Friday, October 31, 2008

Buckeyes host Gladewater in Halloween showdown

By JOE DODD

The 53rd meeting between the Gilmer Buckeyes and the Gladewater Bears promises to be a Halloween treat this Friday night at Buckeye Stadium in Gilmer.

“It doesn't get any better than Gilmer-Gladewater on Halloween for a district championship,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who expects a strange night this Friday. “I've never played on a Halloween where it wasn't wild and crazy. I don't know if it's because the kids are hyped up on sugar from all the candy; I don't know. It just seems like every Halloween has been a wild night.”

The Buckeyes can clinch a share of their 8th consecutive district title with a win over the Bears, while Gladewater's hope for their first out-right district championship since 1990 is still alive. “They know that they control their own destiny,” said Traylor. “They know if they win out, they win a district championship.”

The Buckeyes' motivation to win should be as full as a first time trick-or-treater's candy bag on Halloween, considering the winning streaks Gilmer brings into the game. In addition to the seven consecutive undefeated district titles, the Buckeyes carry a 37- game district winning streak and a 29-game home winning streak, in addition to a 6-game winning streak over the Bears.

“Our district winning streak is important to us. We just want to keep our community happy and both our players and coaching staff happy,” confirmed Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey. “I think everybody is going to be excited about that game; I'm going to be excited about it just for the fact that we're playing Gladewater.”

Godfrey has quarterbacked the Buckeyes to the last eight district victories, a streak that ranks as the seventh best in Class 3A history. One more win, and Gilmer will tie Gladewater's 38 consecutive district wins from 1986-1991.

The end of the Bears streak in 1991 corresponds with the shift of power in the Gilmer-Gladewater rivalry. From 1972 through 1990 Gladewater led the series 14-2-1. Since 1991 the Buckeyes have enjoyed a 15-2 record against the Bears. Now the all-time series is tied with a record of 25-25-2. A win against the Bears Friday will give the Buckeyes their first lead in the series since 1965.

“It's kind of come around full circle,” admitted Gladewater head coach Scott Callaway, who has clinched his first winning season with the Bears in his third year at the helm. “Of course that is motivation to us; there's a little bit of a streak there and we're ready to change that. We're ready to turn the tide starting with this game and hopefully get a win.”

Traylor believes the Bears have the talent to do it. “They're every bit as talented as all the good teams we've played,” said Traylor. “That's not coach talk; they're that talented.”

That talent was the reason Gladewater made a change in the off season from the spread offense to the wing-t. “We tried to find the offense that we thought would be better suited to our kids; from the abilities we have right now, and the kids fixing to come through our program,” explained Callaway. “It was just a better offense that suited our talents right now.”

The switch has paid immediate dividends for the Bears, who bring a 6-2 overall record and 2-1 district mark into the game. “They've changed offenses, and the new offensive coordinator has done a great job,” praised Traylor about a Gladewater offense that averages over 300 rushing yards and 30 points per game.

“They've got great skill kids,” Traylor stated. “Cardarian Lewis is probably an all-state football player defensively and offensively.” Lewis (6-0, 225, 4.4) has racked up over 700 yards rushing while contributing more than 40 tackles from his linebacker position.

Lewis shares the backfield with super sophomore Corey Davis (5-10, 185, 4.4), who Callaway called the team's fastest player. Davis has compiled almost 1,000 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns on the season. Davis scored three touchdowns in the Bears' 34-26 win over Bullard last week, including a 74-yard fumble recovery returned for a score.

Traylor said that Lewis and Davis have benefited from a much improved offensive front. “Their offensive line is good,” said Traylor. “They do a good job of coming off the ball and hitting you right in the mouth.”

“They've got a little more confidence,” confirmed Callaway about his team. “You know having success, you feel better when things are going your way. They do respect Gilmer. We know it's going to be a tough ball game.”

Callaway said the Buckeyes' defense has improved as much as his offense. “I think they're a lot better defensively this year from what I've seen. I'm pretty impressed with them,” said Callaway.

Callaway also noted the Buckeyes' improved schedule over the past two seasons as an advantage for Gilmer. “They've had a tough non-district schedule and already played a tough Chapel Hill team, so they've been battle-tested,” Callaway said.

The same can not be said about the Bears, who have faced only one team with a winning record, losing that game 31-28 to Pleasant Grove. “Pleasant Grove is a top 10 team. They lost by three and probably should have won the game,” said Traylor, in defense of the Bears, who lost their district 17-3A opener to Tatum by five points. “Many people have lost to Tatum the last eight or nine years,” continued Traylor.

Defensively, the Bears operate primarily out of 4-3 defense that has limited opponents to under 20 points per game. “They're very skilled. They've got a lot of good looking players,” noted Traylor.

Free safety Terrance Leach (6-1, 185, 4.5) leads the Bears in tackles and earned the praise of Traylor. “He's as good a free safety as we've played this year,” stated Traylor.

Leach will need a big game to slow down a Buckeyes offense that is averaging 462 yards and 45 points per game. “It's going to come down to execution and effort and who's making plays; doing what they got to do to win,” said Callaway.

Traylor agreed, and promised that his Buckeyes would be better prepared than they were last week. “Our kids know their kids. We know how talented they are,” said Traylor. “Our kids will be much more ready to play Gladewater than they were Spring Hill.”

Did you know?

• Gilmer and Gladewater have played every year since 1980.

• Gilmer's 37-game district win streak is currently the third longest in Texas behind class 5A Galena Park North Shore's 50 wins and class 4A Highland Park's 44 wins.

• Gilmer needs 143 rushing yards to reach 2,000 for the season.

• Gilmer needs 161 passing yards to reach 2,000 for the season.

• Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey needs 273 passing yards to give him 2,000 for the season.

• Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey needs 337 passing yards to become the school's all-time leader.

