Sunday, May 27, 2007

Buckeyes successful in 7-on-7 tourney


The 6th annual Buckeyes’ Booster Club 7-on-7 Tournament proved a big success for the Gilmer football program as the host Buckeyes won the Junior Varsity division and finished second in the Varsity division.

The varsity squad finished the tournament with a 4-1 record, losing to class 4A Sulphur Springs 41-13 in the championship game. Gilmer’s Junior Varsity team ended the day with a perfect 5-0 record, including a 39-18 thumping of Class 4A Pine Tree in the championship game.

"It was great," stated Buckeyes’ head coach Jeff Traylor. "We had a lot of success, that is always good." Traylor was upbeat despite his team’s loss in the varsity championship game. "We got down in the Sulphur Springs game, and I was awaiting to see if there was going to be some quit in us, but we had great leadership, and just kept battling."

The Buckeyes’ varsity squad finished pool play 3-0, defeating White Oak 26-6, Pleasant Grove 38-7, and Pine Tree 39-18. Gilmer then downed Elysian Fields 26-20 in overtime of the semi-final, before losing to Sulphur Springs. Gilmer’s junior varsity team opened pool play with a 56-6 win over Pine Tree, then cruised past White Oak 53-8 and Pleasant Grove 40-8. In the semi-final, the Buckeyes rolled over Elysian Fields 47-12.

In addition to the 7-on-7 play, the tournament hosted a lineman’s challenge. Gilmer senior-to-be David Snow, a University of Texas commitment, was the overall winner. "I’m extremely pleased," Traylor surmised. "Our kids behaved, and played hard."

Open House

Mirror Photo / M.L. Kirby
DISCUSSING THE new facilities of the Gilmer Buckeye Field House Sunday afternoon, May 20, at the facility’s open house are Superintendent Rick Albritton, left, former school board member Layman Beavers and new board members Jeff Rash and Mike Tackett.

Manuel Johnson complimented

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Open House for Buckeyes' new facility


The new $2.3 million Gilmer High School Field House will debut to the public on Sunday, May 20 at an open house from 3-5 p.m.

The 16,000-square-foot building is located just north of Buckeye Stadium, and can be accessed from Bradford Street. RPR Construction Co., Inc., of Tyler was general contractor for the project, while Thacker/Davis Architect Inc. of Longview designed the cinder-block and brick building.

The building, new equipment and furnishings, along with the parking lot cost approximately $1.85 million. An additional $450,000 was spent on dirt work preparation for the building and any future expansion of the high school.

The old field house, originally constructed in 1962, featured only 3,500 square feet, along with another 1,500 in a metal building. Plumbing problems, frequent staph infections, and a leaky roof were common concerns for the approximately 170 student-athletes and more than a dozen coaches that used the facility.

The new facility includes several new features including a foyer with several large trophy cases, a large meeting room, an athletic department secretary’s office, and a separate coach’s locker room with showers.

The new facility sports three locker rooms, a training room, an equipment storage/laundry area, and a weight room which looks out onto the stadium. All areas are considerably larger than the previous areas in the old building. "It’s twice as big as the other one," commented Traylor about the weight room. "We have 75 kids in first period athletics right now, and we can work them all out in the weight room at the same time. In the past, we had to split the kids up and use different kinds of weight workouts we really didn’t want to do, just so we could get all the kids in the weight room."

According to Traylor, the expanded training area for head athletic trainer Steve York might be the most important upgrade in the new building. "We have a lot more space for treating people. We have four training tables now, and we have a whole room set up just for rehab. It’s going to save our kids a lot of money by not having to go to Longview or Tyler for their rehab. They can rehab right there in our own building. Now the finest trainer in the state of Texas has one of the finest training rooms in the state of Texas." Traylor also praised the expanded locker rooms. "Last years freshmen team had 65 players sharing 30 half-lockers. Now we have 50 full lockers for each locker room."

