The Gilmer Buckeyes, building on momentum from the previous week’s dramatic eleventh hour victory over the Jacksonville Indians, broke open a 14-all halftime tie in Daingerfield last Friday night with 22 third quarter points on their way to a 43-14 blowout win over the Class 2A 8th-ranked Tigers.
The banner the home team Tigers ran through as they came onto the field for the game read “Not This Year.” Unfortunately for Daingerfield fans and fortunately for Gilmer Buckeye fans, that statement was ripped to pieces; much like the top portion of the banner was prior to the team running through it. The victory was Gilmer’s eighth consecutive win over the team that dominated our hometown heroes from the ‘70s through the ‘90s. The Tigers won 13 straight games between 1976 and 1990, but Friday night’s win cut the all-time Daingerfield advantage in the series to 30-27.
Sophomore running back Kris Boyd, who had a superb night for the Bucks, summed up the coming together of this largely inexperienced group of Buckeyes. “The team’s coming together; we’re getting stronger and stronger. It’s a good feeling. I’m just happy to be here and happy that we got a win. I was blessed to score the touchdown. I couldn’t have done it without God. We had to have faith and we had to stick together as a team. We’re in shape; we’ve been working on this game all week. We came together. At halftime, we got talked to by Coach Traylor and he gave us the word. We came out here and everybody got together and did what we were supposed to do.”
Gilmer won the coin toss and elected to receive to begin the game. Carlos Macias kicked the ball into the end zone, but one of his teammates was off sides on the kick, so the Bux set up on their own 30. They reeled off gains of 5, 11, 4, 11 and 17 yards before a false start resulted in the drive falling apart. On an all-or-nothing pass into the end zone by Barr on fourth down, DeVondrick Dixon was in position, but a great defensive play by Shawn Hooks broke up the pass and the home team took over on their 33.
The Tiger drive was a quick three-and-out, and after a 42-yard punt the Buckeyes took over at their 30. They moved the ball the 70 yards to the end zone in nine plays and took 3:06 off the clock. The score came on an 8-yard run by Boyd with 5:42 left in the opening quarter. Pablin Olivares added the PAT, and Gilmer led 7-0. The key play in the drive was a 36-yard scamper up the middle by quarterback Tanner Barr on third down.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers answered back in quick fashion. Troy Stuard returned the ensuing kick from his 13 to his 43, and his offensive teammates took over from that spot. It took only four plays for Daingerfield to find the end zone for the first time, and consumed 1:55. Ramius Wallace picked up five yards in two carries, and then he caught a Keris Alexander pass for a gain of nine. Gilmer was flagged for a personal foul at the end of the play, giving the hosts 15 more yards down to the Gilmer 28. On the next play, Edwin Mims found the end zone with 3:36 left in the first quarter. Ruben Mims added the point after, and we were tied at 7-all.
Josh Walker took the next kick at the goal line and returned it to his 27. Barr and company got things going from there, moving the 73 yards to their second TD of the night in seven plays, and taking 2:24. Olivares was once again true on the PAT, and Gilmer recaptured the lead, 14-7 with 1:05 left in the quarter.
The hosts went three-and-out on their next possession, but on the second play from scrimmage, Boyd was hit and lost the ball, resulting in a Tiger recovery at their 31. Their offensive unit held the ball for nine plays, but a 4th down pass from Mims intended for Jonathan Barber was broken up at the goal line by Kris Boyd, and Gilmer took back over on downs at their 23.
From that point, the Bucks went three-and-out twice, with a Tiger three-and-out sandwiched in between. After the second Gilmer punt, Daingerfield took over on their 20 and began an 8-play, 80-yard drive in 2:36. Key plays were a 25-yard run by Mims, a 16-yard run by Wallace, a 13-yard pass from Mims to Hooks, and a 16-yard TD run by Mims. After Macius added the kick, we were tied once again at 14-all.
After a kickoff into the end zone, Gilmer took back over with 1:14 left till halftime at their 20. On first down Barr was intercepted by Corey Smith at the 30 and he returned the pick to the 22. Fortunately, between a 15-yard penalty for clipping and a couple of great stops of Mims by the Black Flag Defense, the half ended without any damage coming from the theft.
The Tigers received the kickoff to begin the second half. Wallace took the ball at his 5, fumbled it twice, but managed to recover the pigskin at his 6. Just when it looked like the home team was in deep trouble, Kadaryous Anderson picked up 23 and gave his team new life. The Black Flag came to life and forced a punt. The kick travelled only 14 yards and Gilmer was in great shape at the Tiger 44.
It took only two plays for the Buckeyes to take the lead for good. After an incomplete pass on first down, Boyd hit pay dirt from 44-yards out for his second TD of the night with 8:53 left in the third quarter. Olivares was good on the extra point once again, moving the score to 21-14.
After two three-and-outs by Daingerfield and one by Gilmer, the Bucks took back over on their 43 with 4:37 left in the third. They took 6 plays and 1:59 to move the 57 yards for another score. Boyd ran for nine, one and 20 before Walker chipped in another 15 and four. They Chase Tate scored from the 8 with 2:48 left in the period. Walker scored a 2-point conversion out of the swinging gate, and just about everyone in the stadium knew the Buckeyes were headed to victory, as they advanced the lead to 29-14.
The Black Flag refused to surrender a first down yet again on the next Tiger possession, and a Tiger punt to the Daingerfield 46 was returned for a TD by Tate. Olivares hit the point after, and the Gilmer lead became insurmountable at 36-14.
The Tigers appeared to be headed to another score themselves, but on the eighth play of the possession, Anderson fumbled the ball and Gilmer recovered at their 21. The offense had the ball for 14 plays, but on a 3rd-and-16, they fumbled the ball away and the Tigers recovered at their 7. They picked up one first down, but the Black Flag forced a punt on the next series. The kick travelled 27 yards, out to the Tiger 41.
On the first play from scrimmages, Jamel Jackson found the end zone on a 41-yard run. Olivares completed a perfect evening with the PAT kick, and Gilmer led 43-14. Daingerfield picked up one first down on the possession, but on a 3rd-and-2, Jamel Jackson intercepted at the Gilmer 38 and returned the pick to the Daingerfield 27 as time ran out.
We talked with a happy, but focused Coach Jeff Traylor after the blowout win. “We had so many chances to put them away in the first half, we just didn’t. You know, we had a fumble, we had a block in the back, we had a facemask penalty, we dropped some passes and we busted some coverages. We kinda did what we did all year and we just cleaned it up in the second half, and finally ran the ball a little bit in the second half. We’re getting better. We’re not very good, but we’re getting better. We got better than we were last week, but we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got about 27 things to clean up and we’ve only got one week to do it, so I hope that we can get it done.”
We asked the coach where he thought the team was at this point after completing non-district with a 3-1 record. “We’re 0-0; Gladewater’s 0-0, and it’s time to crank it up Friday night. There’s a lot of things we’ve got to get cleaned up. Obviously, it’s a work in progress. We’re probably not going to be any good until after the open week. We’ve just got to stay alive till then. (Gladewater’s got a) Great quarterback, great wide receiver, good running back, great offensive line. They’ve got the best team they’ve had since I’ve been here, and I’ve been here for 13 years. We’re going to have our hands full next Friday night.”
We want to give kudos to the Gilmer fans that made the trip to Daingerfield Friday night. For the first time in three road games, our fans showed up like we are used to seeing. You can bet that almost everybody in Gladewater will be at Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium in Gladewater next Friday night, and our Buckeyes need to see EACH of you there also. Make sure to make the short 15-mile drive south and Back the Buckeyes as they de-claw the Bears!!