One of the senior players on the New Boston team was accidentally shot and killed by one of his own teammates. Coach Traylor reflected on the tragedy when we visited with him after the conclusion of Gilmer’s last tune-up before opening the season at Buckeye Stadium tomorrow night.
“It just puts things into perspective, it really does. How do you even go on and begin to think about football when you’re dealing with that situation. It’s Coach Thomas’s first head coaching job. Our prayers go out to them. I hope we raised a little money for them tonight. Our Booster Club is going to write them a check. You aren’t prepared to bury a kid when they’re 18. They might have an insurance policy but even if they do, it doesn’t matter. I want to help; our kids and I want to help. The program wants to help with whatever cost we can help defray.”
We asked the coach what effect it had on the Buckeyes to end up having their final scrimmage just six days before opening the regular season. “We’re a day behind; obviously, our coaches have to grind it up a little bit. It will be a late night tonight and we’re going to try to get a lot done tomorrow. We’ve known we’re going to play Atlanta for a long time, so it’s not just like we just now found out, so at least we knew that. We’ve basically been working on them since the Navasota game in a matter of speaking.
We also asked Coach Traylor his thoughts on how the Bucks performed in the scrimmage against Greenville. “I thought we were sloppy; it didn’t look like we were very enthused to play the game. It didn’t look like much more than a glorified practice to me. That’s why we stayed and did a little extra work, just to remind them that we’re not nearly as good as they think we are.”
We concluded by asking the coach if he felt some of the lack of execution might not have been due to the emotions the team was facing after hearing of the tragedy in New Boston.
“We talked about that, you know. Football’s a game of sudden change. There are a lot of sudden changes—turnovers, big plays, you’ve got a lot of sudden change. This is one of those sudden changes in life. It was an inconvenience for us. It was a life-changing sudden change for them, so in a manner of speaking ours wasn’t nearly as bad as theirs. It still affected us, and how we handle it shows how mature or how not mature we are.”
It didn’t take the varsity Bucks long to get rolling in the controlled portion of the scrimmage. On the very first play quarterback Tanner Barr hit on a 70-yard TD scoring pass, with the receiver running for most of it. It took only six plays on the next possession for Barr to find DeVondrick Dixon over the middle. Dixon turned it to the outside and the Texas State commit outran several Lions to the south end zone on a 75-yard scoring play.
The third possession by the first team offense took only five plays and came on a 6-yard toss. That score was set up by a 30-yard pass to Chase Tate and a 19-yard scamper by Texas A&M commit Josh Walker. The next possession resulted in a fumble recovered by the visitors, and Gilmer ran out of plays two plays later, but had a 3-TD lead.
The visitors managed a 7-play, 70-yard drive for their only tally of the night, aided by two penalties on the Buckeyes on consecutive plays. The score came on a 1-yard run.
The second team offense was able to tally one TD on a 55-yard pass and the second team defense held firm, resulting a 4-1 touchdown victory for Gilmer in the controlled portion of the scrimmage.
In the running clock, two quarter game-type action, Gilmer went three-and-out on their first possession. After a punt Greenville set up shop on their 31. After the Black Flag dropped the Lions for consecutive 6-yard losses on their first two plays, the visitors completed passes of 34 and 57 yards. It appeared the Lions would score on the second pass, but the ball was ripped away and Gilmer recovered in the end zone and returned the turnover out to the 10.
The offense got clicking on their second possession, mounting a 9-play, 90-yard drive that consumed approximately 3:30. The score came on a 3-yard run by Kris Boyd with 2:56 left in the first quarter. Pablin Olivares added the PAT and Gilmer led 7-0.
The first quarter ended with a Gilmer fumble recovery at the Greenville 28. The Lion defense dug in and the Bux were forced to try a 44-yard field goal. The Olivares kick was just short and to the right, and the score remained 7-0.
The Black Flag Defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession by the visitors, and after a punt to the Gilmer 38, Barr and company found the end zone again. After a 7-yard run on the first play of the drive, Jaidon Parrish hit Desmond Pollard for a 55-yard score. After a false start, Olivares nailed the point-after and Gilmer led 14-0.
Both teams had one more possession and the scrimmage ended without any further scoring.
In the ninth grade scrimmage earlier in the evening Gilmer blew the Lions away seven scores to one.
The first team scored five TDs and the second team scored one. The lone Greenville score was initiated by their first team offense.
In the JV scrimmage Gilmer also enacted an 8-score-to-1 blowout victory. The first team scored six TDs and the second team scored two. The lone Lion score came from their second team offense.
The scrimmages are over and we now move forward to the regular season. We encourage all Buckeye fans to show up early and be loud tomorrow night when the Atlanta Rabbits hop into town and cheer the Bucks on to a big victory as we inaugurate the beautiful new home side of the stadium. GO BUCKEYES!!!