Courtesy Photo / KETKnbc.com
BEN GRIFFITH scores Gilmer's second TD in its win over Bullard on a 29-yard pass from Stump Godfrey.
From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:
Buckeyes Hammer Bullard, 71-0
From the Longview News-Journal:
Late Friday Football
From the Jacksonville Daily Progress:
No. 1-ranked Gilmer steamrolls Bullard
From The Gilmer Mirror:
Buckeyes blow past Bullard, 71-0
By JOE DODD
High winds from a storm that moved through Bullard Friday morning knocked over the scoreboard at the Panther’s one-year-old stadium. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the Gilmer Buckeyes’ lopsided 71-0 score was never on display to the Panther faithful.
“I thought it was a blessing,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, about the absence of a scoreboard. “I thought it helped us stay focused because we didn’t know the score.”
The Panthers were gracious hosts, giving Gilmer the football on Bullard’s side of the field for the Buckeyes first five possessions, helping Gilmer to their largest margin of victory since 1930.
“That’s a great feeling,” said Buckeyes’ quarterback Stump Godfrey. “The defense came out and played a great game. They kept us in scoring position.”
The Buckeyes’ kickoff team set the tone for the field position battle, making Bullard start each first half possession inside their own 26-yard line. Gilmer’s Black Flag Defense did the rest, holding the Panthers to -5 total yards in the first half, forcing Bullard to punt seven times from deep inside their own territory.
The Buckeyes’ offense took advantage of the short field and scored five first half touchdowns. The first score came just three plays after Paul Chesnut returned a Panthers’ punt to the Bullard 34-yard line. Stump Godfrey dumped a screen pass to Vance Green who followed his blockers untouched 25 yards into the end zone. Adan Olivares kicked the first of 7 PAT’s for a 7-0 lead with 7:25 remaining in the first quarter.
After another Chesnut punt return, this time to the Panthers’ 33-yard line, Godfrey connected with Ben Griffith two plays later on a wide receiver screen. Griffith broke two tackles, and then turned on the jets for a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 3:49 to play in the first quarter.
Chesnut’s third punt return went to the Bullard 36-yard line, but this time the Buckeyes couldn’t capitalize on the great field position. Two plays later, the Panthers’ Kirk Bryant intercepted a Godfrey pass intended for Tristan Holt, who had fallen down on the play.
After another three-and-out by Bullard’s offense, the Buckeyes took over at the Panthers’ 33-yard line. Once again, Gilmer could not take advantage of their proximity to the end zone, as the offense sputtered and turned the ball over on downs four plays later.
That would be the end of Gilmer’s offensive struggles, as the Buckeyes scored touchdowns on all seven of their remaining possessions.
After another three-and-out by Bullard, Gilmer took possession at the Panthers’ 46-yard line. Green picked up 19 yards on the first play, and then followed that with a 27-yard touchdown run. A 2-point conversion made the score 22-0 with 7:15 to go in the second quarter.
Another three-and-out by the Panthers produced a strange touchdown, as Santiago Escobar’s punt hit a Panthers’ helmet at the 30-yard line and ricocheted to midfield where Holt picked up the football and weaved through the Panthers for a touchdown and a 29-0 lead with 4:53 remaining in the half.
“That was one of the strangest plays I have ever seen,” said Traylor, who saw the number one ranked Buckeyes go to 6-0 on the season and 1-0 in district play.
Bullard’s fifth straight three-and-out gave Gilmer the football at their 44-yard line. It took the Buckeyes only three plays to cover the 56 yards, as Godfrey hit Luke Turner on a quick pass that the sophomore receiver turned into a 21-yard touchdown to make the score 36-0 at the half.
Gilmer started the second half from their 21-yard line and went 79 yards in seven plays with Godfrey lofting a perfect pass to the corner of the end zone from nine yards out for Griffith who made the catch for his second touchdown of the game.
“Ben Griffith, you can tell, is getting healthy again. It’s good to see him run around and make plays,” Traylor said about the senior receiver who missed a couple of games due to injury earlier this season.