Bounty Hunter of the Week: Tamil Harris
Special Teams Player of the Week: Luke Turner
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Zack Davidson
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Dakota Cannon


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
SPRING HILL’S Garrett Watkins (53) pulls Gilmer’s Kedon Franklin down by the jersey as Dakota Hagler tries to aid his teammate. Gladewater comes to town Friday night hoping at least to give the Buckeyes a “scare” on Halloween. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Buckeye Stadium.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gilmer 55, Spring Hill 7

From the Longview News-Journal:

Buckeyes rough up Panthers, 55-7

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

Gilmer Downs Spring Hill

From The Gilmer Mirror:

Buckeyes keep winning streaks alive with win over Spring Hill



By JOE DODD

The Gilmer Buckeyes took advantage of four Spring Hill turnovers to overcome a mistake-filled effort for a 55-7 victory over the Panthers Friday night at Buckeye Stadium. The win extended Gilmer's district winning streak to 37 games and their home winning streak to 29 games.

“We did what we had to do; we kind of just got through it,” lamented Buckeyes' head coach Jeff Traylor, who saw his Buckeyes flagged for a season-high 11 penalties. “So many of the things were before the ball was even snapped; that's what is so frustrating.”

Spring Hill head coach Robert Bero was even more frustrated as his Panthers racked up nine penalties of their own and added four turnovers. “Turnovers were bad for us and they took advantage of it,” said Bero. “They're a good football team.”

Gilmer's Black Flag Defense set the tone on Spring Hill's first possession when the Panthers took the opening kickoff and promptly went three and out, giving the Buckeyes the football at their own 38-yard line following Jake Fudge's 39-yard punt.

Gilmer's offense responded with a 6-play drive that consumed 3:47 off the clock and was punctuated by Stump Godfrey's screen pass to Gus Osborne, who followed a line of blockers untouched 24 yards to the end zone. Adan Olivares' first of seven successful extra point kicks gave the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead with 6:54 to play in the first quarter.

Spring Hill's second possession ended the same as the first with another three-and-out punt by Fudge, who got off a 45-yard punt that rolled to the Gilmer 24-yard line.
Seven plays later, Osborne picked up his second straight touchdown when he took a hand off up the middle, broke two tackles and sprinted into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown with 3:41 remaining in the opening quarter.

Osborne finished with 82 total yards and two touchdowns on only five touches, living up to his nickname of “Gus the Mini-bus” as the sophomore now wears Justin Johnson's number 22 jersey. “It's a pretty good name,” admitted Osborne, who added five tackles, two quarterback pressures and a sack on defense.

Spring Hill's Tyler Zapata sparked the Panthers with a 30-yard kickoff return, giving Spring Hill great field position at the Buckeyes' 45-yard line. A 5-yard offside penalty against the Gilmer defense on fourth down kept the drive alive, and the Panthers took advantage of it on the next play when Dylan Brown found Scott Carter in the end zone for a 16-yard touch down. Cody Walker's extra point kick was good, cutting the Buckeyes lead to 14-7 with only 1:02 left in the first quarter.

Gilmer's offense opened the door for the Panthers when the Buckeyes' drive stalled at the 50-yard line just five plays later, forcing Luke Turner's first punt of the game. Turner's 41-yard punt pinned the Panthers back at their own 9-yard line.

Spring Hill managed to move the ball to their own 23-yard line before a Brown pass was intercepted by the Buckeyes' J.T. Beecham at the Panthers' 30-yard line and returned to the 3-yard line of Spring Hill.

Gilmer's Marlon Granville got the touchdown on the next play, giving Gilmer a 21-7 lead with 8:56 remaining in the first half.

“Two weeks in a row we've won the turnover battle,” Traylor said. “Our defense, even though they were not sharp; they put us in a position to score a lot of points. That was the difference in the ball game.”

The Panthers kept the football for the next four minutes, as 20 yards in penalties against the Buckeyes' defense helped Spring Hill move the football to the Gilmer 41-yard line before the Buckeyes' Tristan Holt picked off another Brown pass at the Gilmer 15-yard line.

The Buckeyes' offense stalled again, punting the ball back to the Panthers only five plays later, giving the ball to Spring Hill at their own 39-yard line.

An attempted trick play by the Panthers back-fired on the next play, when Fudge took a hand-off from Brown and attempted to toss the ball back to the quarterback, but fumbled when he was hit at the same time. Gilmer's Joseph Crocker recovered the football at the Panthers' 39-yard line.

Five plays later Godfrey scored on a 7-yard run, but a holding penalty against the Buckeyes wiped the score off the board. On the next play, Godfrey completed a screen pass to Osborne, who sprinted 17-yards into the end zone for the touchdown. Once again the apparent score was negated by an offensive penalty, and pushed the ball back to the Gilmer 22-yard line.

Two plays later Godfrey threw a pass to Prentiss Bell, who made a nice catch over two defenders for a 22-yard touchdown, increasing the Buckeyes' lead to 28-7 at the half.
Despite the comfortable lead, Traylor was not happy. “That was as disappointed as I've been in my team all year at halftime,” stated Traylor. “For some reasons we just weren't mentally into the game. We didn't play very well. We didn't execute very well. They probably didn't even need me to tell them, but I told them.”

“We came out a little slow, but the defense got us going, and once we got it going they couldn't stop us,” admitted Godfrey, who finished with 256 yards and four touchdowns passing, moving him into second place in career passing yardage.

“He's growing each week,” said Traylor about his junior quarterback. “He takes a lot of pride in his work. He wants to be great.”

Godfrey was quick to deflect all of the praise. “It's only with the help of my team,” Godfrey said. “The linemen from last year and this year, the receivers from last year and this year, and the running backs. If it wasn't for them, my name wouldn't be mentioned in the records.”

Godfrey helped put any hopes of a Panthers' comeback to rest five plays after the Buckeyes received the second half kickoff, when he dumped a short pass in the flats to Granville who broke a tackle at the 30-yard line and raced into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown with 10:31 to play in the third quarter, giving Gilmer a 35-7 lead.

The Panthers responded by keeping the football for almost five minutes, but eventually had to punt to the Buckeyes, giving Gilmer the football at their own 24-yard line.

Five plays later, Godfrey found a streaking Daniel McLaren for a 57-yard touchdown strike and a 42-7 lead with 4:07 remaining in the third quarter.

Spring Hill's Ryan Lacy returned the ensuing kickoff to the Buckeyes 46-yard line, but Gilmer's Holt intercepted another Brown pass on the Panthers' first play, and returned it 69-yards for a touchdown, just 23 seconds after the Buckeyes' last score.

