Hunter Taylor discusses his new book, Draw the Line: Jeff Traylor, The Gilmer Buckeyes, And a Season Deep in the Heart of East Texas, at a meeting of the Gilmer Rotary Club at the Gilmer Civic Center on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Synopsis: East Texas is a land of tough, committed, resilient, hard-working people who love and take care of each other. Communities come together in churches, in schools, and in high school football stadiums all across this, often overlooked, region of the state. Football is more than a sport for young men in this part of the country that is primarily made up of small, country towns. It’s a means of modeling character, and instilling discipline and pride—a way of life led by a brotherhood of coaches, each generation molding the next. On the football field and off, coaches lead not only their teams but also the towns, garnering respect for their dedication and will to succeed, sometimes against great odds. The ethos of East Texas is especially embodied in the story of Jeff Traylor, former head coach of the Gilmer Buckeyes, and his long-time coaching staff. A native son, Traylor and his band of brothers transformed the Buckeyes into champions, and in doing so help tell the story of the entire region’s obsession with high school football, and undeniable influence on all levels of the sport. This is the story of the coach, the team, and the region.