All in all, it was a very good start for the Buckeyes. Gilmer had four different teams go against four different teams for the host Wildcats. Both schools had a varsity first unit team, a varsity second unit team, a junior varsity team and an 8th grade A team participate.
The varsity first units played on one end of the field while the junior varsity units played on the other end. After those games concluded, the varsity second units played on one end and the 8th grade teams played on the opposite end. After a short intermission break, the teams played the same schedule in the same order again to complete play.
The scoring was an automatic 7 points for a TD without having to go for an extra point, and interceptions could not be returned for scores, but did count for 3 points.
The Gilmer varsity first unit, quarterbacked by McLane Carter, never trailed in their first game, and after jumping out to a 21-3 lead, they won the contest 41-13. The Wildcats and Buckeyes defensive units each had two interceptions in that contest.
In the first unit’s second game, the Buckeyes came out flat and found themselves trailing 0-24 before they began what would be an almost unbelievable comeback. They narrowed the gap to 7-24 and then got 3 points on an interception on the next SS possession, pulling to within 10-24. They held on defense and scored again on their next possession to get back to within 7, at 17-24.
They came up with another big stop in the next Wildcat possession and scored again to tie the game at 24-24 with about 5 minutes remaining. On the next possession the defense got another pick and Gilmer led for the first time, 27-24. The offense scored on their ensuing possession, bumping the lead to 34-24. Sulphur Springs had one last possession, but a pass was broken up by the Bucks in the end zone to end the game and complete the exciting rebound.
We asked 7on7 Coach Rebel Jackson his thoughts about the first unit’s overall play in the two games. “We looked good in the first game, but we weren’t focused at the beginning of the second game. We were sloppy early and turned the ball over, but we never gave up. We finally put the ball in the end zone and got the pick on the next possession and got the momentum and got things going. I’m proud of how they fought back. We started slow, but finished well in the second game. Overall, the kids played hard. We saw a lot of things that we liked, but we still have a lot of things to work on. I thought it was a really good first outing with this bunch. As frustrating as it was to fall behind 24 points, to show the character and keep fighting and be able to pull that thing out was exciting.”
The varsity second unit, quarterbacked by Zac Spears, also won both of their contests. After falling behind 0-3 on an interception, they went ahead 7-3 before another pick made the score 7-6. From there, the Bucks built a 21-6 lead before winning their first game 35-13.
In the second unit’s second game, the Buckeyes jumped out 14-0 and moved ahead 28-7 before winning by the score of 35-21.
The outing was a little tougher for the JV and 8th Grade A teams, but they also had respectable outings. The JV lost their first game 24-28 and tied their second game 38-38.
The 8th Grade A team lost their first game 7-28, but won their second game by the same score, 28-7.
The Buckeyes will host the largest 7on7 Tournament ever held in Gilmer on Saturday, May 17. The games get underway at 9 a.m. If you’re a Gilmer football fan, be sure to clear your schedule for this tournament. There will be 16 Division I Varsity teams entered, along with 12-15 Division II Varsity teams, along with an 8th grade Division. The 8th grade games will be played at Gilmer Bruce Junior High Campus due to a lack of field space at the high school. The weather is projected to be fantastic, so come out and enjoy the tournament!
Read more: Sulphur Springs News-Telegram - Wildcats show improvement in 7-on-7