Lack of space has been a problem since Traylor took over the Buckeyes’ program in 2000 and turned it into one of the most successful in the state. The Buckeyes have a 71-14 overall record under Traylor, and won the school’s first state championship in 2004.

With the recent additions of a new artificial turf field, new concession stand and bathrooms, and soon-to-be expanded stadium seating, the Buckeyes now have the facilities to match their record. "Our facilities are second to none. We are very proud of it. We plan on taking care of it, and make it last as long as that last building lasted."

Buckeyes host 7-on-7 tournament


The 6th annual Buckeyes’ Booster Club 7-on-7 Tournament will be held Saturday, May 19, at Buckeye Stadium and the adjoining practice fields northwest of the stadium. Eight schools are scheduled to participate at the varsity level including Gilmer, White Oak, Pine Tree, Pleasant Grove, Spring Hill, New Boston, Elysian Fields and Sulphur Springs. All varsity level games will take place on the Buckeye Stadium field with two games being played on each half of the field every hour starting at 9 a.m. The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m.

The same eight schools also plan on participating at the junior varsity level, with all games played on the main practice field.

Gilmer won both the varsity and junior varsity championships last year, but head football coach Jeff Traylor said winning isn’t the reason the Buckeyes play 7-on-7.

"We don’t get to have spring ball," stated Traylor. "So this is our turn to get a good look at some guys getting to try to make plays. Obviously there are no pads on, but at least we’re getting to evaluate them."

Although Traylor is more interested in evaluating his players, the Buckeyes still value success, as their 15-1 record in 7-on-7 play last summer indicated. But while many teams completely change their offensive and defensive schemes to compete at 7-on-7, Traylor’s Buckeyes do not. "We do the same thing we do in the season. We don’t change anything. What you see on 7-on-7 is the same plays that are run on Friday."

Traylor notes that fan attendance has increased every year of the tournament, mainly due to the interest in seeing which new players might contribute to the Buckeyes’ success in the fall. "Every year we have more, and more, and more. That’s why I like doing it at home. The fans can come and watch all the new kids play. We lost 26 seniors, so they can really watch a lot of different kids out there. I know everybody is interested in watching the quarterbacks, and the new inside receivers, and we have a whole new defense. Basically 7-on-7 will be all new."

The tournament is open to the public, and attendance is free. The home-side concession stand will be open to provide snacks and drinks to fans, with all profits going directly to the athletic program.

Buckeyes to play Louisiana team here to open 2007 season


For the second straight season, the Gilmer Buckeyes will open the football season with an out of state opponent. The Richwood Rams from Richwood, Louisiana will visit Buckeye Stadium on Friday, August, 31. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Last season the Buckeyes defeated Las Vegas Bishop Gorman 56-14 in the East Texas Football Classic in Tyler.

The Classic has moved from week zero to week one, and the Buckeyes are scheduled to visit back-to-back state champion Tatum in week one.

Richwood High School, with an enrollment of 783 students, is located five miles south of Monroe, La. The Rams went 8-5 last season, losing in Louisiana’s Class 3A state semifinals.

Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor has not seen any video of the Rams, but has talked to other coaches who have. “I know they are very, very athletic,” said Traylor. “I’ve heard they are incredibly talented, incredibly fast. They sound a lot like Liberty-Eylau and Tatum. That’s why I wanted to play them.”

The game will mark the debut of the Buckeyes’ new field house located north of the stadium; and Gilmer will try to improve on their 20 game home winning streak. The last time the Buckeyes lost at home was in 2002 to Pine Tree.

New seats for Buckeye Stadium

Gilmer ISD recently sought bids for a new set of grand stand seats for Buckeye Stadium.

A public notice advertisement in The Gilmer Mirror stated that proposal requirements and specifications were available from Thacker/Davis Architects Inc.; 1100 Judson Road, Suite 620; P.O. Box 2723; Longview, TX 75606, or by calling 903-236-3771.

