The Buckeyes won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. Starting at his own 31 following the return, Luke Turner led his team on a methodical 12-play, 69-yard drive that consumed 4:23. The longest play of the drive was an 11-yard pass on the second play of the drive from Turner to Darrion Pollard. The score came from nine yards out when Turner hit Gavin Holt for the score. Pablin Olivares nailed the PAT, and Gilmer led 7-0 with 7:23 left in the first quarter of play.
Turner’s ensuing kick was taken one yard deep in the end zone by Xavier Mosley, who returned it to the Tribe 24. The Black Flag Defense picked up right where they left off a week earlier in Tatum, forcing a three-and-out. The Buckeyes returned Andrew Black’s punt to the end zone, but a holding call brought the ball back to the Indian 42, where Turner and company set up shop for their second possession of the night.
It took only four plays and 27 seconds for Gilmer to find the end zone once again. Turner gained 10 on the first play of the drive, threw incomplete for Tray Webb on the next play, Gavin Holt gained four on the third play, and then Turner hit Pollard from 28 yards out for the score. The PAT was no good, but the Buckeyes were up 13-0 with 5:33 still left in the first quarter.
Mosley returned the next kick by Turner from his 4 to his 22, where Jacksonville set up shop for their second possession of the evening. On the sixth play of the drive, Tanner Barr grabbed his third interception in as many games, intercepting Black at the Indian 48.
Eight plays and 2:15 later, Turner hit Tray Webb from 14 yards out. Olivares connected on the point after and Gilmer was ahead 20-0 with 1:36 left in the first. Key plays in the drive included an 11-yard pass from Turner to Webb and a 16-yard run by Jeremy McMillian.
Mosley returned Turner’s kickoff once again, moving from the goal line to his 24. The Tribe ran into the Black Flag buzz saw once again, succumbing to another three-and-out. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes held onto the ball for only three plays. On third-and-six, Turner’s pass bounced off Pollard’s hands and Dexter Davis intercepted the pass, setting his teammates up with a first-and-10 at their own 22.
Jacksonville only held onto the ball for six plays before the Black Flag forced another punt. After a 5-yard return by Pollard, the Bucks set up shop on their 39. McMillan was stopped for no gain on first down, was dropped for a 5-yard loss on second down, and Turner threw incomplete on third down, forcing a Gilmer punt. The kick died at the Tribe 44.
The Indians picked up one first down on a pass interference call, but on a third-and-10 Black lost nine yards on a fumble and Daniel Smith recovered the pigskin at his 44 for the Buckeyes.
It took only five plays for Turner to lead his team the 54 yards to pay dirt. Turner threw a 21-yard completion to Jaidon Parrish on first down, followed that up with 23-yard completion to Slade Morris, and then ran the ball for a 4-yard gain himself. The next play was an incomplete pass, but Turner followed that up with a 6-yard scoring toss to Webb. Olivares’ PAT was once again good, and Gilmer was up 27-0 with 5:28 left in the first half.
Following the kickoff, Jacksonville set up on their 31, but the stingy Black Flag Defense forced yet another three-and-out. Following a 48-yard punt, the Bucks set up their next possession at their 19 with 4:26 left in the first half. Pollard gained 11 on the first play, and then Turner hit Chase Tate for 16 on the next play. Following two incompletions, Turner hit Holt for a gain of 16, keeping the drive alive.
On the next series, Turner gained just enough on fourth down to pick up the first down. After an incompletion on first down and a one-yard loss by McMillan on second down, Turner hit Pollard for a 20-yard gain and a fresh set of downs. Following two incomplete passes and a 3-yard Turner scamper, the Buckeyes faced a fourth-and-goal from the two with four seconds remaining until halftime. Turner stretched his arm out trying to get the ball over the goal line and was hit, forcing the pigskin into the end zone. Jacksonville recovered and the first half was history.
Gilmer kicked off to begin the second half, and following a 14-yard return by Mosley, the home team began play from their 18. In their most impressive drive of the evening, thanks mainly to two long passes, the hosts put together a 7-play, 82-yard dive that took 2:45, and scored their first TD of the night.
On third-and-eleven, Black hit Ladarius Session for a 34-yard gain. Session fumbled when he was hit, but the Indians recovered and kept the drive alive. Gilmer was flagged for pass interference on the second play of the next series, and then on the following series Black hit Darrell Minifee from 31 yards out to get his team on the scoreboard. Following a successful PAT attempt by Rodrigo Carreon, the Gilmer lead was cut to 27-7.
It didn’t take the Bucks long to respond. Setting up on their 27 after a Pollard return from the goal line on the kickoff, Turner led his troops on a drive you seldom see on the gridiron. It took only 1:29 for Gilmer to move the 73 yards to the end zone, but they NEVER had a second down play in the drive.