The Panthers’ first possession of the second half resulted in a loss of a yard before another punt gave the Buckeyes the ball back at their 44-yard line. A loss on the first play and an incomplete pass pushed Gilmer back to the 28-yard line. On third down, Godfrey dumped a wide receiver screen pass to Holt, who scooted past his blockers and ran 72 yards untouched for a touchdown. A low snap on the extra point attempt put Braylon Webb on the run and into the end zone for another two points and a 51-0 lead.
Bullard’s eighth straight three-and-out series gave the football back to the Buckeyes at the Panthers’ 38-yard line after a 25-yard punt return by Holt.
A 28-yard run by Jeremy Jackson and a 5-yard penalty on the Panthers’ defense moved the football down to the 5-yard line where Godfrey threw his career-best sixth touchdown pass of the game to Daniel McLaren for a 58-0 lead before leaving the game in the third quarter.
“He’s put a lot of work in, so I’m happy for him,” said Traylor about Godfrey’s achievement. Godfrey finished with 267 yards, completing 13 of 18 passes.
The Panthers’ offense finally showed a spark of life late in the third quarter when Marquez Franklin connected with Brandon Beavers on a 66-yard pass down to the Gilmer 7-yard line. But that would be the only bright spot for Bullard as the Buckeyes kept the Panthers out of the end zone to ensure their first shutout since beating Diboll 54-0 last season in the first round of the playoffs.
“The shutout was a real plus for us. It’s something we’ve been working toward all year and we finally got it,” said senior linebacker Mikey Wilson who led the Buckeyes with eight tackles and a sack.
With the football at their own 3-yard line, Gilmer back-up quarterback Luke Turner led the Buckeyes on an 8-play, 97-yard scoring drive culminated by a 36-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Godfrey, who broke three Panthers’ tackles on his way to the end zone and a 64-0 lead after a missed extra point attempt.
Three plays later, Gilmer’s Darrion Pollard ended Bullard’s next possession when he intercepted a Franklin pass at his own 45-yard line and returned it 27 yards to the Panthers’ 28-yard line.
The Buckeyes’ Kedon Franklin added the exclamation point to the victory with a bruising touchdown run on the next play.
“The coaches challenged us and we came out and delivered,” said Godfrey, who helped lead the offense to 514 total yards on only 40 plays.
“I think we did pretty well,” confirmed Griffith. “Everybody picked one thing that they could work on and that’s what we did.”
“We worked on the little things. For the defense, it was being more physical and tonight we were more physical,” said Wilson, about the Buckeyes’ defense that held Bullard to -7 rushing yards on 34 carries and 77 total yards for the game.
“We played well,” summed up Traylor. “Our kids were focused and they were pretty crisp and clean, so I was happy.”
20 First downs 4
19-211 Rushes-yds 34-(-7)
14-22-1-0 Passing 4-14-0-1
303 Passing yds 84
514 Total yds 77
0 Fumbles lost 0
1-10 Penalties-yds 4-18
SCORE BY QUARTERS
1 2 3 4 T
Gilmer 14 22 22 13 71
Bullard 0 0 0 0 0
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
VANCE GREEN of the top-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes motors downfield toward the end zone again during Gilmer’s District 17-3A opener at Panther Stadium in Bullard last Friday night. The Buckeyes routed the Panthers, 71-0. Friday night Gilmer (6-0; 1-0) returns home to play Chapel Hill (3-3; 0-1). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Buckeye Stadium.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
LUKE TURNER breaks a tackle and continues on downfield during the Buckeyes’ 71-0 win over Bullard there last Friday night. The sophomore played the first three quarters at receiver and then came in at QB during the fourth quarter to give starter Stump Godfrey a break. But it didn’t really give the Bullard Panthers a break as Turner led Gilmer to two more TDs.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
TEVIN GODFREY breaks another tackle en route to the ninth Buckeye touchdown. The pass play covered 36 yards. The 71-0 score comprised the largest Gilmer margin of victory since 1930.
Gilmer's Godfrey approaching history too
The Second Season (1:15 in)
From KLTV's Red Zone (1:25 in):
Abby Eden and #1 Gilmer, Coach Jeff Traylor Visits Overtime