“I turned to run with him and I looked back and the ball was there, so I just scooped it up and went,” explained Holt about his second interception of the game. “I had about four lead blockers forming a wall.”

Gilmer's defense kept the Panthers in check on their final three drives, holding Spring Hill to only 221 total yards on the night, while the Buckeyes' offense wrapped up the scoring with freshman Luke Turner's first touchdown pass. Turner hit Josh Thompson from 15-yards out with 1:48 to play in the game, but missed his only extra point attempt of the game for the final 55-7 margin.

“We played a real good second half. We were terrible the first half. Second half we were pretty crisp; we played well,” said Traylor, when asked about his teams response to his halftime instructions. “They responded. That gives you great hope.”


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S MARLON GRANVILLE bursts into the end zone from three yards out right after J.T. Beecham had intercepted a Spring Hill pass and returned it 27 yards to within point-blank range. The Buckeyes defeated the Panthers here, 55-7.


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
SPRING HILL’S Jake Fudge (6) takes a tumble in the backfield as Gilmer’s Gus Osborne (22) and a teammate bring down the Panther. Other Buckeyes pictured are Mikey Wilson (34) and Braylon Webb (6). The Buckeyes beat the Panthers here last Friday night, 55-7, and take on Gladewater here on Friday night as they continue their march toward an eighth consecutive undefeated district title.

Galleries:

Buckeyes Vs Spring Hill

Buckeyes vs Spring Hill

Friday, October 24, 2008

Buckeyes look to keep winning streaks intact against Spring Hill

By JOE DODD

For a team favored to win by 45 points, one would think the Gilmer Buckeyes would have trouble finding motivation when they take the field Friday night against the 2-5 Spring Hill Panthers at Buckeye Stadium.
Not according to Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who explained that the possibility of the Buckeyes' 36-game district winning streak and 28-game home winning streak coming to an end is all the motivation his team needs.
“That would be a terrible thing. You could lose everything in one night,” cautioned Traylor about the district streak that dates back to 2000 and the home streak that goes back to 2002.

“The district winning streak is the one that really matters. That is the only one that has a continuation of the entire program,” explained Traylor. “We talk about it all the time; that pressure is a privilege. It's a good thing to have pressure.”
Pressure is something the Buckeyes have grown accustomed to since Traylor took over the program in 2000, guiding the team to two championship game appearances in his eight seasons. And while no trophy is at stake this Friday night, the Buckeyes promise to be fired up.

“We play every game like it's the district championship,” said Dakota Hagler, who doesn't want to be known as part of the senior class that lost the winning streak.
Zack Jones, another senior, added, “We're going to play hard the next three; we're going to keep fighting.”

That's bad news for Spring Hill, who is suffering one of their worst seasons in several years. “We're just struggling,” admitted Panthers head coach Robert Bero. “We're finding a lot of ways to lose, and when you're struggling you can find a lot of ways to lose football games, and we seem to be real good at that right now.”
The Panthers started the season by allowing 36 unanswered points in a 50-21 loss to Lindale. Two games later, the Panthers got behind Brownsboro 34-10 before outscoring the Bears 30-14 in the second half, only to come up short 48-40. Last week against Gladewater the Panthers' four turnovers in the first quarter led to an 18-0 Bears lead, and a 31-14 loss.

“We're playing with seven sophomores on the defensive side of the football, and physically we're just not matching up as well as we have in the past against some people,” explained Bero. “That's not an excuse. I expect to win. I don't care if we're playing seventh graders on the varsity, I expect to win here at Spring Hill. We've been to the playoffs seven out of the last eight years, and we expect that.”
The Panthers have shown flashes of their playoff form this season with wins over 5-2 White Oak and 6-1 Van. “Against White Oak, we matched up real well with them, and ended up winning a close football game,” Bero said. “Against Van it was just one of those nights where really just everything clicked for us. We just played real well that night.”

The Panthers will have to play well against the Buckeyes to get their third win of the season. “We know we've got our hands full coming over there,” stated Bero, who promised, “Our football team is going to come over there and play. We are not intimidated by Gilmer. We never have been intimidated by Gilmer. They can put that on their bulletin board. Respect them? We respect the heck out of them, but we're not intimidated.”

Traylor would expect nothing less from the Panthers. “I know this; Robert Bero has been coaching a long time, I have a lot of respect for him personally and I know his kids will play very hard, and they'll be sound and they'll get after us,” said Traylor.
Traylor also believes that, “Week eight is really when football season begins. If you're in a 6-team district, you could have absolutely done nothing the entire year and you can strap it up in week eight and you might win a state championship. I believe that.”

“This is when great teams get great right now,” Traylor continued. “Most people are counting down the days until it's over right now. Our kids have a different mentality, our coaches have a different mentality. We really believe week eight is when football season begins.

When Spring Hill has the football

Expect to see a lot of senior running back Jake Fudge ( 5-8, 175, 4.4) whose 903 total yards leads the Panthers offense. Fudge has 617 yards on 94 carries and 286 yards on only five catches. “Their tailback Jake Fudge is a great athlete,” praised Traylor.
Sophomore quarterback Dylan Brown (6-0, 170) has been impressive, racking up 923 yards and 3 touchdowns passing while completing 54 of 114 attempts. “They've got a really good sophomore class. Dylan Brown is a good quarterback,” said Traylor.
The Panthers operate primarily from the I-formation averaging 177 yards rushing and 159 yards passing, while scoring just under 21 points per game.

When Gilmer has the football

“On defense they play a lot of man-to-man in the secondary. They're real aggressive,” surmised Traylor.
That could be good news for the Buckeyes' receiving corps that has spread 1,557 yards and 18 touchdowns among 15 receivers over the first seven games.
Spring Hill has allowed an average of 247 yards rushing and 141 yards passing through seven games.
Sophomore middle linebacker Alex Voelzke (6-2, 205) leads the Panthers with 70 tackles on the season for a defense that has given up 31 points per game.

That's a big concern for Bero. “You've got to find a way to keep Gilmer's offense on the sideline,” Bero stated. “Somehow you've got to control the football and put points on the board. We've got to find a way to keep their offense off the field, much like Liberty Hill did last year, and we're not Liberty Hill.”

