THE RESULTS are in. During the month of November, the District of Doom went 9-0 in the playoffs.
All the talk about District 16-3A being the toughest in Texas, it turns out, was not just hype. Some of the names have changed, but the Doom remains.
The streak inevitably has to end Friday night, though. That’s because two of the Doom-dealers will square off against each other again at Lobo Stadium.
The Class 3A Division II Quarterfinal kicks off at 7 p.m. with the Gilmer Buckeyes (12-1) matching up against the Henderson Lions (9-4). Gilmer is the home team this time around.
The Buckeyes are district champions, having rolled through 16-3A undefeated, including a win over Henderson (28-26 on Oct. 13 at Lobo).
Henderson’s other district loss was to Kilgore, 14-10. The Bulldogs (11-1), whose only loss was to the Buckeyes here on Nov. 9, are now in the Class 3A Division I Semifinals. They will take on the Stephenville Yellowjackets (12-1) in Mansfield Friday night, a game which will feature teams which made deep playoff runs in Class 4A one year ago.
Henderson and Gilmer are quite familiar with each other, having been district rivals since 2010. This will be their fourth meeting in three seasons.
The Lions are still technically in a spread offense, but made a change at quarterback during the Gilmer game that has paid great dividends since.
Patrick “Monsta” Brown now takes most of the snaps at quarterback each game. Before, the senior athlete was only the signal-caller out of the Wildcat formation for a handful of plays per game.
His backfield mate, Diamante Wright, has also really developed since then as a running back. Last Friday night against Celina, the senior rushed for 293 yards and three touchdowns.
Henderson only had to throw four passes against Celina.
For the season, Wright has rushed for 1,259 yards and 16 touchdowns. Right behind him is Brown with 1,256 yards and 19 TDs.
The Buckeyes got off to a fast start in the first game, leading 21-3 before the Lions shifted Brown from wide receiver to quarterback.
“We needed a spark in the Gilmer game and we thought that could do it, and it did help us a whole lot,” Henderson head coach Dickey Meeks told ETSN.fm.
“Especially since the Kilgore game we’ve installed more things he can do in the offense. I think it’s like anybody changing. It’s kind of a tough deal because you’re so used to the other, but he’s handled it really, really good.”
Regarding Brown’s versatility, his coach said, “I think that he’s able to do that because he can. I think that whatever we ask him to do he’s willing to do for us. He’s one of those guys that you can play just about anywhere on the field, and that’s what we’ve been able to do.”
It is somewhat reminiscent of former Buckeye great Manuel Johnson’s willingness to play quarterback his senior year in 2004 while already committed to play wide receiver for Oklahoma.
Regarding the rematch, Meeks told Bryan Houston of Bryan Houston’s Sports Radio Live on 99.3 TALK FM, “You know, Jeff (Traylor) and I have talked all the way up through the playoffs hoping that this game would evolve because it would mean both of us were there. So I think it’s gonna be great. I think it’s gonna be wonderful for East Texas and I think there’s gonna be a whole lot of people there.”
Asked about the first game, Meeks said, “We hurt ourselves a lot in that game. We had three procedure penalties that cost us two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. And we did ‘em. There wasn’t any question about that. You just can’t do those things against a team like Gilmer and win.”
He said he thought the Buckeyes had improved in their overall running game since Oct. 13.
“They’ve got three guys that can take it to the house any time they get it,” he said.
“I think both teams have improved. I think both teams’ offensive lines are better than they were at that time.”
Looking back on the 42-21 win over Argyle, Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor commented first about the fans.
“Our crowd was fantastic again. I mean they were ready to go from the git-go.”
He added, “I thought just our physicalness in the game: we matched them. They pushed us around the last two years, and I just thought our kids really played them tough and competed very hard. And it was just a good high school football game.”
Coach Traylor commented, “Early, we were probably a little too hyped-up. You know, we fumbled the football, jumped offsides, did some things we hadn’t been doing very much this year.
“But once we settled down, we were okay.”
The Buckeyes were up 14-7 at halftime, a lead they never relinquished.
