Hunter Harrison interview
From the Longview News-Journal:
Buckeyes' victory sets up showdown with Carthage
From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:
Gilmer Buckeyes Skate Past West Orange-Stark
From the Lufkin Daily News:
Gilmer eliminates West Orange-Stark, 35-23
From The Orange Leader:
Fast-break Buckeyes end great WO-S run
Gilmer’s Joseph Crocker consoles West Orange-Stark’s James Haynes Saturday evening at Lufkin’s Abe Martin Stadium. The Buckeyes defeated the Mustangs 35-23, ending the WO-S season with a 10-1 record.
Mark Pachuca / The Orange Leader
Gilmer players show some class after beating WOS by consoling James Haynes and others who saw their season come to an end Saturday with a 35-23 loss in Lufkin. Gilmer was the better team on Saturday but the Stangs certainly had their chances to get back into it after being down 28-9 at the half. WOS ends the season 10-1 while Gilmer (12-1) moves on to play Carthage.
OPEN LETTER TO THE TOWN OF GILMER AND ITS HIGH SCHOOL
I am a West Orange Stark football fan. I witnessed the game between Gilmer and WOS last Saturday in Lufkin.
It was a clean, hard-fought football game between two very good teams.
But what I noticed the most was the sportsmanship of both the fans and the players from Gilmer.
These young people (football team, cheerleaders, band) represented their school and their city very well.
It is the parents, teacher and coaches that instill these values in our kids, and a great job is being done by all in the town of Gilmer, Texas. Best of luck to the Buckeyes.
From the Beaumont Enterprise:
West Orange-Stark's second-half rally not big enough in loss to Gilmer
Third round's not a charm for West Orange-Stark
From the Record:
From the Houston Chronicle:
Boxscore of Gilmer - WO-S Game
From The Gilmer Mirror:
Buckeyes advance with 35-23 win over WOS
By JOE DODD
The Gilmer Buckeyes used a dominating first half performance and survived a third quarter rally to defeat the West Orange Stark Mustangs 35-23 Saturday in the Class 3A Division II Region III semifinal at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin.
The loss was the first of the season for the Mustangs (10-1), who have the highest all-time winning percentage among all high school teams in Texas. “This is a huge win for our program,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “West Orange Stark is who we want to be. We want to be that way for 30 years.”
Traylor compared the victory over the Mustangs to Gilmer's wins over other storied programs in Texas.
“You don't get to play the team that has the highest winning percentage in the state of Texas very often, so I would say it's right up there with our wins over Celina, Abilene Wylie and Daingerfield.” Traylor said.
Just a week after throwing only eight passes for 38 yards in a win over Mexia, the Buckeyes took to the air against the Mustangs, completing 22 of 39 passes for 351 yards and 5 touchdowns.
West Orange Stark, who entered the game with the best defense in the state, allowing only 56 points in 10 games and giving up an average of only 120 total yards per game, was surprised to see the aerial attack.
“Those kind of things don't usually happen to us; but they did tonight and it's all Gilmer's credit,” said Mustangs head coach Dan Hooks, who suffered only his 65th defeat in 28 years at West Orange Stark.
Traylor said that the Buckeyes took to the air out of necessity. “They were so good up front, it was just hard to run the ball, and we didn't have our running back,” said Traylor in reference to Jeremy Jackson who missed the game with an injury after rushing for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns against Mexia.
“Our receivers, quarterback and offensive line did a great job,” praised Traylor, who added “Our coaching staff did as good a job as they've ever done.”
Not to be outdone, the Buckeyes' Black Flag defense held the Mustangs to only 88 rushing yards on 42 carries, well below their 242-yard average entering the game.
“We couldn't block them; they were penetrating,” said a frustrated Hooks. “I thought they played excellent. They got a great effort out of their players tonight. They were really coming hard. They made some big plays and intercepted two passes. They were a lot better defensively than I thought they would be.”
Gilmer's defense struggled early, but didn't break. West Orange Stark received the opening kickoff and proceeded on an 18 play, 63-yard drive that took 9 minutes off the clock, before the Mustangs had to settle for a 22-yard Justin Sparrow field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Gilmer answered with an 8-play drive covering 71 yards that ended with a backwards pass from Stump Godfrey to Hunter Harrison, who then threw to a wide-open J.T. Beecham for a 32-yard touchdown with just 38 seconds left in the opening quarter. Adan Olivares kicked the first of his five extra points for a 7-3 lead that the Buckeyes would never relinquish.
“All week coach [Keith] Tate has been telling me, you have to catch this ball. If you don't; don't even come to the sidelines. So I knew I had to catch it,” said Beecham.
It looked like the Mustangs would answer right back on the next series, driving the football down to the Gilmer 24-yard line before Beecham hit Mustangs' quarterback Ortavious Hypolite and forced a fumble recovered by the Buckeyes' Gus Osborne at the Gilmer 20-yard line.
Godfrey hit Zack Jones on a 42-yard pass on the next play, and three plays later Harrison took a handoff on a sweep, then pulled up and fired a 25-yard touchdown strike to Jones for a 14-3 lead with 8:40 to play in the second quarter.
“It felt great,” said the senior Harrison, who hadn't thrown a pass since playing quarterback for Gilmer's junior varsity team his sophomore year. “We worked on it all week and I was ready if the time ever came.”
