Saturday, December 27, 2008

Buckeyes' student-athletes honored


Six Gilmer football players were named to the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) Academic All-State Team for the 2008 season. The team is selected by a point system that awards points for GPA, class rank and ACT or SAT score.

Seniors Adam Martin and Jared Harborth were named to the Elite Team, representing the highest point total that can be achieved. To earn Elite team status, a student-athlete must have a GPA of 92 or above through his high school career, be a member of the team in good standing, and be of good moral character.

Senior Hunter Harrison was named to the 2nd Team, while seniors Tyrone Fort, Hayden Holmes, and D.J. Stanley received Honorable Mention.

“This is really what high school sports is supposed to be about,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “It's just a great testament to how many hours those kids practiced and still studied and kept their grades up. For us to have that many kids on the team is a great reflection of what kind of parents they have.”

In addition to the six Buckeyes named to the THSCA All-State Team, twenty-two Buckeye football players were named to the District 17-3A Academic Team for maintaining GPA's above 90 during football season. Jordan Abron, Ty Barr, Beau Blair, Michael Boddie, Aaron Borens, Cory Davis, Xavier Easley, Tyrone Fort, Ben Griffith, Jared Harborth, Hunter Harrison, Hayden Holmes, Jason Humphrey, Adam Martin, Daniel McClaren, Jordan McCraven, Adan Olivares, D.J. Stanley, Josh Thompson, Luke Turner, Braylon Webb, and Mikey Wilson.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Five Buckeyes named to All-State team


Gilmer senior offensive lineman Dakota Hagler earned first team honors in the Associated Press Sports Editors Class 3A All-State Team released this week. Four other Buckeyes received honorable mention accolades.

Hagler helped the Buckeyes to a 12-2 record this season, leading Gilmer with 110 pancake blocks, while grading out at 95 percent on his blocking assignments.

“I was happy for Dakota,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. “It’s a great honor for him, it is well deserved.”

Hagler started on the offensive line as a sophomore before switching to the defensive line his junior year. Coaches then asked Hagler to move back to the offensive line his senior season.

“He’s just a very unselfish team player. He’s always played wherever we needed him to go. He’d much rather play defense, but he just did what was best for the team. He was a team captain and had a great career at Gilmer.”

Honorable mention nods went to senior defensive lineman Jonathan Rockwell, junior quarterback Stump Godfrey, junior linebacker Mikey Wilson and junior defensive back Braylon Webb.

“Rockwell was probably the anchor of our defense. He drew a double team every time. So I was excited for him,” said Traylor. “The other three all started as sophomores and had another good year this year.”

District 17-3A rival Chapel Hill had three players honored. Running back Matthew Tucker, who finished the season with 2,727 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns, was named the offensive player of the year.

Chapel Hill’s Kendrick Robinson was named to the second team offensive line, while defensive back Laramie Lee was named honorable mention.

Gladewater defensive back Terence Leach was named honorable mention.

Carthage, who ended the Buckeyes’ season in the Region III final, placed running back Dwight Smith on the first team, defensive lineman Deshun Williams on the second team, and quarterback Si’Darius Blackshire was an honorable mention.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
DAKOTA HAGLER was named to the Associated Press' Class 3A All-State team.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Buckeyes dominate 17-3A All-District team


The Gilmer Buckeyes placed 29 players on the District 17-3A All-District team released this week. Stump Godfrey, Mikey Wilson and Gus Osborne received superlative honors, while 17 Buckeyes made the first team and nine more made the second team. Six other Gilmer players were named honorable mention.

“When 35 of your kids get some kind of recognition, that's one heck of a year,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who was honored as Coach of the Year along with his staff.

Godfrey, the Buckeyes' junior quarterback, shared district MVP honors with Chapel Hill running back Matthew Tucker. Godfrey passed for 2,883 yards and 34 touchdowns, while running for 885 yards and 18 touchdowns in leading the Buckeyes to a 12-2 record.

