Buckeyes take on Atlanta in first scrimmage
By JOE DODD
The Gilmer Buckeyes start their pre-season schedule Saturday with a scrimmage at Atlanta. Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor said the Rabbits are the perfect team to prepare his young squad for the season. “We just like playing good people who are close, and can run,” said Traylor. “Obviously Atlanta is probably one of the top three speed teams in the state of Texas.”
The Rabbits finished as the Class 3A runner-up in this spring’s state track meet, complementing their three state championships in track this decade. And while the football team has struggled in recent years, the Rabbits are one of only five teams to beat the Buckeyes the past five seasons.
Atlanta ended Gilmer’s 2003 season in the regional final en route to a state championship. Since that game, the Buckeyes have a 50-4 record, while the Rabbits have gone 13-29. Rabbits’ new head coach Ronnie Melton will try to return the program to glory. Despite the change in head coach, Traylor believes the Rabbits’ schemes will remain the same. “They’ve changed coaches, but it’s a guy from within the same staff so we expect it to be pretty similar.”
This scrimmage follows what Traylor called, a “really good” first week of practice. “It’s kind of hard to tell because you are working so many kids; trying to develop a lot of depth,” Traylor said. “It’s kind of hard to give a grade, but I would say that I am pleased.”
Gilmer’s freshmen and junior varsity teams will start the scrimmage on opposite sides of the field at 9 a.m. The freshmen offense and JV defense will take the field first for a 50-play scrimmage.
The varsity teams will follow with a 70-play scrimmage starting with the Buckeyes’ offense facing the Rabbits’ defense. Following the scrimmage, both teams will practice their punt coverage and extra-point teams.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
AT MEET THE BUCKEYES Saturday evening (Aug. 9), Athletic Director Jeff Traylor introduces his seniors to the audience, including team captains Dakota Hagler (54), D.J. Stanley (12), Hunter Harrison (behind Stanley) and Zack Jones (7). Sitting by the Buckeyes are members of the Lady Buckeyes Volleyball team. The Buckeyes scrimmage Atlanta there on Saturday.