The Buckeyes' two quick scores seemed to unnerve the Mustangs, who abandoned their ball control game plan and threw three consecutive incomplete passes on their next possession, giving Gilmer the football in great field position at their own 47-yard line after a 20-yard punt by Trey Franks.
The Buckeyes managed to get the ball down to the Mustangs' 28-yard line before three straight incomplete passes brought up a big decision on 4th down and 10. After a Gilmer time-out, Godfrey fired a perfect strike to Prentiss Bell, who beat his defender to the inside and ran into the end zone for a touchdown and 21-3 lead with 5:10 remaining in the first half.
Another impressive three-and-out effort by the Buckeyes' defense forced a punt from the Mustangs' 36-yard line, but this time Franks made up for his poor punt on his first attempt, booming a 61-yard punt that rolled to the Gilmer 3-yard line.
The Buckeyes were unable to dig out of that hole, gaining only 8 yards and punting the ball back to the Mustangs, who took possession at their own 47-yard line.
Two big passes from Hypolite to James Haynes and Franks put the Mustangs inside the Buckeyes' 10-yard line, where Hypolite ran it in for a touchdown from 9 yards out with 1:37 to play in the first half. An illegal motion penalty against the Mustangs pushed the extra point attempt back five yards and proved costly as Sparrow's kick sailed wide right to make the score 21-9.
After a 41-yard return by Braylon Webb on the ensuing kickoff, the Buckeyes took advantage of their starting field position at the Mustangs' 42-yard line. Godfrey hit Jones on a quick out to the right side, and the senior receiver made two defenders miss and ran down the sidelines before he was knocked out at the 3-yard line. On the next play, Godfrey connected with Tristan Holt for the touchdown, and a 28-9 lead with 1:17 left in the half.
Any chance of the Mustangs matching the Buckeyes' quick strike before halftime were thwarted when Beecham sacked Hypolite with a crushing hit that knocked the ball loose and forced the senior quarterback to the sideline before the Mustangs allowed the clock to expire without taking another snap.
Gilmer came out in the second half weary of another comeback attempt like Mexia's 29-point explosion last week, and the Mustangs didn't disappoint.
On Gilmer's first snap from scrimmage, Godfrey completed a pass to Holt, who burst into Mustang territory before fumbling the ball away to the Mustangs at their 38-yard line. Six plays later, the Buckeyes' Luis Castro sacked Hypolite on fourth down, returning the football to the Buckeyes at their own 45-yard line.
Gilmer's offense could not take advantage of the field position, punting the ball back to the Mustangs who took possession at their own 16-yard line.
On the next play, Hypolite hit a streaking Josh Gloston for a 75-yard gain down to the Buckeyes' 9-yard line. Quintavious Garrett ran it in on the next play. Sparrow's extra-point kick was blocked by the Buckeyes to make the score 28-15 with 8:24 to go in the third quarter.
Gilmer's offense stalled again on their next possession, gaining only 2 yards on 3 plays before punting the ball to the Mustangs' Franks, who returned it 47 yards to the Buckeyes' 14-yard line.
Four plays later, Garrett scored on a 2-yard run with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter. Gloston then took a reverse around left end for the two-point conversion, cutting Gilmer's lead to just five points, 28-23.
“I really felt like we were going to win the football game,” Hooks said after closing the scoring gap.
“They could have gone away, and they never went away,” said Traylor, who added that his team remained calm during the Mustangs' run. “We never got rattled. We've been through it so much.”
The Buckeyes' showed their maturity four plays later when Godfrey pump-faked a screen pass to the right side and threw a bomb downfield to a wide-open Harrison for a 52- yard touchdown just 74 seconds after the Mustangs last score giving Gilmer a 35-23 advantage with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
“We had been running a slip screen out there the whole game, we knew they were going to over pursue that and I just found Hunter down the sideline,” said Godfrey, who completed 20 of 37 passes for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“After that we lost all the momentum and they went on and won the game,” said Hooks. “They were the better team.”
The Black Flag Defense held the Mustangs scoreless the final 18:25 of the game, with Xavier Easley and D.J. Stanley intercepting Hypolite passes to ensure that the Mustangs wouldn't do what Mexia had done a week earlier.
“Everybody knew how good they were and we respected them and I think that's why we came out and played well,” said Stanley.
Traylor knew that his team, especially his defense, would respond to the Mustangs' challenge. “I knew we were going to play well,” said Traylor. “We had a little edge tonight. They got our best shot tonight. It will be interesting to see if we can do it two weeks in a row.”
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Gilmer 7 21 7 0 35
West Orange Stark 3 6 14 14 23
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S STUMP GODFREY throws a screen pass behind good protection in early action in Lufkin Saturday. The Buckeyes depended largely on the airways as they defeated West Orange-Stark 35-23 to continue in the Class 3A Division II playoffs against Carthage Saturday night in Nacogdoches.
From KLTV Tyler:
High School Football Playoffs
From KYTX Tyler:
Lobos, Buckeyes Movin' On!
From KETK Tyler:
Longview and Gilmer Advance
From KBMT Beaumont:
HS Football Playoffs - Sat 11/29
Buckeyes Vs West Orange Stark Mustangs
WOS vs Gilmer
East Texas Football Playoffs
Buckeyes vs WOS