BUCKEYE STADIUM — The Sulphur Springs Wildcats played spoiler for the second consecutive year, knocking the host Buckeyes out in the semifinals and going on to win the 8th annual Gilmer Buckeyes 7-on-7 Tournament for the second time in as many years.
Gilmer's varsity squad, led by returning quarterback Darian “Stump” Godfrey, finished with a 3-0 record in pool play before losing to the Wildcats 42-22. The Buckeyes downed White Oak 47-18 in their first game. Then Gilmer defeated Pittsburg 33-6, before blanking Troup 40-0.
“We did some good things, and we did some bad things,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “We would have liked to have won, but Sulphur Springs is a good team.”
Traylor praised the play of Wildcats quarterback Tyrik Rollison, who is considered to be one of the nation's top recruits for 2009. “I thought it was exciting watching Sulphur Springs’ quarterback,” Traylor said. “I thought it was good for Stump to see that kid. Stump really watched him and studied him from the press box.”
Gilmer's Junior Varsity team finished with a 2-2 record, losing only to varsity squads from Tyler's Grace Prep and Como-Pickton, while defeating Pittsburg and Sulphur Springs. The Buckeyes' freshman squad won their division with a perfect 3-0 record; beating Sulphur Springs once and Whitehouse twice.
“What I was excited about were the numbers of kids participating,” said Traylor. “We had 20 freshmen kids, 20 JV kids and about 20 varsity kids playing, so we had about 60 skill kids participating. We also had linemen competing in the lineman's challenge, so we had about 75 kids competing on a Saturday.”
Gilmer's Dakota Hagler won the varsity division of the lineman's challenge, while the Buckeyes' Michael Boddie captured the junior varsity title. “We'll only be as good as our linemen,” commented Traylor. “That's the way it's always been and always will be. They're the ones that hit somebody every play; the rest of them hit somebody sometimes.” The Buckeyes' 7-on-7 team will participate in the East Texas Baptist University Tournament in Marshall on Saturday, May 31.
Mirror Photos / M.L. Kirby
GILMER’S Tristen Holt above is stopped by a clutch of shirtless Pittsburg Pirates, while in top photo Buckeyes QB Darian Godfrey throws to a receiver during that same game in pool play Saturday morning (May 17). Sulphur Springs eliminated Gilmer in the semifinals to win the 8th annual Gilmer Buckeyes 7-on-7 Tournament for the second year in a row.
Buckeyes win ETBU 7-0n-7 tournament
By JOE DODD
The Gilmer Buckeyes' 7-on-7 team closed out their spring season as champions of the East Texas Baptist University 7-on-7 tournament Saturday, May 31.
“We were disappointed with our play in our own tournament,” admitted Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “So they really worked hard the last couple of weeks getting ready for this tournament.”
Sulphur Springs beat the Buckeyes 42-22 in the semifinals of the Gilmer tournament two weeks ago.
And like two weeks ago, the Buckeyes finished with a 3-0 record in pool play before advancing to the playoff bracket. Gilmer blanked Jefferson 30-0 in game one, then outlasted Pine Tree 33-27, before blowing out Shelbyville 42-14.
But unlike two weeks ago, Gilmer managed to overcome a difficult playoff opponent in the first round. Despite being down two touchdowns, the Buckeyes came from behind to beat Marshall 40-34 in overtime. “That was a big win,” said Traylor. “I was just so proud of our effort.”
Pittsburg was no match for the Buckeyes, losing 48-0 in the semifinals. Gilmer then rolled over Carthage 33-6 to take home the championship trophy. “Carthage was just physically spent, and our kids still had a lot left in the tank,” praised Traylor.
The Buckeyes' efforts were helped by the return of several players who missed the Gilmer tournament while competing in the baseball playoffs. “Our depth and our effort just wore out the other teams,” said Traylor. “We took 20 kids over there and we played all 20 of them; everybody played a lot.”
“I was excited for our kids because they played hard, and they prepared hard for that tournament,” Traylor continued. “It was good for our kids to go out on a positive note for the summer.”