Wilson, a junior linebacker, was named co-defensive MVP with Chapel Hill nose guard Kadarius Reeder. Wilson had 144 tackles for the Buckeyes and led the team in turnovers, collecting four interceptions and three fumble recoveries, to help the Buckeyes' Black Flag Defense hold district opponents to 9.4 points per game.

Osborne, a sophomore defensive end, was named the newcomer of the year on defense after racking up 77 tackles, 18 quarterback pressures, 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Bullard quarterback Charlie Moore was named the district's offensive MVP, while B.J. Allen and Corey Davis of Gladewater were named as co-newcomers of the year on offense.

“I was a little disappointed with the superlatives, to be honest. I thought our play in district was evidence that we should have had more kids with superlatives,” said Traylor. “But I do understand there were a lot of great players in our district this year. Matthew Tucker is a big-time division one player. Charlie Moore is a big-time division one player.”

Gilmer placed nine players on the first team offense, thanks to an offensive unit that rolled up 6,515 yards in 14 games.

Junior running back Jeremy Jackson was named to the first team after rushing for 1,002 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 115 carries. Jackson also had 144 yards and three touchdowns on 12 receptions.

Senior receivers Zack Jones, Hunter Harrison and Prentiss Bell all received first team honors. Jones had 27 catches for 499 yards and four touchdowns. Harrison had 368 yards and four touchdowns on only 19 receptions, while Bell caught 28 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns.

Senior Dakota Hagler joined juniors Beau Blair and Jacob Jenkins on the offensive line.

Sophomore Adan Olivares received first team kicker honors.

On defense, the Buckeyes placed nine more players on the first team.

Senior Jonathon Rockwell's 90 tackles and junior Luis Castro's 87 tackles, four sacks and 13 quarterback pressures placed both on the first team defensive line.

Juniors Marlon Granville and Vance Green were honored for their play from the linebacker position. Granville had 100 tackles, while Green led the team with 159 tackles.

Juniors Tristan Holt, Paul Chesnut and Braylon Webb joined together in the first team secondary. Holt had 35 tackles and three interceptions from his cornerback position. Strong safety Chesnut led the team with five interceptions, while making 82 tackles. Webb contributed 68 tackles, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries as the Buckeyes' strong safety.

Gilmer senior D.J. Stanley was named to the defensive first team as a utility player, while freshman Luke Turner was recognized for his outstanding special teams play.

Following the Buckeyes' 29 All-District selections were Chapel Hill and Tatum with 15 selections each. Gladewater and Spring Hill each had 12 players named, while Bullard placed nine players on the team.

Buckeyes making the second team included:

Josh Thompson (Sr.), RB; Kedon Franklin (Jr.), Daniel McLaren (Jr.), REC; Caleb Denton (Jr.), Jared Harborth (Sr), OL; Luke Turner (Fr.), P; Jacob Ramsey (Sr.), Hayden Holmes (Sr.), DL; J.T. Beecham (Jr.), ILB.

Honorable Mention list included the following Buckeyes: Tevin Godfrey, Tyrone Fort, Dustin Hardin, Michael Boddie, Joseph Crocker and Xavier Easley.


GUS OSBORNE ... Defensive Newcomer of the Year

MIKEY WILSON ... Co-Defensive MVP

From the Longview News-Journal:

Smith, Hagler on Class 3A first team

From The Gilmer Mirror:

Great season
Buckeyes exceed expectations

The Carthage Bulldogs edged out the Gilmer Buckeyes, 31-28, last Saturday night in Nacogoches to win Region III in Class 3A Division II. Congratulations to them as they move on to play the Giddings Buffaloes in Corsicana Saturday night.

The Buckeyes came into this season with only their quarterback, the indomitable Darian “Stump” Godfrey, returning as a starter on offense. And just a handful of starters returned on defense.

