McALESTER — Whatever positives and negatives came out of McAlester’s first two football games of the season — and there were plenty of both — the Buffaloes know they won’t see Stillwater or Booker T. Washington again in 2013.
The Claremore Zebras, on the other hand, are a Class 5A team the Buffs could see in the playoffs. And the 2-0 Zebras come to Hook Eales Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.
“I don’t think our kids have any love lost for Claremore, especially after last year,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Thursday. “We feel like we owe them a little something.”
Claremore beat McAlester 21-20 in overtime last year, tying the game in the final minute of regulation and winning the game with a fourth-down touchdown pass in overtime. Video later showed Claremore’s receiver dropped that fourth-down pass, and the loss could arguably be called lowest point of the 2012 season.
“We’ve king of been preaching this week that they’re going to want revenge,” Claremore coach Rob Gilbreath said.
“We think that they will be kind of looking at the past.”
Claremore comes to town with a balanced offensive philosophy, having beaten 4A school Miami 42-19 in Week 2. The Zebras will try to accomplish this through a division of labor between quarterback Brinley Brown and running back Derek Reliford.
“Our quarterback runs when he has to, but he’s more of a passing threat in our offensive scheme,” Gilbreath said.
“Derek has great hips and feet. He’s not very tall, but he’s put together well. .... He possesses some things that you can’t coach.”
Because Reliford isn’t very tall, Gilbreath compared him to Buffs running back Jarome Smith. The Zebras alternate between spread and power-I formations, with Bear Hope, Dalton Horsman and Gage Meisinger taking turns at fullback and blocking for Reliford.