Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Buckeyes dominate 15-3A All-District team

By JOE DODD

Thirty-four members of the 2007 Gilmer Buckeyes were recently selected to the District 15-3A All-District football team, as postseason honors began to pour in for the Class 3A Division I state finalists.

“I remember when I was a kid; it was very important to make all-district,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “I know how hard they work to get these honors.”

The Buckeyes swept all six superlative honors on the team that was selected by the district coaches. Senior running back Justin Johnson was named the district’s Most Valuable Player. Senior offensive lineman David Snow was selected the offensive MVP. Senior linebackers Ross Stevens and Brennan Thompson shared defensive MVP honors.

Sophomore quarterback Darian Godfrey captured Offensive Newcomer honors, while sophomore safeties Paul Chesnut and Braylon Webb shared Defensive Newcomer honors. Traylor and the Buckeyes’ coaching staff was named the coaching staff of the year.

Johnson finished the season with 2,171 yards and 25 touchdowns rushing on 203 carries, while catching 18 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

“I was very happy for him,” Traylor said. “You are talking about a guy that only carried the ball as much as he should have in the playoffs. He’s shared the carries with another running back every year. His sophomore year he shared it with Trumaine Finch, his junior year he shared it with Josh Thompson, and his senior year he shared it with Jeremy Jackson. I was very happy for him to be so unselfish and get the MVP award.”

Snow, a 4-year starter, cleared the way for a school record 702 points on the season, as the Buckeyes offense racked up 7,100 total yards. “I was happy to see an ofensive lineman as the offensive MVP; I think that’s unique. I thought he was well deserving of that,” said Traylor.

Stevens led Gilmer with 140 tackles, while Thompson totaled 96 tackles for the Black Flag Defense that held five district opponents to only 38 points, as Gilmer won their seventh consecutive district championship. “Ross and Brennan are two kids that have been absolutely dedicated to the program since they day they started here,” stated Traylor. “They have worked their tails off.”

Godfrey, the first sophomore to start at quarterback under Traylor, passed for 2,727 yards and 38 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions, while completing more than 63 percent of his passes. Godfrey also rushed for 617 yards and 13 touchdowns on 124 carries.

“I was very happy for him for that. He’s worked extremely hard to be the quarterback,” said Traylor.

Chesnut and Webb highlighted an impressive sophomore class that helped the Buckeyes’ defense force 38 turnovers on the season while recording 2 shutouts in 15 games. “The future looks bright with sophomores like Paul and Braylon,” Traylor admitted.

Traylor improved his record to 85-15 as the Buckeyes’ head coach while Gilmer improved their consecutive district winning streak to 34 games and their home winning streak to 25 games.

“They understand that the reason they win these awards is because we win all these games,” explained Traylor. “When you win you get individual honors. If you don’t win, you don’t get individual honors.”

1st Team Offense
Lamar Harris, Sr. Receiver
Houston Tuminello, Sr. Receiver
Garrett Adkins, Sr. Tackle
Chip Elms, Sr. Center
Cody Lee, Sr. Guard
Daniel Jenkins, Sr. Tackle
1st Team Defense
David Smith, Sr. Tackle
Dakota Hagler, Jr. Tackle
Mikey Wilson, So. Linebacker
Vance Green, So. Linebacker
Devane Clark, Jr. Cornerback
Zack Jones, Jr. Cornerback
Houston Tuminello, Sr.
Punt Returner
2nd Team Offense
Jeremy Jackson, So.
Running Back
Justin Fielden, Sr. Tight End
Paul Chesnut, So. Receiver
Hunter Harrison, Jr. Receiver
Adan Olivares, Fr. Kicker
2nd Team Defense
Damien Redditt, Sr. Tackle
Jonathan Rockwell, Jr. Tackle
Kendrick Starling, Sr. Linebacker
Tristan Holt, So. Safety
Honorable Mention
Jake Ashley, Sr.
Dustin Jones, Sr.
Hayden Holmes, Jr.
Jacob Ramsey, Jr.
Marlin Granville, So.
Brett Frase, Sr.
Michael Pearson, Sr.
Ben Griffith, So.
D.J. Stanley, Jr.

High School Football: Another blue-chip crop in Gilmer

Located about 125 miles east of Dallas, tiny Gilmer (pop. 5,143) could be the quintessential small Texas town.

Football rules — and with good reason. The Buckeyes have averaged more than 10 victories per season over the past decade.


Johnson, Snow play in Army All-American Bowl



By JOE DODD

Gilmer Buckeyes' senior football players Justin Johnson and David Snow will play together for the final time today in the Army All-American Bowl at San Antonio's Alamodome. The game kicks off at noon and will be nationally televised on NBC.

“They started playing together as freshman on the 2004 state championship team and they get to finish up in the Army All-American Bowl,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor.

“I can't think of a better career than that. They started with a state championship game; they ended with a state championship game; and now they get to finish it with a game broadcast on NBC. It sounds like a lot of fun to me.”
With Snow (6-4, 300) blocking, Johnson (6-2, 215) rushed for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes to the Class 3A Division I State Championship game three weeks ago.

Today the two All-Americans will team up for the West squad before going their separate ways next season. Johnson has committed to the University of Oklahoma, while Snow is a University of Texas commitment.

The Buckeyes only lost four games during Johnson and Snow’s four years at Gilmer, and their coach expects more success for the two players.

“They'll play well. You don't get to that level unless you are a great player,” explained Traylor. “The difference is you are playing against players like you, so sometimes that makes you not look quite as good. But I think they'll do great.”

Snow and Johnson are two of only 84 players from across the nation chosen to participate in the prestigious game. Despite being in only it's eighth year, the game is already rich in tradition boasting current NFL stars like Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush and Vince Young as alums.

This will be the second consecutive year that a player from Gilmer has been selected to play in the game. Curtis Brown played in the 2007 game before starting his college career at the University of Texas in Austin.

Traylor said that the chance to watch his former players on national television has been special.

“We are so blessed right now to be able to see former Buckeyes playing in bowl games on television with Manuel [Johnson] at Oklahoma, and Curtis [Brown] and G.J. [Kinne] at Texas, and Tay [Bowser] at Mississippi State. Now we're watching two more play. I just think we are very blessed right now, and we all really need to enjoy this. Our program has been extremely blessed, and I'm very proud of all of them.”



Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
SEVERAL GILMER BUCKEYES gather with boxes of pizza at the Gilmer Civic Center Saturday, Jan. 5, as they watch college-bound, blue-chip teammates Justin Johnson and David Snow play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. A special get-together sponsored by the U.S. Army was held at the Civic Center for Buckeyes, boosters and teachers.