However, most of us knew better than to call this a “rebuilding” year. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Gilmer doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. That’s been true all through the 2000s.

Head Coach Jeff Traylor and his staff took the young, relatively inexperienced team which began practice in August and led them four rounds deep into the playoffs.

What is most commendable, though, is not the winning tradition of the Buckeyes, but the class and sportsmanship these players ALWAYS display before, during and after their hard-fought games.

The young athletes have learned their lessons well that the games are a microcosm of life itself. You don’t always win in either one and it is how you deal with the inevitable adversity in the “four quarters” of the games of both football and life that molds your character more than when the wins come easy.

Many of the Gilmer fans who come together as a community week after week to go watch and support the Buckeyes are well past “halftime” of their own lives. It also perhaps could be said of many of us that we are “behind at the half.” It is inspiring, then, to see the kind of “never-say-die” attitude that the Buckeyes displayed in the second half at Homer Bryce Stadium. The Buckeyes never give up. And they will be back ... again ... and again ... and again.

And your Army of Buckeyes will be there with you ... “in fair or foul weather.” You already know the words to the song if you’re from Gilmer. It won’t take long before you do, if you’re not. Around here no one would think it weird even if they heard a group of carolers singing it at this time of the year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Retiring Football Coach Epitomizes Best of America

Don't anyone get alarmed at the headline. This isn't about Coach Jeff Traylor. We can only hope that a similar story will be written about him in the year 2050 or so.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Carthage 31, Gilmer 28

From the Longview News-Journal:

Bulldogs outduel Buckeyes in playoff showdown

Final - Carthage 31, Gilmer 28

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

Carthage Holds Off Late Gilmer Rally

From The Gilmer Mirror:

Carthage ends Buckeyes' season in 31-28 thriller


Carthage Bulldogs' running back Dwight Smith ran over and around the Gilmer Buckeyes for 217 yards and three touchdowns, as the Bulldogs ended the Buckeyes' season with a 31-28 win in the Class 3A Division II Region III Final Saturday night at Homer Bryce Stadium on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

“It was just a great game between two teams and they just happened to win tonight,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who led his team to a 12-2 record this season.

Before an estimated 12,000 fans, Smith led the Bulldogs to a commanding 17-point halftime lead over the Buckeyes, then scored the final Bulldogs' touchdown to help hold off a furious Buckeyes' rally in the second half.

Despite entering the game as the state's two top scoring teams, both offenses struggled early. Gilmer's first three possessions ended in three-and-out punts, while Carthage's first two possessions ended in a punt and an interception.

The Buckeyes received the opening kick and managed only eight yards before Luke Turner's punt gave the football to the Bulldogs at the Carthage 37-yard line.

Three plays later, the Buckeyes got a glimpse of what was to come, as Smith blasted through the line from the Gilmer 45-yard line, ran over a defender and scored an apparent touchdown. A holding penalty negated the score, and the Bulldogs were forced to punt four plays later.

The Buckeyes’ second possession wasn't much better than their first; this time gaining nine yards before punting to the Bulldogs' Jalen Claiborne, who returned the punt 10 yards to the Gilmer 45-yard line.

Three plays later, Buckeyes' safety Paul Chesnut intercepted a Si'Darius Blackshire pass at his own 5-yard line and returned it to the Gilmer 25-yard line.

The Buckeyes' offense continued to struggle, as Turner punted again after Gilmer gained only a yard on three plays.

Carthage took possession at their own 34-yard line and on the first snap, Smith broke through the middle of the field, untouched for a 66-yard touchdown with 3:55 to play in the opening quarter. Chris Dickerson kicked the first of four extra points, as Carthage took a 7-0 lead over the Buckeyes.

Gilmer's offense responded with a 6-play, 70-yard drive highlighted by a 47-yard pass from Stump Godfrey to Tristan Holt. Godfrey scored from a yard out, and Adan Olivares kicked the first of four extra points, as the Buckeyes evened the score at 7-7 with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.

