Pittsburg won the coin toss and elected to receive to begin the game. Pablin Olivares’ kick with the wind went into and out of the end zone, setting Garrett Truitt and the Pittsburg offense up at the 25.
The Black Flag forced a three-and-out and Daniel Silva hit a 40-yard punt down to the Gilmer 41. The kick was taken by Chase Tate and returned to the Pirate 44, and the Buckeyes began their first drive in excellent field position. Unfortunately, the Pittsburg defense forced a three-and-out also. Tanner Barr nailed a 39-yard punt down to the 12 that was returned to the 19 by Carl Leonard, and Truitt led his offensive unit back onto the field.
The Pirates managed two first downs on the possession. The first one came on a third-and-11 when Gilmer was flagged for pass interference and penalized 15 yards. The second came just one play later when Truitt hit John Warrick on a 26-yard pass. The Black Flag rose to the occasion and Gilmer took back over on downs at their 37 when a fourth-and-six Truitt pass fell incomplete.
On the first play of the next Gilmer possession Barr hit Jaidon Parrish for a gain of 18, but things went awry from there, and Barr had to punt the ball away on the next series. He hit a 35-yarder from midfield down to the Pitt 15.
The ensuing possession by the Pirates began their unraveling. After Leonard ran for three on the first play, his team was penalized on successive plays for a false start and an ineligible receiver downfield. After an incomplete pass on the next play, Truitt ran for one, was hit, and fumbled the ball. The Pirates recovered, but Silva had to punt again. The kick went from the Pittsburg 9 up to the 42 and DeVondrick Dixon returned the ball 42 yards into the end zone for the first Gilmer score. Olivares booted the PAT and Gilmer led 7-0 with 1:42 left in the first quarter.
Olivares kicked into the end zone again and Pittsburg set up on their 25. The Black Flag forced another three-and-out and after an 18-yard shanked punt by Silva from his 23 to his 41, the Bucks went back on offense as the first quarter came to a close.
The two teams then exchanged punts before Gilmer took back over on offense at their 23 with 7:32 left in the first half. Barr got the offense jump-started, driving the team 77 yards in nine plays that consumed 2:32. The score came on a 4-yard run by Kris Boyd with exactly five minutes left in the half. The key play of the drive was a 27-yard scamper by Barr midway through the march. Josh Walker pounded his way into the end zone on a 2-point conversion out of the swinging gate, and Gilmer led 15-0.
Olivares then kicked away to Markeith Thompson. He fielded the ball at his 10 and returned it out to the 30. Truitt led the offense to one first down on a 14-yard pass to Dequaveon Douglas on third down, but the Black Flag stiffened and Silva hit a 32-yard punt on fourth down that traveled down to the Gilmer 23.
Barr and company moved the 77 yards to another touchdown in seven plays that took 1:15. The score came on an 8-yard pass from Barr to Desmond Pollard with 28.8 seconds left in the half. The key plays in the drive were a 14-yard run by Barr on third-and-10 on the first series, along with back-to-back passes of 30 and 31 yards to Pollard just before he caught the TD pass. Olivares hit the extra point and Gilmer led 22-0.
Pittsburg was also called for roughing the kicker, so after the 15-yard assessment Olivares kicked away from midfield. He kicked onside on the ensuing kick and the Buckeyes recovered, but they were called for being offsides on the kick, and he kicked deep on the re-kick. The ball went into the end zone for the touchback out to the 25. Truitt went to a knee five yards behind the line of scrimmage and the half came to a close.
The Pirates pulled an onside kick attempt of their own to open the second half, but Nick Smith recovered at midfield. Pitt was flagged five yards for offsides on the kick and the ball moved down to the 45 where the Gilmer offense took over.
Darrian Lewis ran for two on first down, but Barr was intercepted by Sircharles Perkins at his 40 on the next play. He was tackled at the 39 and his offensive teammates came back on the field. They managed one first down, but Silva was forced to punt the ball back to the Bucks on the next series. He hit a 37-yard kick that went out of bounds at the Gilmer 8.
That possession by the Buckeyes was bizarre at the end, to say the least. The offense picked up one first down, but a 15-yard personal foul on Gilmer sent the possession south, and Barr had to punt the ball back to the Pirates. His kick traveled 37 yards down to the Pitt 34, but the ball was fumbled. Numerous players from both teams tried to either fall on the ball and recover it or pick it up and run, all to no avail. The ball was finally recovered by the Bux at the Pirate 19. Pittsburg was flagged for a personal foul and the ball was moved down to the 9.
