Gilmer never punted in the game and scored on every possession with the exception of when they took a knee on their final possession of the first half. The win keeps Gilmer perfect at 6-0 and 3-0 in District 16-3A action, while Henderson falls to 1-5 on the year and 1-1 in District. Gilmer will now enjoy the fruits of their labor this week with their open week and the team will get a chance to enjoy a bit of the 76th Annual East Texas Yamboree, even though they will still practice as usual and work on continuing to improve even more.
Coach Jeff Traylor agreed that it was his team’s best effort of the season. “Our kids played really well. It’s the best we’ve played all year. Henderson did a great job coming off that opening week doing a bunch of stuff we weren’t prepared for and cashed in on it. You hate to see that, but it happened, but our kids adjusted and we came back and played really well. It’s the best we’ve played all year. We had a good week of practice on defense—we really had a good week of practice and kids just played better. (It’s) good to see that; I’m really happy for our kids. We’re going into the open week relatively healthy. We’re a little nicked up, but we should be all right. We’ll go into Spring Hill and just see what happens. We were pretty on tonight. We’ve got some good players and they played well. We’re worrying about us. We’ve got to keep getting better. We were much better tonight, and that’s really who you’re playing every week—you’re always playing yourself. Our illegal procedure penalties were down tonight; our penalty count was way down. We were locked in and focused mentally. That’s the key, and we’ve just got to keep getting better each week.”
Gilmer won the coin toss, and as usual they elected to defer to the second half. Pablin Olivares kicked away to the Lion 15 and Tre’ Hollins returned the ball out to his 26. From that point, Zane Boles led his charges on a 13-play, 74-yard drive that consumed the first 5:32 of the game. The drive culminated with a 6-yard TD pass from Boles to Hollins with 6:28 left in the first quarter. Edgar Sanchez added the extra point and Henderson fans went wild thinking just maybe they could play with the Bucks. Those thoughts disappeared quickly after the short-lived excitement the Lions had.
Sanchez kicked away to the Gilmer 25, and after a 7-yard return Tanner Barr got the offense cranked up and the Buckeyes never looked back. The Bucks moved the ball the 68 yards into the end zone on 9 plays that took 2:21. Kris Boyd ran in from the 9 with 4:07 left in the opening period for the first Gilmer TD. Olivares added the PAT and the game was tied at 7-7.
Zedrick Lister returned the next kickoff from his 11 to his 28, but the Lion offense could only manage four yards in three plays and Boles punted away from his 32 to the Gilmer 24.
Barr and the offense took seven plays and 1:46 to move the 76 yards into the end zone for a lead the Buckeyes would never surrender. The score came on a 32-yard pass from Barr to DeVondrick Dixon with 46 seconds left in the quarter. Olivares added the extra point and Gilmer led 14-7. A big play in the drive was a 37-yard pass from Barr to Nick Smith on the fourth play of the drive.
The ensuing kick was taken by Lister at his 6 and returned to his 30, and Boles and the Lion offense returned to the field. On the second play of the possession Boles got lucky when a pass was tipped by Kris Boyd and Hollins just happened to be in the right place and garnered the pigskin for a 34-yard gain. After that Henderson lost four yards on the next three plays and Boles punted away from the Gilmer 41 out of bounds to the 3.
Not rattled by their poor beginning field position, the Bux moved 97 yards in just five plays that took only 1:18 before they were in the end zone again. Kris Boyd ran for 27 on the first play, Barr threw incomplete for Josh Walker on the next play, Darrian Lewis ran for 12 on the third play and Barr picked up a yard on the fourth play before hitting Chase Tate for a 57-yard scoring strike with 8:51 left in the half. DeMarco Boyd ran in from the 3 with a successful 2-point conversion out of the swinging gate, and the Gilmer lead moved to 22-7.
Lister took the next kickoff at his 16 and returned it to his 34. Boles and the offense picked up one first down, but the Black Flag stiffened and forced a 48-yard punt on the next series. The punt died on the Gilmer 7.
The Gilmer offense took only 1:11 to get into the end zone again. Barr hit Kris Boyd for a gain of 14, and then Boyd ran for a gain of 46 before Barr hit Desmond Pollard for a gain of 31. Lewis crossed into the end zone, but the ball popped out before a TD was signaled. Gilmer recovered the pigskin and maintained possession back at the 1. Josh Walker ran in on the next play. Olivares nailed the point after and Gilmer led 29-7 with 4:57 left in the half.
Olivares kicked down to the Lion 27. Hollins took the ball and fumbled, but recovered his own miscue at his 25. It was a short possession for the Henderson defense. Randy Davis was dropped for a loss of one on the first play and then Jaidon Parrish intercepted Boles on the next play. He was stripped of the ball on the return, but Brian Restine recovered for the Bucks.