The second quarter was all Carthage.

The Bulldogs next possession was an 11-play drive covering 69 yards that took 3:57 off the clock and ended with a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Blackshire for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 9:17 to go in the second quarter.

Gilmer's next series was a disaster, as the Buckeyes lost four yards on three plays before punting to the Bulldogs.

Carthage's next series ate up 4:55 off the clock as the Bulldogs took 13 plays to go 58 yards before Smith scored on a 2-yard run with 3:26 left in the second quarter to push Carthage's lead to 21-7.

The Buckeyes responded with a drive down to the Bulldogs' 31-yard line before Godfrey was intercepted by the Bulldogs' Cardarius Patterson, giving the ball back to Carthage at the Bulldogs' 8-yard line with only 1:37 to play in the first half.

A 15-yard penalty against the Buckeyes and four big pass completions by Blackshire put the Bulldogs deep into Gilmer territory before the Buckeyes' defense stiffened and forced a 4th and 12 from the 20-yard line with 22 seconds left in the half. Despite struggling on all three extra point kicks, Carthage decided to attempt a 37-yard field goal, and Dickerson rewarded his coach's faith by nailing the field goal for a 24-7 lead at the half.

Traylor said the Buckeyes didn't panic at halftime. “We just made some adjustments that we thought might help in the second half,” Traylor said. “The kids believed in them and went out there and pulled them off.”

The momentum shifted on the second play of the second half when Chesnut picked off Blackshire for the second time, corralling a tipped ball at the Buckeyes' 30-yard line.

Godfrey promptly led the Buckeyes' offense down the field with a spectacular 38-yard run before hitting Kedon Franklin on a 6-yard touchdown pass to make the score 24-14 with 9:27 to play in the third quarter.

Carthage responded with an 8-play, 70-yard drive that took almost four minutes before Smith would score his third touchdown of the game from three yards out to regain the Bulldogs' 17-point advantage with 5:37 remaining in the third quarter.

The two teams traded punts on the next two series, but Gilmer's Tristan Holt fumbled the return back to the Bulldogs deep in Carthage territory at the Bulldogs' 35-yard line. On the very next play the Buckeyes got the football back when Gilmer's Vance Green stripped the football away from Smith and recovered the fumble at the Bulldogs' 40-yard line.

The Buckeyes didn't waste the opportunity, scoring just 55 seconds later when Godfrey hit Zack Jones for a 10-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left in the third quarter, to make the score 31-21.

Carthage replied with another time-consuming drive to the Buckeyes' 5-yard line before Holt made a spectacular one-handed interception in the back corner of the end zone to stop the Bulldogs' scoring threat with 8:45 left in the fourth quarter.

Inspired by the gift from the Black Flag Defense, Gilmer's offense went the 80 yards in 8 plays, thanks in part to a great 34-yard pass and catch from Godfrey to Hunter Harrison on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Godfrey scored on a quarterback keeper from a yard out two plays later to make the score 31-28 with 5:58 to play in the game.

Clinging to a 3-point lead, the Bulldogs took advantage of their huge offensive line and tried to run out the clock, running the football on 10 consecutive plays, eating 4:39 off the clock before both Gilmer and Carthage took timeouts before a crucial fourth down and two from the Gilmer 17-yard line.

Once the two teams lined up for the play that would decide the game, an amazing thing happened according to Traylor. “The greatest thing I've ever seen in sports since I've been coaching was on fourth down when all of our kids stuck their hands out and shook their hands right before the play started. I thought that was the epitome of what sports is about.”

With no chance of stopping the clock if the Bulldogs got the first down, the Black Flag Defense came up with one of their most spectacular stops of the season when Smith was stopped a yard short of the first down marker.

“There is no way we should have stopped those guys on fourth down and two,” admitted Traylor. “They were just so much physically bigger. I'm just so proud of my kids.”