It took only one play for the offense to get into the end zone again. Pollard caught Barr’s pass for a 9-yard TD. The play took only five seconds. Olivares hit the PAT and Gilmer was in total control, leading 29-0 with 6:35 left in the quarter.
Thompson returned the next kickoff from his 15 up to his 24, and Truitt brought his offense back on the field. The Black Flag forced another three-and-out, and on fourth down the snap back to Silva went over his head and into the end zone. He managed to corral the ball and did get a kick away, but the ball went out of bounds at the Pitt 35.
It took only 20 seconds and three plays for Barr to get Gilmer on the scoreboard again. After an incomplete pass on first down, Kris Boyd ran for 19 before Barr hit Parrish from the 16 for the TD. Olivares added the extra point and Gilmer led 36-0 with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
The ensuing kick was fielded by Thompson, but he was stopped for no return at his 16. Truitt lost six yards and fumbled the ball on the first play of the possession, but he recovered. His team couldn’t gain any momentum after the fumble and Silva punted away again from his 10 to midfield. DeVondrick Dixon returned the pigskin 15 yards down to the 35, and the Buckeye offense was in great field position again.
It took just 21 seconds and three plays for Barr to move his team the 35 yards into the end zone again. He hit Parrish for a gain of 23 on the first play, threw incomplete for Pollard on the next play and then ran in from the 12 himself on the next play. Olivares’ PAT attempt hit the upright and was no good, but the score advanced to 42-0 with 29.3 seconds left in the third quarter.
John Warrick took the kickoff at his 5 and returned it to his 21. Truitt and the offense managed two first downs on the possession, but Silva was forced to punt the ball away on fourth down on the third series. The kick traveled from the Pitt 47 to the Gilmer 15.
The Buckeye JV unit came in with 9:51 left in the game and they were able to pick up one first down, but had to punt away on the next series. Zac Spears hit a 47-yard punt that traveled down to the Pirate 27, and Truitt led his offense out for what would be their final possession of the game.
Pittsburg took over with 6:15 left in the game and moved down to the Gilmer 28 against the JV Defense in 13 plays, but as time expired the Pirates fumbled the ball on the fourteenth play of the possession. Charles Williams scooped up the loose pigskin and returned it down the sideline and into the end zone for a touchdown. There was no extra point attempt and the final score was 48-0.
After the game we asked Coach Jeff Traylor about the tremendous job the Black Flag Defense did in garnering their second straight playoff shout and the offensive struggles early in the game.
“Yeah, they’ve been great for a while now and we’re really excited about it. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the hole. I mean our offense is really fun when it is clicking, and when it’s not clicking you’ve got to play great defense. You don’t win all these games for 14 years without having great defenses. They just get overlooked way too much because we put up some points, but the key to this program has always been defense and kicking game and it was again tonight.”
We also asked his thoughts on the JV offense and defense getting the opportunity again this week to get to play in the fourth quarter. “It’s exciting for those kids. They practice too, so it’s exciting for them. I’m proud of them.”
We asked the coach if Coach Dickey Meeks and the Pirates did anything the Buckeyes weren’t expecting during the game. “They did some things different, they did. They gave us some trouble with some of their looks and they did a great job. It took us a little while to figure out what they were doing, but we finally got it done. They had a great scheme for us. If we get it going, we have a shot. I was a little frustrated early, but we finally got it going.”
We concluded our interview by asking the coach’s thoughts on Argyle and asked if there was anything he wanted to say to the Gilmer fans. “They are very good. I think two of the best teams in Texas are going to play next Friday, and it’s a shame that somebody’s going to lose. I haven’t watched any tape of Argyle. The fans were awesome tonight, and we’re going to need you next week. We’re going to pass out 3,000 towels at the game. We want that Black Flag roaring on third down. It’s going to be big, and we need our crowd. We’re going to need everybody. It’ll be Black Friday in Dallas and we need it to be Black Friday in Gilmer. We’re going to be in black and we need EVERYBODY IN BLACK!
He also wanted us to mention and give a special thanks to First National Bank in Gilmer for donating the flags that will be handed out to the first 3,000 fans coming through the gates at the Argyle game Friday night.
We need all Buckeye fans at the game and in their seats ready for battle at kickoff. Most pundits believe the winner of this game will win the Class 3A Division II State Championship at Jerry World on Dec. 20. We need the Army of Buckeyes to show up early and en masse to help be the difference that leaves the Bucks on top at the end of the game!