Traylor said that despite the apparent mismatch on paper, he is concerned about the Buckeyes following such an emotional victory over Chapel Hill last week. “It will be interesting to see if we have a let down. The Chapel Hill game was so intense; so physical,” Traylor said.

And while Bero concedes the Buckeyes' favored status, the long time coach said there is only one way to find out. “Will they win? That's why we're going to play at 7:30 Friday.”

Did you know?
• Gilmer is 10-2 all time against Spring Hill.
• Gilmer's 36-game district winning streak is currently the third longest in Texas behind 5A Galena Park North Shore's 49 wins and 4A Highland Park's 43 wins. (source: Joe Lee Smith)
• Gilmer has outscored its opponents 1,597-343 during a 36-game district winning streak.
• Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey needs 96 passing yards to give him 4,000 for his career.

Bounty Hunter of the Week: Shaquille Ector
Special Teams Player of the Week: Hunter Harrison
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week: B.J. Moses
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Austin Hollingsworth


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S GUS OSBORNE outraces the Bulldog defenders as he dashes 29 yards for the Buckeyes’ second quarter touchdown over Chapel Hill. After leading 28-6 at half, Gilmer tacked on one more score in the third to win 35-6. The Buckeyes return home Friday night to host the Spring Hill Panthers, marking the midpoint for both teams of the District 17-3A schedule.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gilmer 35, Chapel Hill 6

From the Longview News-Journal:

Buckeyes start early, rough up Chapel Hill, 35-6

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

Buckeyes Blitz Bulldogs With Fast Start

From The Gilmer Mirror

Buckeyes hand Chapel Hill first loss of season



By JOE DODD

The Gilmer Buckeyes jumped out to a stunning 22-point lead in the first quarter and limited Chapel Hill running back Matthew Tucker to only 155 yards rushing to crush the upstart Bulldogs 35-6 in a showdown of District 17-3A heavyweights Friday night at Chapel Hill.
“They play at a level that is different from anything we've seen,” admitted Chapel Hill head coach Phil Castles, who had led his Bulldogs to a perfect 5-0 record and No. 9 ranking in last week's Associated Press poll before becoming Gilmer's 36th consecutive victim in district play.

The Buckeyes received the opening kickoff and set the tone for the game with a 10-play, 67-yard drive capped by Stump Godfrey's 5-yard quarterback keeper up the middle for a touchdown with 8:44 to play in the first quarter. Adan Olivares' extra point kick was good, giving Gilmer a 7-0 lead.
Chapel Hill looked up for the challenge on their first possession, getting to the Buckeyes' 45-yard line before Gilmer's defense knocked the football loose from Bulldogs' quarterback Dekerrian Cooper and the Buckeyes' Vance Green recovered the fumble at the Chapel Hill 49-yard line.

After three runs put the Buckeyes at the Bulldogs' 38 yard line, two straight incomplete passes left Gilmer facing a 3rd and 10. The Buckeyes offense executed a perfect screen pass with Godfrey dumping the ball to Jeremy Jackson who followed his blockers untouched into the end zone for a touchdown with 4:05 to go in the opening quarter. A direct snap to Gus Osborne gave the Buckeyes a 2-point conversion and a 15-0 lead.
“Defense got us in a good position,” praised Godfrey. “Coming in and knowing that you are already in scoring position lets you just go and play the game.”
Godfrey and the Gilmer offense would start another possession in scoring position just seconds later when Shaquille Ector recovered the Buckeyes' on-side kick at the Bulldogs' 47-yard line.

Godfrey scored three plays later on a 26-yard run that put Gilmer ahead 22-0 with 3:15 still remaining in the opening quarter.
“Our kids came out great; we wanted to get a quick lead. Everything just went kind of right,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who picked up his 91st career win.
“Coach Traylor told us to come out and attack, so that's what we tried to do; come out and attack, and obviously it worked,” stated Gilmer receiver Zack Jones, who had three catches for 48 yards.

The 3-touchdown advantage stunned the home team, who expected to wear down the Buckeyes with their vaunted rushing attack that had averaged 392 yards and almost 40 points per game. Instead the Bulldogs managed only 237 yards on 53 attempts.
“I was proud of our defense,” said Gilmer defensive tackle Luis Castro who had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery in the game. “To come out here and show what our defense is about was awesome.”

The only negative for the Gilmer defense came on the final play of the first quarter when Tucker broke free from a gang of Buckeyes' defenders at the Gilmer 40-yard line and sprinted into the end zone as time expired in the quarter, giving the Bulldogs their only score of the night.
The Bulldogs’ determination impressed Traylor. “They stayed with it,” said Traylor. “Give them credit; a lot of teams panic. Coach Castles stayed with it and kept riding his horse.”

The Bulldogs' horse was Tucker, who entered the game averaging 267 yards rushing and more than three touchdowns a game. The senior running back finished with 155 yards on 32 carries against the stingy Black Flag Defense.
“It's just great when you've got a good defense; and we've got a good one,” proclaimed Traylor.

The Buckeyes' defense came to the rescue once again after Gilmer's offense bogged down at midfield and Godfrey booted a quick kick to the Chapel Hill 23-yard line. The Bulldogs gained only six yards before punting back to the Buckeyes four plays later.
Following a 36-yard gain on the series first play by Kedon Franklin, the Buckeyes were pushed backwards on the next two plays giving them a 3rd-and-16 from the Chapel Hill 29-yard line. Godfrey dumped off a short pass to Osborne who broke a tackle at the 20-yard line and rumbled in for a touchdown with 5:41 to go in the first half. A 2-point conversion try was stopped short, leaving Gilmer with a 29-6 lead.

Traylor said the screen passes and running game worked well for the Buckeyes because, “Our receivers blocked incredibly well,” said the Buckeyes' boss, who also praised his offensive line. “Beau Blair had his best game by far. Jacob Jenkins and Dakota Hagler, along with Blair, just had incredible ball games.”

Gilmer's defense made sure that the Buckeyes carried a big lead into halftime when Josh Thompson intercepted a Cooper screen pass attempt at the 50-yard line and returned it to the Bulldogs' 44-yard line with 13 seconds to play in the half.
A 14-yard gain from Godfrey to Franklin put the Buckeyes at the Chapel Hill 30-yard line where Gilmer freshman Luke Turner came out with :03 on the clock to attempt a 47-yard field goal. The kick sailed wide right where a Bulldogs' player caught the ball and ran up field with no time remaining in the half. He was finally tackled at the Buckeyes' 45-yard line after giving Gilmer a scare.