Armed with the football at their own 16-yard line with 1:14 left to play, Godfrey looked determined to lead the Buckeyes to a field goal to send the game into overtime. Godfrey hit Harrison for 11 yards, then ran for another seven yards to the 34-yard line. But on the next play, Godfrey's pass was intercepted by the Bulldogs' Cortlyn Ware at the 45-yard line and returned to the Gilmer 5-yard line before being knocked out of bounds with 36 seconds to play.

Blackshire took a knee to end the game before a stunned Buckeyes team. “We started driving and it looked like we were going to get a field goal and get to go to overtime and that didn't happen. So our kids got a small sampling of the highs of life and the lows of life in about a one minute span,” Traylor said.

“We could have shut down so many times, but our kids just wouldn't go away,” said Traylor. “That's a credit to their parents, our community, and our program. I've never been prouder to be the head coach of the Gilmer Buckeyes than I am right now just because of their effort in the second half.”


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S PAUL CHESNUT (11) returns the first of his two interceptions last Saturday night during the Gilmer Buckeyes’ Class 3A Division II Region III Final against the Carthage Bulldogs at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
BUCKEYES CLOSE in on Carthage’s Dwight Smith (22) as they hold the back on fourth and two to take possession of the ball one more time in the quarterfinal game at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S STUMP GODFREY takes aim at Carthage’s Kyle Deaton as he drives to a tying score in first quarter action last Saturday night.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
TRISTAN HOLT celebrates with Darian “Stump” Godfrey (10) after Holt had intercepted yet another Carthage pass. Other Buckeyes in the photo are Vance Green (8), Braylon Webb (6), Marlon Granville (20) and D.J. Stanley (12). Carthage survived a furious rally by the Buckeyes in the second half to edge out Gilmer, 31-28. The Buckeyes finished the season with a 12-2 record after winning their district in undefeated fashion for the eighth consecutive year and then three playoff games. The Gilmer Buckeyes under the leadership of Head Coach Jeff Traylor and his staff are now 97-17 since 2000 and most of the young 2008 team will be back next season to take up where this one left off.


Buckeyes vs Carthage

Buckeyes vs Carthage Bulldogs

East Texas Football - Regional Finals - Dec. 6, 2008

Buckeyes face Carthage in Region III Final


Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor knows offensive football. His 2006 team set a class 3A state record by averaging 53.6 points per game. His 2007 team scored a school record 701 points. His 2008 team has scored more points than any other team in Class 3A. Since 2003, Traylor's Buckeyes have averaged more than 456 total yards per game.
So when Traylor says, “Carthage is the best offensive team we've ever played.” Buckeye fans should be worried. “We have not played any team this good on offense, ever,” said Traylor of the Bulldogs, who have scored the second most points in Class 3A this season.

“Coming from Coach Traylor, that means a lot,” said Carthage head coach Scott Surratt, who has guided the Bulldogs to an impressive 20-5 record in just his second season.
Surratt knows a thing or two about offensive football himself, having served as Texas High's offensive coordinator from 1999 through 2006; winning eight consecutive district championships and a Class 4A state championship before taking the reins at Carthage last season.

The Bulldogs' offense has drawn comparisons to Gilmer's offenses of 2006 and 2007. “They did have a special offense last year,” Surratt said. “And if people compare us to them, that's a compliment to us.”

For Gilmer fans, the comparisons are daunting. “I would say their quarterback (Si'Darius Blackshire) would be comparable to how good Stump will be next year,” said Traylor. “Their tailback (Dwight Smith) would be comparable to Justin Johnson. I would compare Curtis Brown to number 19 (receiver Jarvin Robinson). We've never had a receiver like number 13 (Joe Jones), and their right guard (Cutter Clinton) would compare to David Snow or Daniel Jenkins.”

Blackshire (6-1, 215) has passed for 2,369 yards and 35 touchdowns this season, while throwing only four interceptions in 219 attempts. “It starts with their quarterback,” said Traylor. “He is quite arguably one of the top quarterbacks in Texas.”