“I didn’t really know how the second half was going to play out,” said Traylor. “I kicked into the wind just because I didn’t want to give their field goal kicker (Cole Hedlund) the wind in the fourth quarter. He could make a 60-yarder with that wind, probably.”
The Buckeyes really focused on containing both Hedlund and Ian Sadler, he said.
“We were very fortunate,” he said of their successful containment efforts.
Defensive player of the week was Xavier Fluellen, who was wearing No. 13 rather than 99 because his regular jersey was torn.
“We weren’t trying to do anything funny. His jersey got tore,” said his coach.
Fluellen had 10 tackles, two assists, one pressure and five tackles for loss.
CJ Williams had eight tackles, two assists, three pressures and one tackle for loss.
Josh Walker had four tackles, four assists and one pressure.
Ardarius Johnson had three tackles, six assists and one knocked-down pass.
Offensively, Tanner Barr was 15-of-24 for 175 yards and two touchdowns and also carried 12 times for 101 yards and a touchdown.
“Jaidon Parrish not only blocked incredibly well, he had four catches for 56 yards; he also had a rush at quarterback for 14 yards for a touchdown,” said Traylor.
“Our running backs blocked fantastic. Our offensive line blocked fantastic. Our receivers blocked fantastic,” he added.
This helped Kris Boyd to gain 90 yards on 19 carries and Jamel Jackson 48 yards on seven carries.
Boyd had a 22-yard touchdown catch while Jackson scored the last Buckeye TD on a 6-yard run.
Turning to Henderson, he highlighted Brown and Wright.
“Those two guys are what makes them go.
“Their line’s fantastic. They’re very well-coached. They’re a huge, huge senior football team.”
He said all but two starters on offense are seniors. Eight of the 11 starters on defense are seniors. They’ve got 36 seniors in all.
“We all know we were extremely fortunate to beat them the first time,” said Coach Traylor.
Henderson is a “big, physical team” reminiscent of Liberty-Eylau, Kilgore and Carthage, he commented.
He concluded by saying how much fun the 2012 season has been.
“I hope we can keep it going,” he added.
In addition to making the playoffs for 12 straight years and winning district in undefeated fashion for 11 of those 12 seasons, the Buckeyes have also now made it to the quarterfinals for seven of the last 10 seasons. Of course, in three of those seasons, they made it all the way to the championship game, winning it twice.
The 2012 Buckeyes are gunning to be the third championship team and are halfway there, ready to take another huge step Friday night toward taking the field at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Friday, Nov. 21.
The winner of the game at Lobo Stadium will face the winner of the Region I championship game between the Gatesville Hornets and the Graham Steers. That game is being played Friday night in Stephenville.
Here’s hoping there will be another “battle of G-towns” in Gilmer’s near future.
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 Lions Season to Date:
Plano Prestonwood, lost 56-21
Nacogdoches, won 26-14
Hallsville, lost 21-20
Jacksonville, won 37-13
Chapel Hill, won 24-6
Gilmer, lost 28-26
Spring Hill, won 42-14
Bullard, won 24-14
Kilgore, lost 14-10
Gladewater, won 41-22
Van, won 48-21
Quinlan Ford, won 49-13
Celina, won 64-35
LAST TIME TWO TEAMS FROM THE SAME DISTRICT MET IN THIS GAME:
It wasn’t that long ago. In 2009, the Pleasant Grove Hawks and the Pittsburg Pirates, both of District 16-3A, played in the Region II title game at Lobo Stadium in Longview. Pittsburg, the district champion, defeated Pleasant Grove, third place team, for the second time that season, 55-34.
BUCKEYE TICKET LINE:
903-841-7777 — Advance tickets are on sale 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.
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:
Jamal Wheeler, Offense
Devin Smith, Defense
Tanner Harrison, Special Teams
Gilmer v. Henderson Game Notes & Info
December 7- Henderson @ Longview’s Lobo Stadium
STADIUM: Lobo Stadium, Longview, Texas
STADIUM CAPACITY: 9,215
STADIUM SURFACE: Field Turf
201 East Loop 281
Longview, TX 75605
Read more: Gilmer v. Henderson Game Notes & Info