THE GILMER BUCKEYES were down 31-14 to the Henderson Lions last Friday night at Lobo Stadium in Longview with 2:58 left in the first half. By haltime, they’d narrowed that to 31-28. And with 3:28 left in the third quarter, they took the lead for the first time, 35-31, and held it the rest of the game on the way to a 41-34 quarterfinal victory.
“It’s not ideally the way you’d like to do it,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, “but it’s kinda been our M.O. all year. Our kids just never give up. They just keep playing.”
He added that he thought the Buckeyes’ conditioning and depth made the difference.
“I thought it was just almost magical to have two really great football teams playing at Longview. It really was a shame somebody had to lose. We had a lot of respect for Coach Meeks and Henderson’s program. What a great football player Monster Brown is.”
Obviously a lot of Buckeyes deserve special mention for their play in this instant classic. Their coach was pleased to do so.
“Slade Morris had a partially blocked punt that was big. Josh Walker had a blocked extra point that was big. Dylan Bowman had a good onside recovery on a fumble. Pablin Olivares had probably one of the biggest tackles ever for a kicker in Gilmer history.
“Defensive player of the week was Dylan Bowman, nine tackles, one assist, one tackle for a loss — to me, by far his best game of the year.
“Ardarius Johnson, two tackles, three assists, one pressure and his one knocked-down pass, when he knocked the ball out of Monster’s hands late, was as big as the one Dylan Bowman had against Kilgore.
“Josh Walker, six tackles, four assists, three pressures; Trey Washington, six tackles, four assists.
“CJ Williams, six tackles, one assist, one tackle for a loss; Xavier Fluellen, five tackles, one assist, one tackle for a loss.
“Offensive player of the week, Tanner Barr, 24-out-of-38, 288, one touchdown; six carries, 50 yards, one touchdown; one reception, three yards, one touchdown.
“Slade Morris, four receptions, 60 yards, one touchdown. His touchdown right before halftime. How big was that? To break those two tackles and to score.
“Pat Finch, who just keeps getting better, seven receptions, 72 yards.
“Chase Tate, four receptions, 30 yards; six carries, 35 yards; very proud of the way he bounced back after the fumble. You know, a lot of kids, as a sophomore, that would have destroyed ‘em. He just kept on playing.
“Josh Walker, 11 carries, 58 yards, two touchdowns; one reception, 15 yards. And what a great job he did finishing the ball game, when everybody in the building knew he was getting the ball and he still moved the chains.
“DeVondrick Dixon, one carry, 63 yards, one touchdown. What a huge spark that was in the game.”
Dixon’s score came on the first play of the fourth quarter and extended the Buckeye lead to 41-31.
Coach Traylor wanted to emphasize again this week the importance of the scout team.
“Everyone on our scout team, they just keep coming every day and they give us a great look. And they don’t even suit out. That’s all they do. They just practice. They go to the game and sit in the stands.
“That’s so unselfish. That’s hard for today’s time for anybody to do something they’re not getting publicity for. So I’m really proud for those freshmen and sophomores.”
The Buckeyes will now play the Graham Steers in the Class 3A Division II Semifinal round on Friday night at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the winner gets to go to Cowboys Stadium to play for the Class 3A Division II state championship at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21.
Gilmer is the home team in Mansfield Friday night.
The last time a team from West Texas (aka Region I in UIL nomenclature) made it to the Class 3A Division II state championship game was in 2009.
It is disturbing and also a bit of a wakeup call to reflect on how that happened.
Two teams from District 16-3A met in the Region II title game at Lobo Stadium in Longview. The Pittsburg Pirates beat the Pleasant Grove Hawks for the second time that season, 55-24, to advance to the semifinal round against ... wait for it ... the Graham Steers.
The Steers then proceeded to defeat the Pirates, 27-20 — at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield, by the way.
Gilmer of District 16-3A and Graham of District 5-3A are both 13-1. Both won their districts in undefeated fashion.The Buckeyes have won 12 games in a row and the Steers are on an 11-game streak.
Although a lot of people have long memories when it comes to high school football, there are obviously only a few fans of either school who can recall when these teams last met. It was in 1932 and Graham won 18-0. The game was for a regional title.
The old saying is that “revenge is a dish best served cold.” The temperature of revenge after 80 years is likely to be close to absolute zero, but it is still a motivational tool.
Graham head coach Kenny Davidson is in his third season at the helm. He was defensive coordinator when he applied for the job which came open when Brad McCoy left coaching in early 2010. McCoy, as many know, is the father of more famous sons, Colt and Case McCoy.
Case McCoy quarterbacked that 2009 team which fell to Carthage, 13-12, in the Class 3A Division II state championship game at the same Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas (University Park, technically) where Gilmer had won the Division I crown the week before over Abilene Wylie, 43-26.
Graham, in fact, had handed Wylie its only regular season loss in 2009, 13-10.
The Steers went 8-3 in 2010 and 5-6 last season, making the playoffs each year before being eliminated in bi-district.
It probably should have been a heads-up to the rest of Class 3A when Graham made it to the Division II title game in 7-on-7 this summer in College Station.
Graham returned seven starters on offense and four on defense.