It took only two plays and 39 seconds for the offense to tally another TD. Boyd was dropped for a loss of five on the first play and Nick Smith found the end zone from the 27 on the next play. Olivares split the uprights and the rout was on at 36-7.
The next kickoff was returned to the Henderson 33. Boles and his offense managed one first down, but then got shut down by the Black Flag and Boles punted the ball 40 yards down to the Gilmer 7. Barr took a knee and the half expired.
Jaidon Parrish returned the second half kickoff for 13 yards from his 30 to his 43, and the offense was on the road again. Barr led his unit into the end zone in just five plays that took 1:52. The score came on a 13-yard run by Boyd with 10:08 left in the third quarter. Key play in the drive was a 31-yard pass to Pollard. Henderson was also flagged for a 13-yard pass interference on the drive. After Olivares kicked the extra point Gilmer led 43-7.
The ensuing kick was returned out to the Lion 20 and the outmanned Lions brought their offense back on the field. They managed one first down before the Black Flag shut the door again. On fourth down Boles punted for 31 yards down to the Gilmer 21, and the Buckeyes were back on the offensive barrage again.
Just seven plays and 2:19 later the 79-yard drive ended with a 24-yard TD run by Boyd, and after Tristan Olivares came in and booted the PAT Gilmer led 50-7 with 5:09 left in the third period.
Tristan Olivares kicked away to Lister and for a brief moment Henderson fans a second bit excitement. Lister returned the kick from his 16 and was tackled 57 yards later at the Gilmer 27. Almost before the Lions stopped celebrating the big return, their defense was back on the field yet again. On the first play of the possession DeVondrick Dixon picked off a Boles pass and Gilmer went back on offense at their 20.
In what would be their longest drive of the night time-wise, Barr led the offense on a 4:53 drive over nine plays to get the touchdown. Mercifully, the coaches and officials agreed to run the clock non-stop except for time outs and injuries the rest of the game on the second play of the possession. The score came on the last play of the third quarter when Jordan Williams ran into the end zone from the 3. Tristan Olivares added the PAT and Gilmer led 57-7 headed into the final stanza.
Tristan kicked away to the Henderson 5 and the kick was returned out to the 25. The Lions lost three yards on three plays and Boles punted down to the Gilmer 42 on fourth down from his 22. Dixon returned the ball out to his 48 and the Buckeyes set up shop for what would be their final score of the night.
The drive was four plays and it took 2:28 to move the 52 yards into the end zone. Jaidon Parrish came in to complete the game for Tanner Barr at quarterback. On the first play of the drive Darrian Lewis ran for a gain of 26. On the next play Parrish hit Dakeilan Nelson. Kelton Collier ran for 12 on the next play and scored on a 2-yard run on the next play. Tristan Olivares hit the point after touchdown and Gilmer led 64-7 with 4:14 left in the game.
Tristan kicked away to the Lion 11 and the ball was returned to the 26 where Henderson went on offense for their final possession. They picked up two first downs and on the third play of the next series the clock ran out and the game was over.
We asked quarterback Tanner Barr about the near perfection of the offense in the contest.
“I can’t praise enough just how well we practiced this week. We came out both offense and defense and played ‘lights out’, so I’m proud of our team. Our defense, after that first drive, everybody came over on the sideline, and they played good; our whole team did. We’re still going to go in there next week and prepare for Spring Hill, so we’re going there and just practice like we have a game. We won’t take anything off.”
We also visited with defensive signal-caller Josh Walker about the great performance turned in by the Black Flag.
“We knew they had two weeks to prepare for us, so we just worked in our defensive and offensive meetings. We knew they were going to come out with some stuff we hadn’t seen before and they did that on the first drive. I just wanted to bounce back and have a great week. I didn’t play to my standards last week. I just wanted to come out and play hard, and the Black Flag wanted to come out and prove that we could play four quarters, and we did.”
We asked his thoughts about the precision work of the offense in the game as well.
“We’ve been working on that all week, and the offense is going to be great when you’re going up against a great defense every day. That’s kinda what we hang our hat on.
“We know we’ve got a lot of weapons and we’re going to use them. We’ve got a lot of players that can make plays so that’s what it comes down to.
“We’re not even good yet. We don’t know how good we can be yet. Like I said, the defense hadn’t even played four quarters until tonight and the offense, we’ve still got things we can work on and get better, so I’d be scared of us in a couple of weeks. We’ve got the off week next week, so we’ll come out after that and play harder.”
The Bucks will take the field next at Spring Hill on Friday, Oct. 25, in a 7:30 p.m. contest. In the meantime, they will continue to practice and will doubtless continue to get better and better. This team is on a mission, and after making it to Jerry World last year for the Championship Game, nothing short of a trophy will satisfy this group of determined Buckeyes. Enjoy the Yamboree and get ready for Spring Hill, Bucks!