-6, but Claremore took the lead for good when Whatley rolled out of the pocket and lofted a pass to Caleb Webster, who made an over-the-shoulder grab, tight-roped the sideline and ultimately turned in a 53-yard touchdown.
Whatley finished with 154 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Coweta opened the scoring when Holmes scampered in from 17 yards.
Coweta must beat Central next week to make the playoffs.
Claremore 35, Coweta 25
Coweta: Holmes 17 run (Thomas kick)
Coweta: FG, Thomas 22
Claremore: D. Basks 68 kickoff return (Vincent kick)
Coweta: FG, Thomas 30
Claremore: Webster 53 pass from Whatley (Vincent kick)
Claremore: Cunningham 2 run (Vincent kick)
Coweta: Hill 26 pass from Holmes (pass failed)
Claremore: Garroutte 23 pass from Whatley (Vincent kick)
Claremore: Reliford 25 run (Vincent kick)
Coweta: Raspberry 19 pass from Holmes (run failed)