In assessing the 2012 edition of the Steers, Coach Traylor said, “It starts with their quarterback, Ben Davis (14), just really, really mobile and accurate.”
Davis is 230-of-329 for 3089 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
“Tailback’s a really good football player named Dillon Gonzales (10). He can fly.”
Gonzales has 1317 yards on 202 carries and 22 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
“The receiver, Bryce Reeves (7), is a very good football player.”
Reeves leads the Steers in receptions with 67 for 995 yards and eight touchdowns.
“And they’re all three juniors,” Traylor added.
“Offensive line, the right guard’s a big 260-lb. kid named Sammy Serrano (66), a good football player (also a junior). Left tackle named Tyler Fore (75), he’s a good football player.
“Senior Hunter Jones (3), kid can really run. He’s a good football player.
“Defensively, they’ve got a big old nose guard named Husky Melendex (5”10”, 275). He’s a junior as well.
“Middle linebacker’s a good football player. His name is Hunter Walls (4). Safety’s very good, Bryce Reeves.
“They’re a spread football team on offense. They score a lot of points (averaging 39.43 per game). They throw it around a lot.
“Defensively, they play a 3-3 ‘Stack’ with a bunch of different coverages behind it.”
The Steers give up an average of only 14.57 points per game and have shut out four opponents.
“They really fly to the ball well,” Coach Davidson said of his defense. “If you look at the film, you see a lot of people on the tackle. Gang-tackling is a characteristic of a good defense.”
One thing is for sure. The Gilmer Buckeyes are not underestimating the Graham Steers. Both teams are on impressive winning streaks and both have improved tremendously as the season has progressed.
One team will lose a semfinal game for the first time ever. This is Gilmer’s fifth trip to this round and Graham’s second.
The winner of this game will be going to “Jerry World” (officially known as Cowboys Stadium, of course) and that team will set foot on the turf in Arlington on Dec. 21 in full view of Fox Sports Southwest cameras which will be televising the game live to tens of millions of potential viewers.
The opponent will probably be the undefeated Navasota Rattlers (14-0), who are heavily favored to defeat the Bellville Brahams (11-3) Friday night at Waller ISD Stadium in Waller, and whom the Buckeyes remember as a very tough opponent in the 2009 Class 3A Division I quarterfinal game in Lufkin. Gilmer prevailed, though, 42-35, on the way to their most recent state championship.
Gilmer Buckeyes Season to Date:
Atlanta, won 31-17
Plano Prestonwood, lost 42-12
Jacksonville, won 34-33
Daingerfield, won 43-14
Gladewater, won 21-13
Chapel Hill, won 50-28
Henderson, won 28-26
Spring Hill, won 59-10
Bullard, won 57-39
Kilgore, won 20-14
Canton, won 51-36
Atlanta, won 57-13
Argyle, won 42-21
Henderson, won 41-34
Graham Steers Season to Date:
Mineral Wells, won 53-7
Brownwood, won 28-7
Abilene Wylie, lost 31-7
Breckenridge, won 44-0
Springtown, won 32-28
Bridgeport, won 54-0
Vernon, won 34-24
Iowa Park, won 38-0
Wichita Falls Hirschi, won 47-18
Burkburnett, won 48-0
Lake Worth, won 44-7
Glen Rose, won 42-28
Greenwood, won 41-23
MAP AND DIRECTIONS:
A Google map with directions to Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield is online here.
BUCKEYE TICKET LINE:
903-841-7777 С Advance tickets are on sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Thursday at the Gilmer ISD Administration Building. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. All tickets at the gate are $10.
LUNCH WITH THE COACH:
Noon Wednesdays, Buckeyes Booster Club meets at Gilmer Country Club.
TANNER BARR has completed 220 out of 361 passes for 2697 yards and 22 touchdowns.
KRIS BOYD has rushed for 1175 yards on 136 carries and 17 touchdowns, an average of 8.64 yards per carry.
CHASE TATE has caught 55 passes for 481 yards and three touchdowns.
WHERE IS GRAHAM?
Following the Gilmer Buckeyes eventually involves a lesson in Texas geography if the season lasts long enough. Graham is located about 80 miles WNW of Fort Worth and about 60 miles S of Wichita Falls. It is the county seat of Young County and had a population as of the 2010 Census of 8,903. Graham High School had an enrollment of 668 students as of the last realignment.
Etex, Channel 2, will replay Gilmer games at 10 a.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Wednesdays.
(This channel also carries the audio of the games live.)
