Claremore Zebras Ready for Union

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 5:21 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Nov 10, 2009 6:51 PM CDT

Class 6A Playoff Coverage on Oklahoma Sports
- Claremore Ready for Union (11/11)
- Jenks Juking Adversity Heading Into Postseason (11/10)
- Top 3 Class 6A Postseason Matchups – First Round (11/9)
- Class Breakdowns: 6A (11/9)
- View the full playoff bracket
- Oklahoma Sports High School Football Discussion

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Reporter

CLAREMORE, Oklahoma -- In week four of the regular season, the Claremore Zebras went on the road and lost to the Jenks Trojans, 34-14. It may look lopsided, but the final score doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Zebras played one of their best halves of football all season and led Jenks at halftime, 7-6. That outstanding first half, combined with the tough early tests from Oologah and Bixby, gives Claremore some confidence heading into their first round matchup with annual 6A power, Union (9-1, 7-0).

“I don’t think we’re nervous,” said Zebras’ head coach Rob Gilbreath. “I just think we’re excited to be there and ready to play.”

Heading into week ten, the postseason looked just out of reach after a tough loss to Sand Springs two weeks earlier. A win over Sapulpa would have been nothing more than a good memory for the seniors. However, a few days before that game, Claremore learned that the Sandites had used an ineligible player against them in the win, meaning a forfeit and a berth in the playoffs for the Zebras.

“The forfeit deal was bad for Sand Springs, and I hate for anyone to be kicked out like that,” said Gilbreath. “That’s not the way we wanted to get there but luckily it worked out in our favor.”

The Zebras’ reward is a first round date with one of the top two teams in Oklahoma, on the road. The Union Redskins went undefeated in district play, and only lost once, to the same Jenks Trojans Claremore led at halftime early in the season. Connections aside, Gilbreath and the Zebras know this game will be an uphill battle.

“We’re going to try to outhit them and out hustle them,” said Gilbreath.

“They’re the second best team in the state. Our backs are way against the wall.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 Friday night at Union Tuttle Stadium.