Holt ran for 12 on the first play. Tate followed up with a 19-yard gain. Turner then hit Holt for 12 and Jordan Traylor for 13. Holt finished things off with a 15-yard rush before finding the end zone from two yards out with 7:46 left in the third quarter. Olivares hammered the PAT through, and the lead advanced to 34-7.
Dexter Davis took the ensuing kick at his 5 and returned it to his 21. On the third play of the drive, Colton Hill snatched the third turnover of the night for the visitors, intercepting black at the Tribe 24.
Four plays later, the Bucks were in the end zone again. Turner threw incomplete on first down; Holt rushed for 11 on the next play and gained two on the following play. On the next play, Holt took the ball from Turner, and then Webb took the reverse from Holt into the end zone from 11 yards out with 5:06 left in the third. Olivares was good once again on the PAT, and the scoreboard registered a blowout at 41-7.
Jacksonville went three-and-out on the next series, and following a punt, Gilmer was back in business again at their 34. The Bucks put together a 9-play drive that covered 56 yards before running out of gas at the 10. Olivares came in and kicked a 28-yard field goal and the lead extended to 44-7. The key play in setting up the kick was the fifth play of the drive, when Turner hit Josh Walker for a 29-yard gain on a third-and-eight.
On the sixth play of the next Indian possession, Black fumbled the ball away and Gilmer recovered at the Tribe 48. The Buckeyes picked up two first downs on the possession, but stalled out on the Indian 12, settling for a 30-yard field goal attempt by David Olivares. The kick was no good, and the score remained at 44-7.
It was on the next possession that the home team found the end zone for the second time, as they had their first unit in against the second team Gilmer defense. The hosts moved 80 yards in four plays and took 1:10 off the clock.
Black hit Minifee for a 17-yard gain on first down, ran for a gain of one on the next play, hit on a 22-yard pass on the next play, and finished the drive off with a 41-yard scoring pass to Session with 5:13 left in the game. Black completed a 2-point conversion pass to Minifee, and the gap was closed to 44-15.
The Indians attempted an onside kick, but Gilmer recovered the ball and set up first-and-10 on J’Ville 49. They picked up one first down, but came up one yard short on fourth-and-four on the next series of downs and the hosts took over on their 29 with 1:44 left in the game.
Black hit Minifee for a gain of 21 on the first play and began what would be an 8-play, 71-yard drive to the final score of the game. Black hit Dadrian Franklin from 22 yards out for the TD. Ryan Travis successfully added the PAT, and the score was 44-22.
The Tribe tried an onside kick once again, but the Bucks recovered yet again at their 49. Tanner Barr took a knee from the victory formation to end the game.
Coach Jeff Traylor was pleased with his team’s performance when we talked with him after the game. “We played really well. Our two’s didn’t do so well against their one’s, but our one’s did really well against their one’s. Offensively, we dropped some balls, but played really well; ran the ball well, threw the ball well, had 54 snaps at halftime. We got to play all the kids. They all played tonight again. That’s been really nice, just wish my two’s would have played better. We did a lot of things well.”
We asked the coach his thoughts on the tremendous job the Black Flag Defense did once again, as they garnered the four takeaways. “They take great pride in running to the football. They run to the football and they try to take it away when they get there. They’re the best group I’ve ever had at doing that. They run two-tenths (of a second) faster on Friday than they do on the track. They just run well on the field on Friday night.”
We asked him his thoughts on Liberty-Eylau this coming Friday. “I know what Liberty-Eylau has. They have got a whole lot more talent than we do. If I played them 100 times I’d never take them lightly. They’ve got talent. They never run out; they’ve always got a fast tailback. They’re working four quarterbacks because they’ve got four quarterbacks. That’s unbelievable in itself. They’re loaded and they always will be. I just know Liberty-Eylau…great team speed, huge offensive line, always got a great tailback, always got a great quarterback, always got a great receiver we can’t cover and they always give us fits. It doesn’t matter, just check the scores. They’ve given us fits for years.”
Coach Traylor also said he believes his team has a chance to make history Friday night at LE. “There’s no way Gilmer’s ever won four games in a row on the road; maybe neutral (site), so I’m excited. There’s not a whole lot this group can do anymore historically, so this will be a chance for them to do something historically. Joe’s (Joe Dodd) checking it out, but we both feel like it’s never happened. We may have never even played four consecutive games (during the regular season) on the road.”
We want to encourage Buckeye fans to make the trip to Texarkana for Friday night’s game. We realize that the weather has been very hot and that gas is very high, but when you consider the sacrifices our coaching staff and players have made during this record-breaking summer we’ve just been through, it is a small sacrifice in comparison you are asked to make by attending the games and supporting your Buckeyes. I won’t be able to make the game due to a business trip that can’t be avoided, so I’m asking all of you to go in my place. This team is leaving everything they have plus some on the field and deserve your attendance EVERY week. Don’t let them down!
SCORE BY QUARTERS
1 2 3 4 T
Gilmer 20 7 17 0 44
J’ville 0 0 7 15 22
VIDEO: Gilmer at Jacksonville