Blackshire led the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record last season, throwing for 2,600 yards and 32 touchdowns before losing in the second round to eventual state champion Liberty Hill.

Surratt believes that if senior running back Dwight Smith (6-1, 225) had been with the Bulldogs last season, things might have been different. “We feel like we could have made more of a run at it with him last year,” said Surratt.

Hard to argue, considering Smith has rushed for 2,029 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.

“He went to school here all the way through his sophomore year,” explained Surratt. “His dad lives in California and he moved out there for one year and he came back and wanted to graduate with his best friends.”

Traylor said Smith is, “One of the best tailbacks in the state of Texas.”

Receiver Joe Jones (6-2, 220) leads the Bulldogs with 50 catches for 792 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Jarvin Robinson (5-9, 165) has 522 yards and 7 touchdowns on only 19 catches. “They're the best receivers we've ever played against,” stated Traylor.

“They have three kids that can score every time they touch it,” said Traylor, who gave much of the credit to the Bulldogs'offensive line which averages over 250 pounds per man. “All the offensive linemen are good. They are very well coached.”

Traylor said the Bulldogs compare well with the Buckeyes on the other side of the ball as well. “Defensively you don't hear about them as much because they score so much.”

The Carthage defense has allowed 231 total yards per game, while giving up an average of only 15.6 points per game behind the play of linebackers Caleb Pope (5-10, 210) and Kyle Deaton (5-9, 185). Pope leads the Bulldogs with 120 tackles, while Deaton has recorded 111 stops on the season.

Traylor said the Bulldogs' defense centers around their man over the center; defensive tackle DeShun Williams (6-0, 270) who has 86 tackles and a team high 6 sacks. “I think DeShun Williams is a big time division one defensive tackle,” Traylor said.

While most of the pre-game talk has focused on the two teams' similarities; experience is the one thing the two teams do not share. This will be the Buckeyes fourth appearance in the regional finals in the past six years, while the Bulldogs haven't been this deep in the playoffs since 1991.

“I don't think experience is that big a deal,” said Surratt. “I don't think it means that much because a lot of Gilmer's players are gone from last year. I don't think with this group of kids, we're going to be intimidated.”

Surratt believes the Bulldogs' schedule has prepared them for this opportunity. “Our pre-district schedule was very tough. We played four 4A teams and Atlanta. We came through it pretty good and I think we got better and better. I think we're ready for a big game, no question.”

The Buckeyes are coming off a big game last week where Gilmer dominated the West Orange Stark Mustangs 35-23 to advance to meet Carthage. But the Buckeyes paid a price for the victory. “I don't know what we've got left in our tank,” said Traylor. “We're really beat up.”

But Traylor knows that is normal for this time of year. “I say it all the time, healthy teams don't win championships. Tough teams do,” Traylor said.
That attitude has rubbed off on Gilmer linebacker Vance Green. “We've got bumps and bruises, but we're Buckeyes; we can play through anything,” said Green, who has prepared for the Bulldogs since the start of the season. “We kind of figured that we'd probably be meeting Carthage later on in the playoffs, so we've been getting ready for it.”

Surratt claims that Carthage anticipated this showdown with Gilmer. “We felt like for sure they would be there,” Surratt said. “We took care of our business and they took care of theirs, so we've got the matchup most of East Texas wanted.”

“We are trying to make a name for ourselves,” Surratt said. “We're the new kids on the block and we're trying to get to where they are and the only way we can do that is to win Saturday.”

Traylor knows that his Buckeyes face an enormous challenge. “They're the real deal. They are the best team we've seen. The most complete team. The best coached team. The most talented team,” said Traylor, who admits the Buckeyes don't look like the same team of the past two years.

“They're going to look at our kids and say they're not that impressive,” Traylor said. “But when they play; they play.”