“They're so talented; you know they could break it at any time,” said Traylor, who admitted that he played it safe in the second half. “We probably should have thrown it a little more, but I was trying to run that clock out so we got a little conservative in the second half; that's my fault but I knew my defense was good.”
The second half started with the Bulldogs taking the football from their own 26-yard line to the Buckeyes' 37-yard line in seven plays before Gilmer's Castro recovered another Cooper fumble at the Gilmer 33-yard line.

The Buckeyes' offense took advantage of the turnover in quick fashion, covering the 67 yards in only five plays, scoring on Godfrey's third rushing touchdown of the game from three yards out with 8:05 remaining in the third quarter.
The Buckeyes defense would bend on the Bulldogs' next two possessions, but stopped Chapel Hill on consecutive fourth down attempts, keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone the rest of the game.

Chapel Hill's Castles said the Buckeyes handled the big game atmosphere better than his Bulldogs. “We made too many mistakes; we turned the ball over too many times; we didn't put the ball in the end zone when we had chances; and you can't do that against a good team, and Gilmer is certainly a good team.”
“Chapel Hill played hard; we just played really well tonight,” replied Traylor. “We played at a level we've not played at this year. We've played a tough schedule, and that tough schedule helped us get to that level.”

Gilmer offensive lineman Dakota Hagler confirmed that the Buckeyes' schedule and history of long playoff runs helped the team. “We're used to the big games and I think we handled it pretty well and stayed focused during the Yamboree.”


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
STUMP GODFREY flies through the air to score Gilmer’s final touchdown during its 35-6 District 17-3A road victory over previously-undefeated Tyler Chapel Hill, coming down on Dakota Hagler (54) and other Buckeye linemen. Chapel Hill had denied his efforts the play before, so this time he went high over the defenders.


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER DEFENDER Vance Green loses his mouthpiece as he collides with Tyler Chapel Hill’s Matthew Tucker, driving him out of bounds. Buckeyes Mikey Wilson, left, and Hayden Holmes close in to help as Gilmer held Tucker to more than 100 yards below his season average even though he carried the ball 32 times during his team’s 35-6 home field loss to the Buckeyes.

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Jeremy Jackson scores
Darian "Stump" Godfrey scores
Godfrey's 30-yard pass to Zack Jones
Godfrey's 16-yard pass to Braylon Webb (called back)
Black Flag Defense
Kedon Franklin runs for 37 yards
Gus Osborne's 29-yard TD pass reception
Godfrey's 14-yard pass to Franklin
Luke Turner's 47-yard field goal attempt
Marlon Granville runs for 13 yards
Godfrey's 3-yard TD run























Galleries:
Buckeyes Vs. Chapel Hill
Buckeyes vs Chapel Hill
10-17-08 Gilmer at Chapel Hill football

Friday, October 17, 2008

Buckeyes travel to Chapel Hill to face undefeated Bulldogs

By JOE DODD

The 6th-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes (5-1, 1-0) put their seven consecutive undefeated district championships and 35-game district winning streak on the line Friday night when they travel to Chapel Hill to face the 9th-ranked Bulldogs (5-0, 1-0) in a matchup that should decide the District 17-3A championship.

“Best game in East Texas; might be the best game in the state,” proclaimed Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who prepared for the big game atmosphere last Saturday by attending the annual Red River Rivalry where he enjoyed watching five of his former players take the field in either Texas burnt orange or Oklahoma crimson.

“It's Texas-OU. It's not the championship, but it should be,” explained Traylor. “You're not going to win the championship Friday night, but it's going to put you in a position to win the championship. Texas did not win the Big 12 Saturday; it just put them in the position to, and Oklahoma is now counting on somebody else. It's the exact same scenario. I compare it totally to that game. We're not number one versus number five, but we are number six versus number nine.”

The annual Cotton Bowl rivalry provided Traylor with more examples of a tenet he teaches his players. “Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” said Traylor, as former Buckeyes' Manuel Johnson scored three touchdowns for the Sooners, and Curtis Brown made a big tackle for the Longhorns on a fourth down.

“Manuel Johnson and Curtis Brown will be talked about forever because they made big-time plays in a big-time game,” predicted Traylor, who hopes to see some of his current Buckeyes step up against the Bulldogs.

“If you can't get ready for this one; why are you even playing? These [games] are the reason you do it. This is fun,” said Traylor.

Chapel Hill head coach Phil Castles claimed that his Bulldogs are ready. “Our kids have been looking forward to this game. We're ready for Friday night,” stated Castles, who is 20-18 in his fourth year at Chapel Hill.

Castles is enjoying his most successful season with the Bulldogs thanks in large part to Class 3A’s returning rushing leader from last season, Matthew Tucker. Tucker (6-1, 210, 4.4), rushed for 2,297 yards and 28 touchdowns in 12 games as a junior, and is on pace to pass those numbers this season with 1,367 yards and 16 touchdowns after only five games.

“He looks like Justin Johnson, except that he's faster,” described Traylor when asked about Tucker, who has been offered scholarships by Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas A&m, TCU and UTEP.

Traylor said it is no secret what Chapel Hill will do on offense. “They're going to get the ball to the tailback and then they are going to have plays off of him.”

Castles admitted that the Bulldogs are predictable on offense. “We're going to give him the ball. We'd be ignorant if we didn't,” claimed Castles.

While Tucker is the workhorse, rushing for over 300 yards in three games this season, Traylor said Chapel Hill's quarterback, DeKerrian Cooper (5-10, 165, 4.4), and fullback Jordan Antley (6-1, 190, 4.6) are impressive as well. “Their three best players are lined up right in a row,” appraised Traylor about the I-formation Bulldogs’ offense that is averaging 444.6 yards and 39.6 points per game.

Traylor wants his defense to concentrate on two areas this week: gang-tackling the runner and creating turnovers. “We have to create more turnovers,” lamented Traylor. “We haven't caused fumbles which means we're not hitting hard enough.” The Buckeyes have recorded only three take-aways in the last three games, while compared to eight in the first three games of the season.

