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By JOE DODD
When the Gilmer Buckeyes and Cuero Gobblers meet Saturday at 6 p.m. in Bowers Stadium on the campus of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, it will be a showdown between two of Texas’ most-successful high
school football programs.
Cuero has won 645 games in its history, while Gilmer has 569 wins as a program. The Gobblers have recorded 10 trips to the state finals, winning three championships. The Buckeyes have three state final appearances and one championship.
Since the 2000 season, Gilmer is 110-17 while Cuero is 104-22. The Buckeyes have a 20-7 playoff record in that time period, while the Gobblers have gone 20-8 in playoff games.
Gilmer has won 44 consecutive district games, while Cuero has recorded 33 straight district wins. The Buckeyes’ home winning streak stands at 34, just ahead of the Gobblers’ 33-game home streak.
Gilmer has lost to the eventual state champions four out of the past six years, including three times in a row. Cuero has lost in the semifinals three of the past five years, including two years in a row.
This is a matchup featuring the two best programs in Class 3A this decade; two programs that are tired of runner-up finishes.
“Since 2003 we’ve either been the state champion or lost to the state champion five out of six years. The secret to winning it is always being around it,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor.
Cuero head coach Mark Reeve agreed with Traylor. “I think both teams have been fortunate. I think consistency is the key to a good program. Both teams have been able to knock on that door. We’ve been to the semifinals five of the last six years, and we’ve made it once to the championship game in 2004,” said Reeve, whose team lost to Abilene Wylie in the Division I final, the same year Gilmer won the Division II title.
The similarities continue when you look at the Buckeyes’ and Gobblers’ 2009 teams. Both are 13-0 with high-scoring offenses and stingy defenses. Gilmer averages almost 54 points per game, while allowing less than 17 points per game. Cuero’s offense scores an average of almost 44 points per game, and allows just over 17 points.
The Buckeyes’ offense averages 464 yards per game. The Gobblers’ offense averages 442 yards per game. Gilmer’s defense allows an average of 214 yards per game. Cuero’s defense allows an average of 247 yards per game.
Both teams are led by senior quarterbacks; both 3-year starters. Stump Godfrey is 39-3 at Gilmer, while Tyler Arndt has a 36-5 record at Cuero.
“Both teams have excellent quarterbacks. Everything starts with that signal-caller and we’ve been real fortunate with ours and obviously Gilmer has too,” said Reeve. “Both teams are very sound in what they do and have a strong belief system in their offensive approach. Both teams are very balanced. Both teams can throw the football and run the football.”
“They’re as close to what we are like as anyone I’ve seen,” said Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor.
While the offensive statistics are amazingly similar, the Buckeyes and Gobblers go about it in different ways. Gilmer employs the spread offense, while Cuero’s offense is very multiple, with the Gobblers lining up in many different formations and using a lot of motion.
The Buckeyes rely more heavily on the passing game, counting on Godfrey’s arm to put them in the end zone. Godfrey has delivered 113 touchdown passes in his career, the sixth best total in Texas history.
The Gobblers are a more run-oriented team, and who could blame them with super sophomore Trent Jackson in the backfield. Jackson (6-0, 185, 4.4) burst onto the scene as a freshman last year with 1,436 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, breaking Robert Strait’s school freshman rushing record. Strait starred at Cuero from 1985-1988 and is the sixth leading rusher in Texas history.
Jackson followed up his debut season by breaking Strait’s sophomore rushing mark with 2,311 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on 257 carries.
“He’s as good a tailback as we’ve ever played against; and we’ve played against some really good ones,” praised Traylor, who listed Liberty-Eylau’s LaMichael James, now at Oregon; Chapel Hill’s Matthew Tucker, now at TCU; Carthage’s Dwight Smith, also at TCU; and Tatum’s Bryce Beall, now at Houston, as the best backs the Buckeyes have faced in the past three seasons.
Don’t let Jackson’s gaudy rushing stats deceive you; the Gobblers can throw the football too. Quarterback Tyler Arndt (6-4, 207, 4.5) has thrown for 2,184 yards and 26 touchdowns with only four interceptions this season. “He’s got a very strong arm. He’s taken us to the semifinals all three of his years at quarterback. He’s been very consistent for us,” said Reeve.
“He’s so accurate; his arm is so strong. He reminds me of Will Middlebrooks from Liberty-Eylau,” said Traylor about Arndt, who has offers from seven Division I colleges. Middlebrooks led Liberty-Eylau to the 2006 state championship, beating the Buckeyes in the first round of the playoffs.