Game Notes
• Gilmer and Carthage have met 6 times and have split the games 3-3, with the Buckeyes winning the most recent game in 1999.
• Gilmer and Carthage faced four common opponents this season, with both teams going 3-1 with their only loss against Kilgore.
• Carthage running back Dwight Smith needs 141 rushing yards to break Kris Briggs' single-season school record of 2,169 yards set in 1998.

Tonight’s game will be webcast as always via Mineola’s KMOO 99.9 FM will also broadcast the game live on the radio and via their Web site at beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
GILMER’S GUS OSBORNE battles West Orange-Stark’s Josh Gloston after Mustang QB Ortavious Hypolite had fumbled during the Buckeyes’ 35-23 win in Lufkin last Saturday. Osborne emerged with the football.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
BLACK FLAG TEAMMATES Mikey Wilson, left, and Paul Chesnut, right, congratulate D.J. Stanley on his key interception with just 2:20 remaining in the Gilmer-WOS regional playoff game in Lufkin. Stanley’s interception thwarted a late Mustang attempt to score.

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
PART OF the crowd at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin last Saturday. The Gilmer fans will be out en masse again tonight at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches, with many of them arriving before sundown.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gilmer vs Carthage

From the Houston Chronicle:

Bellville falls to Giddings in Division II Region IV final

From the Austin American-Statesman:

Berry is Giddings' shoelace ace in win over Bellville

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

Gilmer, Carthage Face Off

From the Longview News-Journal:

Buckeyes, Bulldogs at a glance

From KETK Tyler:

Gilmer QB has them Stumped
Darian 'Stump' Godfrey Wins and Wins

From KYTX Tyler:

Longview, Gilmer Will Have Their Hands Full in State Quarters

From Dave Campbell's TEXAS FOOTBALL:

Class 3A Round Four Games to Watch

Gilmer/Carthage prediction from

From KLTV Tyler:

Buckeyes meeting high expectations again

From the Panola Watchman:

3A game of the year approaches

Bulldogs crush the Tigers dreams

Sports Snapshots

From The Gilmer Mirror:

Buckeyes face Bulldogs at SFA

Listen Live
Saturday night
Dec. 6

The Gilmer Buckeyes (12-1) will take on the Carthage Bulldogs (11-2) in the Class 3A Division II Region III Final (aka state quarterfinal round) on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Nacogdoches.

The Buckeyes return to the familiar confines of Homer Bryce Stadium on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, site of the most glorious triumph in the program’s history, the 49-47 win over Jasper in 2004 to secure the state championship.
It is also the alma mater of their head coach, Jeff Traylor.

The team’s most recent trip to SFA was also successful, a 35-28 win over Mabank in the second round of last year’s run to the Division I title game.

The Carthage Bulldogs have not played the Gilmer Buckeyes in the 2000s, but immediately before that, the teams faced off for four consecutive seasons.

In 1996 and 1997, the schools were both members of District 16-4A. Gilmer, although it had one of the smallest enrollments in 4A, handled Carthage both years, 10-0 and 35-28.
Gilmer then went back down to Class 3A and the teams split the next two years as pre-district opponents, Carthage gaining the upper hand, 35-7 in 1998, followed by Gilmer coming back in 1999 to notch a 21-0 shutout victory.

Carthage eventually followed the Buckeyes down into 3A.

Carthage had 151 athletes report for workouts in grades 9-12 in August. Head Coach Scott Surratt numbered among them six returning starters on offense and two on defense.
The offense is guided by QB Si’Darius Blackshire, who has passed for a school-record 35 touchdowns this season, breaking his own record set last year of 33 scoring passes.
He looks to Dwight Smith at TB and Trevor Murphy at TE as weapons to utilize along with WRs Joe Jones and Jarvin Robinson.

Smith is the biggest threat, having rushed for 2,027 yards. He needs 142 more to tie Kris Briggs’ single-season school record of 2,169 yards (1998).