Gilmer's Mikey Wilson, who has three interceptions and two fumble recoveries from his linebacker position, said the Black Flag Defense is anxious to face Tucker and the Bulldogs. “It's a big challenge for us, but it's one that we've been looking forward to for the past couple of weeks,” Wilson said. “It gives us a good opportunity to see how we really are on the running game.”

Castles is impressed with the Buckeyes' defense that allows an average of 163.5 rushing yards a game. “They're a very good defensive squad,” Castles said. “Size is not near as important on defense as quickness, and they are super quick. I will compromise size any time for quickness and I think that's what Gilmer has done.”

Traylor is happy with the performance of his undersized defense, but he points out that the Bulldogs are even quicker and have more size. “We're going to struggle blocking them. They're very physical up front; very fast and big,” said Traylor, who is particularly concerned with, “Their nose guard Kadarius Reeder (6-1, 280, 5.0) is an all-state nose guard.”

Traylor praised the Bulldogs' secondary, which rotates seven players, all with 4.5 speed or better. Linebackers, sophomores Kevinski Pitts (5-11, 185) and Andrew Tucker (6-0, 195) enjoy 4.6 and 4.5 speed respectively, and even three of the Bulldogs' defensive linemen run a 4.8 or faster. “They're just so big and athletic; they're just everywhere,” Traylor cautioned.

Another concern for Traylor is off the field this week as Gilmer hosts the annual Yamboree, providing players a huge potential distraction. “They've got to be smart,” warned Traylor. “You can't stay out all night, you won't play well. You've got to have your sleep, you've got to eat correctly. You can't eat 15 corn dogs. Do all of that on Saturday.”

Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey claimed the Buckeyes will not be distracted this week. “We play during the Yamboree every year,” said Godfrey. “They're a good team, so we just have to stay focused and go out there and play our game.”

Traylor said he believes Godfrey. “This is a very mature team. I've got great seniors, and I've got great captains. I'll be shocked if the Yamboree is an issue.”

Did you know?

• Gilmer has a 4-0 series record against Chapel Hill, with games played in 1951, 1962, 1963 and 1970.

• Gilmer's last district loss was 14-6 to Tatum in 2000.

• Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey needs 113 total yards to reach 5,000 for his career.

• Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey needs 306 passing yards to reach 4,000 for his career.

Bounty Hunter of the Week: Vance Green
Special Teams Player of the Week: Vance Green
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Xavian Johnson
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Brian Boyd


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S ZACK JONES gets behind the Bullard secondary for his deep-pass reception from Stump Godfrey in the second quarter. Despite being tripped up at the five, Jones stumbled into the end zone for a touchdown. Gilmer faces Chapel Hill there Friday night.

State-Ranked Gilmer, Chapel Hill Clash In 17-3A

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gilmer 48, Bullard 12

From the Longview News-Journal:

Buckeyes coast to 48-12 victory

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

Gilmer Delivers For Head Coach

From the Bullard Banner News:

Sixth-ranked Buckeyes claim 90th career win for Coach Jeff Traylor

From The Gilmer Mirror:

Traylor sets school record with win over Bullard



By JOE DODD


Gilmer Buckeyes' head coach Jeff Traylor became the school's all-time career wins leader with his 90th victory Friday night as the Buckeyes rolled over the Bullard Panthers 48-12. The victory was Gilmer's 35th consecutive district win and 28th straight win at home.

Despite the game being decided by halftime, Traylor had to wait a while to celebrate the accomplishment, as the game was delayed on two occasions. The first delay was the result of game officials debating a penalty, while the second was for an injured Bullard player. In all, the two incidents delayed the game by almost 45 minutes.

“One of the strangest, weirdest games I've ever coached in,” said Traylor. “Ironically it was the night we won the most games in Gilmer history. I think my record should be 90 1/2 wins instead of 90; that game should count for a game and a half. That's how long that game was.”

A large number of Buckeyes' fans stayed after the final buzzer sounded around 11 p.m. to celebrate Traylor's record-breaking victory. “Amazing. I can't believe anybody other than my mom and dad stayed. I was ready to go home,” admitted Traylor.

Traylor was presented with a game ball signed by all of the players on this year's team, as well as pictures of himself and the two coaches whose records he surpassed this season, Truett Rattan and Henry McClelland. After a proclamation from the school board was read over the public address system, Traylor was presented an artist's drawing of a commemorative ring that is being made to celebrate the achievement.

'That's the longest game I've ever been a part of and all of those people stayed around. It was a very humbling feeling. It was great,” Traylor said.

Traylor was not as excited about how his team got the record-setting win. “We were okay. We did enough to win,” stated Traylor, who saw his team jump out to a 41-6 halftime lead before running the clock for most of the second half.

Facing a team averaging more than 33 points per game, the Buckeyes’ defense set the tone early, forcing the Panthers to punt after a quick 3-and-out. The punt by Bullard's Sean Tadlock was off the side of his foot for a 9-yard net punt allowing Gilmer's offense to take over at the Panther's own 40-yard line.

“Defense is going out there and doing their job and getting us in scoring position,” praised Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey. “That's a great feeling knowing that the defense has done half the hard work, and we just have to go out there and do the rest of it.”

The rest of it on this series meant six plays, as the Buckeyes' covered the 40 yards in less than two minutes, scoring on an 8-yard run by Tristan Holt with 8:24 to play in the first quarter. Adan Olivares missed the extra-point attempt, and Gilmer led 6-0.

The Gilmer defense came up big again on the Panthers’ next series, returning the football to the Buckeyes' offense at their own 40-yard line after stopping Bullard on a 4th down and short play. On the very next play, Godfrey threw the first of three interceptions on the night, giving the ball back to the Bullard offense at their own 32-yard line.

Another 3-and-out series for the Panthers brought Tadlock back out to punt. This time a Gilmer player rolled into his legs after the punt, bringing a flag from an official. Another official threw a flag against the Buckeyes on the punt return. The officials met and decided to mark off the first 5-yard penalty and then tack on the 15-yard penalty giving the Panthers a first down at the Gilmer 46-yard line.