Arndt’s main targets are wide receiver Monte Green (6-2, 165, 4.4) and tight end Tanner Hoffman (6-1, 220, 4.6) who have combined for 839 yards and nine touchdowns on 47 catches.
“They’re as good an offense as we’ve ever played against,” summed up Traylor, who is impressed with the Gobblers’ play-calling. “They’ll throw it on first down. They don’t wait until its third and 10 and everybody in the stadium knows you’re going to throw it. They mix it up. They play-action pass and run trick plays. You don’t ever know when it’s coming. They’ll run it on third and long,” said Traylor.
“Our defense has got to play way over their head. They’re going to have to play at just a totally different level,” warned Traylor, who is very concerned about matching up with the Gobblers. “With our injuries, I don’t know what we’ll be able to do,” worried Traylor.
“We need some breaks,” replied Traylor when asked what it would take to win the game. “We’re going to need some turnovers. We need to win the kicking game. Offensively we’re going to have to match them. Whatever they do, we’ve got to go match.”
Cuero’s Reeve was a little less forthcoming in his assessment of how the Gobblers could defeat the Buckeyes. ”We’ve got to have one more point on the scoreboard,” Reeve deadpanned.
That’s been difficult to do against the Buckeyes, but Traylor said that Cuero’s defense is very similar to Gilmer’s defense. “Very disciplined and well coached,” said Traylor, who noted that the Gobblers’ defense is small in size, but very fast.
For Gilmer to advance to their third state championship appearance in the past six years, Traylor insists that the Buckeyes must reach deep down and will themselves to victory. “There is only about four times a year where you can really reach that high emotional stage,” said Traylor. “We’ve done it once against Kilgore and then again against Jasper and that’s two. I’m hoping that our last two games will be the four times this year.”
Traylor encouraged Buckeyes’ fans to make the trip to Huntsville and help cheer Gilmer to victory. “Cuero’s fan support is legendary, and Coach Reeve told me that their fans will dwarf our fans,” said Traylor.
Traylor promised fans an exciting game. “It’s going to come down to whoever has the ball last in my opinion. I can’t imagine it being any other way.”
Courtesy Photo / GoBearkats.com
BOWERS STADIUM, the home of the Sam Houston State Bearkats, opened in 1986. It is located almost exactly halfway between Cuero and Gilmer. The game will be webcast as usual via www.GilmerBuckeyes.com. For those without Internet access, it will be broadcast on KYKX FM 105.7.
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
LEAVING THEIR MARK on the Gobbler at the end of the pep rally Thursday night, the Buckeyes add their greetings as “Code Red” chops down the Cuero Turkey. The semifinal game will be in Huntsville kicking off tonight at 6 p.m. The winner will play for the Class 3A Division I championship next weekend against the winner of the other semifinal, the Abilene Wylie-Lucas Lovejoy game being played in Waco starting at 7:30 p.m.
From the Longview News-Journal:
Buckeyes at a glance
From the Victoria Advocate:
Gobblers ready to face top-ranked Gilmer
From the Cuero Record:
Cuero Gobblers (13-0) vs. Gilmer Buckeyes (13-0): Division I State Semi-Final
From KETKnbc (1:00 in):
Busy Weekend for East Texas Teams
December 5- Cuero @ Bowers Stadium, Huntsville
Colors: Green & White
Record: 13-0, 5-0 District
Last meeting: This will be the first meeting between the two teams
Head Coach: Mark Reeve (84-10 in 7th season at Cuero; 189-38-4 overall)
Returning Starters: 4 Offense/1 Defense from 11-2 DI Semifinalist
Did you know? This will be Cuero’s 15th appearance in the semifinals.
