At 9 a.m. the UIL announced Gilmer would be in District 5-4A Division II for the next two football seasons along with the Bullard Panthers, Canton Eagles, Emory Rains Wildcats, Nevada Community Braves and Melissa Cardinals.
This will be a district for those who like to travel. According to Google Maps, the distances in miles from Gilmer High School to the other five schools’ stadiums are as follows: Melissa - 116, Nevada Community - 97, Canton - 71, Emory Rains - 57 and Bullard - 55.
“I was shocked. I never saw it coming,” said Buckeyes head coach Jeff Traylor after hearing the news Monday. “I don’t know a lot about it.”
He added he probably should be glad to be getting out of an East Texas district.
There will be an initial unfamiliarity with all of the other teams in the district except for Bullard and, to some extent, Canton. Bullard is the only team that was in Gilmer’s district the last two years and Canton played Gilmer in a bi-district game in 2012.
Emory Rains has played Gilmer less recently — a non-district series in 2008 and 2009 as well as in 2002 and 2003 when the two teams were in District 11-3A.
Nevada Community and Melissa have never played Gilmer.
Melissa has had the most success of any team in the district other than Gilmer in the playoffs in recent years. The Cardinals won the 2A Division I State Championship in 2011. They’ve made it to the Area round of the playoffs in both of their seasons in 3A (now renamed 4A).
Coach Traylor has watched video of Melissa the last two years because they were the opponent Argyle had just beaten in the playoffs the week before its game with Gilmer both times.
“Rains, I haven’t seen, and Nevada, I haven’t seen,” he added. “So it’ll be a learning experience for us.”
It’ll be educational for the Army of Buckeyes as well. Usually, we’ve had to wait until a few rounds deep in the playoffs to visit new places. Now we’ll be doing so during district play.
Gilmer’s 2014 scrimmages and non-district games have already been scheduled. The Buckeyes will scrimmage Whitehouse and Kilgore. Then they will open the season with a Thursday night game in Tyler against the Texarkana Liberty-Eylau Leopards. This will be followed by games against the Longview Pine Tree Pirates, the Tatum Eagles, the Daingerfield Tigers and the Carthage Bulldogs, who just won state in 3A (now 4A) Division I.
In basketball, Gilmer and Bullard are still in District 16 with the following more familiar schools: Gladewater, Kilgore, Longview Spring Hill and Tyler Chapel Hill.
Enrollments of the schools in the new District 5-4A Division II are as follows: Gilmer - 685, Bullard - 667, Canton - 601, Melissa - 522, Emory Rains - 484, Nevada Community - 480.
Gilmer’s 2014 team is ranked third in the state in 4A in the Winter Edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. The rankings included both divisions. The two teams ahead of Gilmer, Navasota and Stephenville, are in Division I.
Several members of the 2013 team were named to the Associated Press Sports Editors All-State team in December. OL Dylan Adkinson made the second team while QB Tanner Barr, K Pablin Olivares, LB Josh Walker and DB DeVondrick Dixon earned honorable mention. All are seniors.
Read more: Buckeyes Blog - Realignment places Buckeyes in District 5-4A Division II