Following a time-out and several more meetings between officials, Traylor successfully argued that both penalties could not be marked off against the Buckeyes, and gave the football back to Bullard at their own 39-yard line, where Bullard quarterback Charlie Moore quick kicked the football down to the Gilmer 21-yard line.

Four plays later, Holt broke loose on a 41-yard touchdown run down the visitor's sideline before cutting back across the field to outrun two defenders into the end zone. The Buckeyes’ 2-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 12-0 with 2:09 to go in the first quarter.

Holt finished the game with 49 yards and two touchdowns on only two carries. “He's been so good on defense for so long, that we've been trying to bring him along slowly,” explained Traylor. “He had a great game offensively, and we're going to keep trying to get him more and more involved in the offense.”

Bullard responded with an 11-play drive that reached the Buckeyes' 24-yard line before the Gilmer defense pushed them back on three consecutive plays to the 36-yard line, forcing another punt. Moore's punt rolled to the Gilmer 2-yard line, where the Buckeyes took possession.

Gilmer used six consecutive runs to push the football out to their own 44-yard line, before Godfrey surprised the Panthers with a long pass to Zack Jones, who had gotten behind the Panthers’ secondary and caught the ball at the 18-yard line and raced into the end zone untouched for a 56-yard touchdown. The direct snap to Gus Osborne was good for the 2-point conversion giving the Buckeyes a 20-0 lead with 5:35 to play in the half.

Two plays and 27 seconds later, Gilmer's Vance Green intercepted Moore's pass at the Panther's 42-yard line and returned the football untouched for the touchdown. Olivares' kick was good for a 27-0 lead.

“I thought Vance's interception just absolutely said it was over,” said Traylor who praised Green for his seven tackles that led the defense to hold the Panthers to only 272 total yards and 21 points below their season average.

Bullard's next series saw the Buckeyes push the Panthers backwards seven yards in three plays, forcing another 3-and-out punt. During the punt, the Panthers' deep snapper Hunter Skelton was injured and remained lying on the field after the play. After an almost 30-minute delay, Skelton was finally removed from the field and taken by ambulance to a Tyler hospital.

After the long delay, the Buckeyes' offense went right to work from their own 37-yard line. Godfrey went to the air on three straight plays; the final one a 24-yard touchdown strike to Prentiss Bell with 3:04 remaining in the half. Olivares' kick made the score 34-0.

Three plays later, the Buckeyes' Black Flag Defense forced another Panthers turnover when Mikey Wilson recovered a fumble at the Bullard 34-yard line.

Marlon Granville took the next snap and darted straight up the middle for the touchdown with 2:25 left to play in the half. Olivares' kick was good and Gilmer had a commanding 41-0 lead.

On Bullard's next possession, the Buckeyes' defense suffered their first letdown of the game, allowing the Panthers' Daniel Howard to bust loose on a 70-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive. The Panthers' extra-point kick by Danny Vega was wide, so Gilmer took a 41-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Buckeyes received the second-half kickoff and proceeded on a 64-yard drive in seven plays, before Howard intercepted Godfrey's pass at the goal line and returned it to the Bullard 46-yard line. “He made a good play on it,” explained Godfrey. “I threw it where it was supposed to be, he just made a good play on the ball. All week we thought he was going to be pressing, but he got a cushion and he just made a good play on the slant.”

Godfrey finished the game with 277 yards passing, completing 14 of 19 passes with two touchdowns, but was marred by the three interceptions. “Stump played well,” confirmed Traylor. “Those three interceptions were not indicative of his performance.”

The Buckeyes’ defense made quick work of the Panther’s offense again, returning the football to Gilmer at their own 45-yard line after stopping Bullard on another fourth-down attempt. The Buckeyes' offense needed only six plays to travel the 55 yards, scoring their final touchdown on Granville's 1-yard run with 4:52 to play in the third quarter.

The Panthers responded with a 73-yard scoring drive punctuated by Howard's 9-yard touchdown run with 1:09 left in the quarter. The Panthers recovered an onside kick, but couldn't take advantage of it as both teams finished the final quarter without a score.

“Our kids played their guts out, we just couldn't find a way to get it done,” said Bullard head coach Jim Taylor after the game.

Traylor confirmed Taylor's assessment. “I was impressed with them and they played hard,” stated Traylor, who added his take on the Buckeyes' performance. “We're looking a little better, we're getting better. We're still not where we want to be, but we're getting better.”


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
BLACK FLAG DEFENDERS of the Buckeyes, including, from left, Michael Carpenter, Prentiss Bell and Vance Green surround the Panther receiver. Gilmer won the District 17-3A opener against Bullard at Buckeye Stadium 48-12.


Galleries:

Buckeyes vs Bullard

Buckeyes Vs Bullard Panthers

Friday, October 10, 2008

Buckeyes host Bullard to start district play

By JOE DODD

It's been said that football is a numbers game. When the Gilmer Buckeyes start District 17-3A play Friday night against the Bullard Panthers (2-3) at Buckeye Stadium, these numbers will play an important role:

1-That's the number of wins that Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor needs to surpass Henry McClelland as the Buckeyes' all-time leader.
7-That's the number of consecutive undefeated district championships the Buckeyes have won.
27-That's the number of consecutive games the Buckeyes have won at home since their last loss in 2002.
34-That's the number of consecutive district games the Buckeyes have won since their last loss in 2000.
50-That's the number of points the Buckeyes are favored over the Panthers according to one website.

Traylor doesn't care about the number 50. In fact, when informed of the prediction Traylor replied, “I'd take the spread on that one.” While Traylor doesn't worry about the margin of victory, the numbers 7, 27 and 34 mean a great deal to him.

“Some of my kids heard Manuel [Johnson] on the radio last week when David Smoak asked him if he kept up with the Buckeyes, and he said that he keeps up with the Buckeyes more than he does the Sooners. When my kids hear that it is a tremendous motivating factor. Those kind of things matter to kids,” stated Traylor.

Traylor said the winning streaks will help motivate the Buckeyes against Bullard. “We talk about it especially in these kind of weeks where people think we're going to win,” said Traylor who is 89-16 in his ninth season as the Buckeyes head coach.

