Claremore proved too much for Pryor Friday, suffering a 31-7 road loss.
As play got underway for the two teams 88th meeting, the Tigers and the Zebras forced one another to punt in four attempts.
With 6:30 to play, Pryor faked a punt deep within their territory with an over the top toss to senior running back Carson Smallwood, who carried the ball down to the Claremore 25-yard line.
Two plays later, on a third and ten, junior quarterback Keegan Yates threw an interception, picked off by Claremore sophomore linebacker Bear Hope.
Neither team was able to move the ball well for most of the rest of the quarter.
However, Claremore put together a late drive, picking up 15 yards when junior quarter back Matt Whatley found junior wide receiver Hunter Garroutte up the middle in traffic with less than a minute to play.
Though the first quarter ended scoreless, the second began with the Zebras knocking on the door.
Ten seconds into the second, the door was opened when Claremore senior running back Brycen Short found his way in (with some assistance from an aggressive offensive line) from eight yards out.
A successful extra point capped off the drive.
Pryor coughed up the ball on the ensuing punt return, recovered by Senior linebacker Jordan Cunningham.
After a quick Claremore three and out, Pryor, in 10 plays, moved into Zebra territory.
Smallwood then took the hand off from yates, made two short moves on defenders and was gone up the middle 33 yards for a touchdown with 4:08 to play before the break.
Claremore found themselves near the red zone again with less than a minute to play.
This time, however, the Zebras took advantage of field position before the quarter ended.
With 52 seconds left, Whatley dropped back and delivered the ball perfectly to an open Garroute in the center of the end zone.
Claremore led 14-7 at half time of meeting which still looked like anyone’s game.
Pryor continued to struggle to move the chains during the third, while Claremore’s offense began to click.
A Pryor decision to go for it on fourth and 6 at the Zebra’s 51-yard line proved costly after failure to convert.
A short pass from Whatley to senior running back James Chester, who barreled his way into the end zone with from seven yards out with 4:16 left put more distance between the Zebras and the Tigers.
Smallwood suffered a sprained MCL-injury late in the quarter, which sidelined him for the rest of the game
Another Claremore touchdown, with eight seconds left, from sophomore running back Derrick Reliford, cemented a Zebra victory before the start of the fourth.
With Smallwood out, and some Zebras detecting tiger blood in the air, a 28-yard field goal from Claremore sophomore Jared Vincent with 7:32 to play nailed the TIger coffin shut.
Following the game, Pryor Head Coach Jason Freeman said his team ultimately didn’t make enough big plays to get the victory.
“We really couldn't move the ball well tonight,” Freeman said. “ For two and a half quarters, we did enough to win. I also told the guys tonight that we couldn’t afford to turn the ball over, and we did so at some crucial times. We’ll regroup and we are not out of this thing.”
Pryor takes on Tahlequah Thursday, Oct. 18, at home for senior night.