Supt. Rick Albritton said the new grand stand section will include 250 seats, and will be built north of the visitors’ seating at Buckeye Stadium, straddling a drainage ditch there.

“It will be facing the home-side seats, and will be for the Buckeye Band and the Stars drill team,” Albritton said. Bids were accepted until 2 p.m. May 15 in the board room of the Gilmer ISD Adminstration Building at 500 South Trinity in Gilmer.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Gilmer Sporting New Field House

Sports Correspondent

GILMER—An open house will be held sometime next month for the new $2.3 million Gilmer High School athletic field house at Buckeye Stadium.

The athletic program moved into the facility a few weeks ago from the old nearby field house, the oldest part of which was constructed in 1962, said Gilmer Independent School District officials.

The former field house had problems ranging from overcrowding and staph infections to plumbing woes and leaking, school officials said.

The 16,000 square-foot new structure, which is more than triple the size of the old one, will house not only one of the premiere football programs in East Texas, but each sport in Gilmer ISD.

“It’s nice,” head football coach/athletic director Jeff Traylor said while showing the facility to a representative of the Tyler Paper on Thursday. “My kids are just so proud of it, and we’re (coaches) proud of it, too.”

“They’re already proud of the program,” said Traylor, whose Buckeyes have won a state championship while going 71-14 in his seven years of coaching his alma mater. “This (the new building) has put ‘em to another level.”

Indeed, he said, since the team won more than 70 games while housed in the aging field house, he expects more wins in the next seven years.

After all, the new edifice offers several advantages over the Buckeyes’ former quarters, according to Traylor and Gilmer ISD superintendent Rick Albritton.

For one thing, Traylor noted, his players no longer must share lockers. The football program probably has 170 players, and the old facility contained room for only about 85, he said.

Indeed, Albritton said Friday, the old facility posed “an accident waiting to happen” because it was too small for the number of athletes using it.

In addition, the new facility’s weight room—which has all new equipment—is double the size of the old weight room, enabling all players to work out simultaneously, Traylor said.

And since staph infections were a “terrible” problem in the old field house, the new one has no carpet, a measure aimed at greatly reducing the risk of that headache, the coach said. The new facility has rubber flooring.

Besides its other features, the newly-built structure houses three locker rooms (for the varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen); and separate offices for Traylor, athletic secretary Amy Ward, the offensive coaching staff, and the defensive coaching staff.
Said Albritton, “They’re (athletes) gonna take care of it, and they deserve it.”

Visitors who enter find “Gilmer Buckeyes” in orange letters on a black floor. There is also a trophy case, and a separate special glass-enclosed display with mementoes of Gilmer’s winning the 2004 Class 3A Division II state championship.
Among those items is a congratulatory letter from President Bush dated April 2005.

Traylor said he, his brother, assistant coach Kurt Traylor; team trainer Steve York; and Albritton visited numerous other schools’ field houses to glean ideas for the new Gilmer facility. Most of those field houses were built in recent years, he said.
RPR Construction Co., Inc., of Tyler was general contractor for the project, while Thacker/Davis Architect Inc. of Longview designed the brick-and-cinder-block building.

Albritton said the project was financed by a combination of bond issue funds and savings. The building and new adjoining parking lot cost about $1.85 million, while the school spent an additional $450,000 for land preparation (an approximately 250-foot culvert to re-direct a creek), he said.

As for the old building, Traylor said it is being used as a mat room for agility drills, tumbling, and flips, as well as for storage. Albritton said the old facility had only 3,500 square feet, along with 1,500 in a metal storage building.

Weight equipment from the old weight room, which had been added to the original field house in the 1980s and/or 1990s, was sent to Bruce Junior High School in Gilmer, said Traylor.

“That building has run its course,” he said. Albritton said the school district “got our money’s worth out of it.”

From The Tyler and Tyler Morning Telegraph, April 29, 2007