The fact that the 6th-ranked Buckeyes are predicted to win by such a large margin makes sense to Bullard head coach Jim Taylor. “I don't think they have any choice other than to predict that, considering how well Gilmer been playing, and we've been kind of stumbling a little bit,” said Taylor, who is 8-7 in his second year as Panthers head coach.

The Panthers were expecting big things this season following last year's 6-4 record led by quarterback Charlie Moore. Moore (6-4, 200 4.5) passed for 1,252 yards and 8 touchdowns and ran for 746 yards and 15 touchdowns in the Panther's spread offense last season.

And while Moore's numbers have remained impressive (827 yards and 11 touchdowns passing, 540 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing), the Panthers' record has not. After opening the season with a win over Palestine Westwood, Bullard was shut out by Athens. The Panthers rebounded with a big 53-32 win over Troup before losing their next two games to Rusk and Center.

In the Panthers' two wins, Moore has accounted for 11 touchdowns. “When our line blocks well then Charlie's got some freedom to run and throw,” explained Taylor. “The reason he's able to run and the reason we're able to be successful is some other people are doing their job also.”

“Their quarterback, Charlie Moore, he's the real deal. He's a legitimate Division One quarterback,” praised Traylor. “He's tall, he's athletic, he can throw, he's smart, he's competitive. You've got to stop Charlie Moore.”

The Panthers are averaging 33.2 points per game behind Moore who has committed to play college football at University of Louisiana-Monroe. “They've been pretty good on offense, and struggling on defense,” assessed Traylor.

“We have been struggling defensively, and that's a real concern going into this game,” agreed Taylor. “We've got to be able to make some plays defensively and try to slow you down a little bit or it will be a struggle that night also.”

The Panthers give up an average of 35.4 points per game, and haven't held an opponent to less than 21 points this season. “We are really trying to find answers to that, but in all honesty we're just not making the plays, we're not getting it done,” stated Taylor.

Despite their underdog status, Taylor promises to approach the Gilmer game like any other. “As far as coming in and saying this is the week we're going to change everything; I think if anything, this is the week we're going to play who we are and let's see what we can do here,” reasoned Taylor.

“We do not have any intentions of trying to slow our offense down, to use up clock in any way to try to keep the ball away,” Taylor said. “Our offense isn't really designed to have ball control. We're going to try to just get the ball and move it down the field the best we can, in any way we can and if it goes slow or fast, we're going to be happy.”

Taylor also sees no reason to hide Gilmer's 27-game home winning streak, nor the Buckeyes' 34-game district winning streak from his players. “Kids search the websites like everybody else does so they all know that, they know the challenge that they have,” said Taylor. “Good people look at that as an opportunity and they roll up their sleeves and go to work.”

“It's a huge challenge as well as a great opportunity to line up and play somebody that is known throughout the state of Texas,” continued Taylor. “Our kids are excited about the chance to go and line up and get after them.”

The Buckeyes are excited for the game as well. “By the time we tee it up Friday night it will have been one month since we've played at home,” said Traylor. “I think opening district play, coming off an open week will be the biggest excitement. This is such an important time of the year. This is where it really matters. I know every coach says it, but every single team is 0-0 in our district.”

Because of that clean slate, Traylor and his coaching staff used the open week to their advantage. “We had a good week; some real good practices, a lot of study hall and tutorials to make sure we stay eligible, and got a lot of good work in on Bullard and worked a lot on ourselves as well,” Traylor said.

Traylor said the emphasis in practice this week will be to improve upon the team's biggest weakness. “Earlier in the year our defense was causing a lot of turnovers, and we haven't done that very much lately. That's a cause for some concern.,” replied Traylor. “The same obstacle is on the offensive side; we've turned the ball over way too much this year. Those are my two biggest concerns.”

In the Gilmer's first three games, the Buckeyes had only three turnovers and eight take-aways for a turnover ratio of plus five. In their last two games, Gilmer turned the ball over six times while only forcing one take-away.

In a game that features so many interesting numbers; Traylor hopes that one number can be put to rest after this game, his 90th win. “It would be nice if it could be done at home and get it over with and move on to some bigger goals,” said Traylor, who admitted that breaking the school record is special to him.

“More than anything, it has given me a little time to reflect on all of the great assistant coaches, and a lot of great players, as well as two great superintendents, two great high school principals, numerous school board members, and booster club presidents and booster club members that I've worked with. I guess it means I'm getting old.”

Age... it's just a number.

Did you know?
• Gilmer holds a 2-0-0 record against Bullard, defeating the Panthers in District 16-3A play in 1998 and 1999.
• Gilmer's last loss at home was to Pine Tree in 2002.
• Gilmer's last district loss was to Tatum in 2000.
• Jeff Traylor's winning percentage of 85 percent is 2nd best in Class 3A and 6th best among all coaches in Texas.
• Gilmer QB Stump Godfrey needs 16 yards to reach the 1,000 yard passing mark for the season.
• Gilmer leads Class 3A in scoring with 224 points.


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER QB STUMP GODFREY, seen carrying the football against Daingerfield, will lead the Buckeyes here Friday night in their district opener against the Bullard Panthers. Kickoff at Buckeye Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.



Traylor, Buckeyes poised for another long playoff run

Five former Buckeyes on field for Texas and OU



In what may be an unprecedented concentration of gridiron talent from one Texas Class 3A school, the annual game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Saturday between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners will have five former Gilmer Buckeyes on the field.

Manuel “Manny” Johnson, a senior, will start at wide receiver for OU. He is having a banner season so far, having received Big 12 Player of the Week honors a week ago.

In an interview available online at http://www.soonersports.com/ot/webcasts.html, Johnson says of Gilmer, “My whole town is Texas fans,” and that he looks forward to playing against two former Gilmer teammates, sophomore Curtis Brown and freshman David Snow, who are now Longhorns.

“It’ll be fun seeing those guys and playing against them,” he said.

Other former Buckeyes who are now Sooners are freshmen Justin Johnson and Lamar Harris.

The 102nd renewal of the AT&T Red River Rivalry, which has been played continuously in Dallas since 1929, will kick off at 11 a.m. with national television coverage by ABC.

The No. 1-ranked Sooners are favored by seven points over the No. 5 Longhorns.
Both teams come into the game undefeated.

OU won last year’s game, 28-21.

’Horns Outlast OU In A Series Classic