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Claremore Area Football Preview – Claremore and Chelsea – Presented By BancFirst of Claremore

CLAREMORE ZEBRAS

Coach – JARRETT HURT

OFFENSE

The Claremore Zebras are returning a majority of starters from last season’s squad that went 6-4 and made the Class 5A playoffs. With seven offensive starters and seven defensive starters back, fifth-year head coach, Jarrett Hurt says he is ready to get his guys on the field.

“We are excited about the players we have returning this year,” he said. “I think that the experience we are bringing back will be really beneficial this year.”

Noah Smallwood (5-10, 150, Sr.) started for the team at quarterback last season and was on his way to a solid season before tearing his ACL in the fourth game of the season. Stepping up to fill in after Smallwood’s injury was Scout Cutsinger (6-1, 160, Jr.), who ended the season with 676 passing yards and nine touchdown passes. Returning to anchor the offensive line and be protection for the quarterback will be Blake Bacon (6-1, 240, Sr.), Roman Morris (6-1, 260, Sr.), and Kade Steelmon (6-1, 240, Sr.). 

Carson Young (6-3, 170, Sr.) will be back at wide receiver after pulling in ten catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. 

DEFENSE

The Zebra’s bring back a lot of familiar faces to a defense that allowed an average of twenty-one points per game a year ago. They will look to slow down the opponents while emphasizing stopping the run. Defensive ends BK Seago (6-0, 195, Sr.) and Seth Bell (6-1, 200, Jr.) are back after combining for 131 tackles, sixteen tackles for loss, and fourteen sacks on the line last season. The linebacker corps of Aidan Stimson (5-10, 180, Sr.), Teagan Panther (5-9, 165, Sr.), and Ethan Grimett (6-1, 240, Sr.) are all three back for their final season and are ready to make a bigger impact this season. Stimson ended last season with 69 tackles, while Panther had 67 tackles and an interception. Also, Grimett tallied 58 tackles, five tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. Before his injury last year, Smallwood played at defensive back and had six interceptions in just four games. 

9-3 – vs. Bartlesville

9-10 – vs. Oologah

9-17 – at Catoosa

9-24 – at Glenpool

10-1 – vs. Tulsa Memorial

10-8 – at Collinsville

10-14 – vs. Tahlequah

10-22 – at Tulsa Hale

10-29 – vs. Sapulpa

11-5 – at Pryor

CHELSEA DRAGONS
Coach – MATT HAGEBUSCH

OFFENSE
Playing in one of the toughest and talented districts in the state, the Chelsea Dragons are ready to surprise some people with their improvement. In his third season at Chelsea, head coach Matt Hagebusch applauds his team’s hard work in the offseason and fully believes it will show on the field. Cash Ramsey (6-0, 170, Sr.) returns at running back for the Dragons and looks to help lead the team with his experience. Danny Comiford (5-7, 165, Jr.) will split time with Ramsey, also expected to start at running back for the Dragons. An experienced and talented offensive line will help bring success, and bringing back starters Hayden Chapman (6-2, 275, Sr.) and Josh Martin (6-3, 250, Jr.) will help immensely. Coach Hagebusch and his staff have high hopes for Chase Smith (6-0, 175, Jr.) who plays quarterback for the Dragons. Coach Hagebusch praises his dedication and leadership to the team and expects that to translate to success for Smith. This offense will be able to compete with anybody, and they look for their experience to lead them to the promise land. 

DEFENSE
Running a base 4-2-5 formation, the defensive philosophy is to let their players play fast and aggressive. With five starters returning, they have hope that their defense can be stronger and more effective. Walker and Smith will start on defense as well, both playing defensive backs. Walker recorded 87 tackles last season, the highest among returning starters. Joining them on defense is Dylan Camp (6-2, 282, So.) and Adam Henley (6-1, 180, So.). Camp will line up at nose guard for the Dragons, after having a phenomenal freshman season. He uses his combination of size and athleticism to anchor the defensive line. Henley lines up at linebacker after also having a very successful freshman season in 2020 where he recorded 55 tackles. 

8-27 – vs. Porter

9-3 – at Nowata

9-10 – at Commerce

9-17 – vs. Ketchum

9-24 – at Chouteau

10-1- vs. Morrison

10-8 – at Caney Valley

10-15 – vs. Pawnee

10-29 – at Woodland

11-5 – vs. Hominy 

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