Smith is sometimes compared to Chapel Hill’s Matthew Tucker, whom the Black Flag Defense of the Buckeyes held to only 155 yards on 32 carries on his home turf in October, more than 100 yards below his average per game.

Don’t expect “Freight Train” Smith to carry the freight that many times, though. Unlike Chapel Hill, Carthage has a potent passing attack to complement Smith’s ground game. Just look at the record-setting Blackshire for proof of that.

Coach Surratt, 41, former offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Texarkana, is in his second year at the helm in Carthage. Last season the Bulldogs finished 9-3, bowing out in the second round to Liberty Hill, 41-14, a team the Buckeyes would meet three weeks later in Waco.

Carthage, which won the District 18-3A title, opened its season against the only team to beat the Buckeyes this year, the Kilgore Bulldogs.

Carthage lost to them also, 33-20, very similar to the 28-14 margin of the Gilmer-Kilgore matchup a few weeks later.

Carthage’s only other loss came to Class 4A Nacogdoches, 21-18.

Other common opponents are Diboll, which lost 54-0 to Gilmer and 62-28 to Carthage; and Jasper, which lost 56-28 to Gilmer and 56-21 to Carthage.

In bi-district, Carthage destroyed Tatum in Carthage, 62-20, a week after Gilmer had done so in Tatum, 48-14.

When it disposed of Lorena 49-14 in the second round in Mansfield, Carthage recorded its first 10-win season since 1991 when the Bulldogs went 15-0 before falling to A&M Consolidated in the Class 4A state championship game.

Then last Friday night in Corsicana, the Bulldogs mauled the Rockdale Tigers, 55-28.
Smith carried 14 times in that game for 192 yards and four touchdowns. The previous week against Lorena he carried only nine times, but gained 217 yards.

“We came out and played (with) a little deer-in-the-headlights look,” Rockdale coach Jeff Miller said. “(We had) just no breaks and mistakes against a really, really good football team — hands-down, the best one we’ve seen this year.”

Carthage is the home team this weekend, so it is probably safe to say that there will be an overflow from the packed stands onto the grass on the visitors’ side of the field, just as there was back in 2004 at the Jasper game.

There are six other teams left in Class 3A Division II.

The winner of the Gilmer-Carthage game will be in a semifinal game against the winner of Friday night’s Region IV title game in The Woodlands between Bellville (12-1) and Giddings (10-3), two teams from the same district.

On the other side of the bracket, Liberty Hill (13-0), sporting a 37-game winning streak, plays Bridgeport (12-0) Saturday night in Waco in the Region I title game while Celina (10-3) plays Kaufman (10-3) in Royse City on Friday night to decide the champion of Region II.

For ticket information, call the Buckeye Ticket Line at 903-841-7777. Directions to Homer Bryce Stadium are available at A map will also be at

Coming in Saturday’s Mirror:
Joe Dodd breaks down Saturday night’s game with Coaches Traylor and Surratt.

Bounty Hunter of the Week: Marlon Granville
Special Teams Player of the Week: Luke Turner
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Trey Webb
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week: Devonte Brooks

Saturday night’s game will be webcast as always via

Mineola’s KMOO 99.9 FM will also broadcast the game live on the radio and Internet. See Saturday’s Mirror for more details on both audio and video, live and delayed, of the game.

From Maxpreps:

Carthage vs. Gilmer Game Matchup

From the Longview News-Journal:

'Dogs smash Rockdale

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:

Carthage steamrolls Lorena, 49-14

From the Longview News-Journal:

Carthage cruises past Tatum

From FootballPower:

Gilmer Buckeyes (12-1)
Texas PowerRating


Region III
#1 Gilmer (12-1) vs. #2 Carthage (11-2)
(7:30 p.m., Saturday, Homer Bryce Stadium, SFASU, Nacogdoches)
BuckinFootball projection: Gilmer by 1

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Homer Bryce Stadium

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