GILMER BUCKEYES HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL APP:
MAXPREPS HOME PAGE:
of the Week:
Player of the Week:
Players of the Week:
Hunter Richardson, Offense
Chris Leyva, Defense
David Amaya, Special Teams
Graham Info & Game Notes
By JOE DODD
December 14- Graham @ Mansfield’s Vernon Newsom Stadium
STADIUM: Vernon Newsom Stadium, Mansfield, Texas
STADIUM CAPACITY: 11,134
STADIUM SURFACE: Prestige XT Evolution Turf
3700 E Broad Street
Mansfield, TX 76063
Graham Steers 2012 Season Results
Date Opponent Result
08/31/12 Mineral Wells won: 53-7
09/07/12 @ Brownwood won: 28-7
09/14/12 @ Abilene Wylie lost: 7-31
09/21/12 Breckenridge won: 44-0
09/28/12 Springtown won: 32-28
10/05/12 @ Bridgeport won: 54-0
10/12/12 Vernon* won: 34-20
10/19/12 @ Iowa Park* won: 38-0
11/02/12 Wichita Falls Hirschi* won: 47-18
11/09/12 @ Burkburnett* won: 48-0
11/16/12 Lake Worth @ Mineral Wells won: 44-7
11/23/12 Glen Rose @ Springtown won: 42-28
11/30/12 Midland Greenwood @ Sweetwater won: 41-23
12/07/12 Gatesville @ Stephenville won: 40-35
Overall Record: 13-1
Total Points For: 552
Average Points For Per Game: 39.4
Total Points Against: 208
Average Points Against Per Game: 14.9
Head Coach: Kenny Davidson 26-10 record in 3rd season at Graham 124-93 overall record as a head coach
Offensive Formation: Spread
Defensive Formation: 3-3 Stack
Ben Davis 230 of 329 3,089 yards 26 TD's
Dillon Gonzales 202 carries 1,317 yards 22 TD's
Hagen Hughes 139 carries 841 yards 7 TD's
Ben Davis 108 carries 395 yards 12 TD’s
Bryce Reeves 67 catches 995 yards 8 TD’s
Dillon Gonzales 41 catches 521 yards 5 TD’s
Hunter Jones 29 catches 364 yards 3 TD’s
Rushing 2,537 yards 181.2 ypg
Passing 3,202 yards 228.7 ypg
Total 5,739 yards 409.9 ypg
Rushing Allowed 1,360 yards 97.1 ypg
Passing Allowed 1,517 yards 108.4 ypg
Total Allowed 2,877 yards 205.5 ypg
Historical Stats, Records, and Program Information
Overall Record: 529-426-37
Undefeated Seasons: 1 (1914)
Winless Seasons: 4 (1917, 1920, 1948, 1950)
Last District Championship: 2012
Last Playoff Appearance: 2011
All-Time Playoff Record: 24-23-2
Graham leads 1-0
Last meeting: 1932, Graham won 18-0
Gilmer has a 4 game winning streak in semi-final games
Gilmer has a 12 game winning streak (last loss: 42-12 to Plano Prestonwood, 9/7/2012)
Graham has an 11 game winning streak (last loss: 31-7 to Abilene Wylie, 9/14/2012)
Gilmer has a 150 consecutive games scoring streak (last shutout: 10-0 @ Longview to Pleasant Grove, 2001)
Jeff Traylor is 147-23 at Gilmer (86%)
Gilmer’s Jeff Traylor’s 86% winning percentage is the 2nd best among all active coaches in Texas
Gilmer has won more games (147) than any other 3A team in the state since 2000
Gilmer has either won the state championship or lost in the playoffs to the eventual state champion in 6 of the past 9 years
Jeff Traylor is 31-9 in playoff games at Gilmer (78%)
This is Gilmer’s 12th consecutive year in the playoffs
This is Graham’s 4th consecutive year in the playoffs
This is the 4th appearance in the past 9 years for the Buckeyes in the semi-finals
Gilmer is 3-0 in semi-final games under Jeff Traylor (100%)
Gilmer is 4-0 all time in semi-final games (100%)
Gilmer’s offense is averaging 453.7 total yards per game
Gilmer's 830 offensive plays consist of 329 passing attempts (44%) and 466 rushing attempts (56%)
Gilmer averages 198.3 yards per game passing (44%) and 255.4 yards per game rushing (56%)
Gilmer has rushing touchdowns by 7 different players
Gilmer has receiving touchdowns by 10 different players
Gilmer’s defense allows an average of 290.2 yards per game
Gilmer is ranked 3rd in this week’s Class 3A Pigskinprep.com power rankings
Graham is ranked 14th in this week’s Class 3A Pigskinprep.com power rankings
Gilmer’s schedule strength is the 3rd toughest in Class 3A according to PigskinPrep.com
Graham’s schedule strength is the 79th toughest in Class 3A according to PigskinPrep.com
Gilmer’s opponents have a combined record of 97-69
Graham’s opponents have a combined record of 88-72
Gilmer is a 12 point favorite over Graham according to PigskinPrep.com
Graham is one win away from reached the state championship for the second time since 2009. That year, the Steers fell to Carthage in the final, 13-12
Graham is a plus-20 in the turnover department. The Steers have racked up 25 interceptions and recovered 14 fumbles
Next week: Winner plays Navasota (14-0) or Bellville (11-3) in the 3A Division II state championship, 4 p.m. Friday (Dec. 21), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
Did you know?
District 16-3A is 10-2 in playoff games this season
District 5-3A is 5-2 in playoff games this season
Gilmer has scored at least 50 points in 5 of their last 9 games
Gilmer has not allowed more than 157 passing yards in any game this season
Gilmer has allowed more than 200 rushing yards only 5 times this season
7 of Graham’s opponents finished the season with 5 or fewer wins