Cuero Gobblers 2009 Season Results
Date Opponent Result
08/28/09 @ Beeville Jones won: 34-10 09/04/09 @ Rio Hondo won: 47-7 09/11/09 Devine won: 33-8 09/18/09 @ Bay City won: 38-10 09/25/09 La Vernia won: 41-16 10/09/09 @ Yoakum* won: 26-23 10/16/09 Palacios* won: 47-17 10/23/09 @ Goliad* won: 42-14 10/30/09 @Gonzales* won: 68-13 11/06/09 Edna* won: 48-32 11/13/09 SA Sam Houston @ Seguin won: 46-12 11/20/09 Sealy@ San Marcos won: 53-36 11/27/09 Ingleside @ San Antonio won: 47-28
Overall Record: 13-0
Total Points For: 570 Average Points For Per Game: 43.8 Total Points Against: 226 Average Points Against Per Game: 17.4
Historical Stats, Records, and Program Information
YEAR W-L COACH
2000 9-2 2001 6-4
2003 9-2 Mark Reeve
2004 14-1 Mark Reeve
2005 13-1 Mark Reeve
2006 12-1 Mark Reeve
2007 12-3 Mark Reeve
2008 11-2 Mark Reeve 2009 13-0 Mark Reeve
BY DECADES W- L-T 1911-19 31-12-2 1920-29 46-26-10 1930-39 49-40-5
Overall Record: 645-334-37 Undefeated Seasons: 5 (1914, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1994) Winless Seasons: 4 (1911, 1934, 1939, 1960) Last District Championship: 2009 State Championships: 3 (1973, 1974, 1987) State Finalists: 7 (1970, 1975, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1998, 2004) Last Playoff Appearance: 2008 All-Time Playoff Appearances: 31 All-Time Playoff Record: 74-27-1
Gilmer has a 13 game winning streak (last loss: 31-28 Carthage, 2008)
Gilmer has a 106 consecutive games scoring streak (last shutout: 10-0 @ Longview to Pleasant Grove, 2001)
Jeff Traylor is 110-17 at Gilmer
Gilmer’s Jeff Traylor’s 86.6% winning percentage is the 3rd best among all active coaches in Texas
Gilmer is 20-7 under Jeff Traylor in playoff games
Gilmer is 1 of 3 teams in class 3A that remain undefeated this season
Gilmer has won more games than any other 3A team in the state since 2000
Gilmer’s 655 points scored is the 2nd best in school history 701 2007 15 games
697 2009 13 games
Gilmer has scored 70 or more points in 3 games this season. The school record is 4 games by the 1929 and 1930 Buckeyes
Gilmer needs 5 points to break the school record of 701 points scored in 2007
Gilmer has scored 47 or more points in the first half 4 times this season
Gilmer’s 697 points is the most points scored in all classifications.
Gilmer’s 53.6 ppg average is the best in all classifications
Gilmer’s 37.1 average margin of victory is best in class 3A and 3rd best in all classifications
Gilmer's 676 offensive plays consist of 319 passing attempts (47.2%) and 357 rushing attempts (52.8%)
Gilmer averages 248.5 yards per game passing (53.6%) and 215.5 yards per game rushing (46.4%) for a total of 464 yards per game
Gilmer has receiving touchdowns by 11 different players
Gilmer has rushing touchdowns by 11 different players
Gilmer is 39-3 with Stump Godfrey as starting quarterback
Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey has 11,097 total yards for his career
Gilmer's Stump Godfrey’s 113 career touchdown passes ranks as 2nd best all time in Class 3A and is the 6th best in all classifications. (source: Joe Lee Smith)
TOUCHDOWN PASSES – CAREER --- Class 3A
132 – G.J. KINNE, Canton, 2003-05; Gilmer 2006
113 - DARIAN GODFREY, Gilmer, 2007-Current
TOUCHDOWN PASSES – CAREER --ll Classes
167 – GRAHAM HARRELL, Ennis, 2000-03 (4A)
137 – GARRETT GILBERT, Lake Travis, 2006-08
132 – G.J. KINNE, Canton, 2003-05; Gilmer 2006
116 – COLT McCOY, Jim Ned, 2002-04 (2A)
114 – DREW TATE, Baytown Lee, 1999-02 (5A) 113- DARIAN GODFREY, Gilmer, 2007-Current
Gilmer's Stump Godfrey’s 8,926 career passing yards ranks as 4th best all time in Class 3A and 12th best all time in all classifications (source: Joe Lee Smith)
CAREER PASSING YARDS --- ALL-TIME
12,534 – GARRETT GILBERT, Lake Travis, 2006-08
12,532 – GRAHAM HARRELL, Ennis, 2000-03
12,183 -- DREW TATE, Baytown Lee, 1999-02
11,762 -- G.J. KINNE, Canton, 2003-05; Gilmer, 2006
10,136 -- PHILLIP DAUGHERTY, Bridgeport, 2000-02
10,046 -- CHANDLER DANE, Decatur, 2002-04
9,469 – TYRIK ROLLISON, Sulphur Springs, 2006-08
9,344 -- COLT McCOY, Jim Ned, 2002-04
9,042 – JACOB VILLANUEVA, Roscoe, 2005-08
9,009 -- KELLEN HAYNES, FW Brewer, 2000-01; Crosby, ‘02-03
8,958 -- MATTHEW STAFFORD, Highland Park, 2003-05
8,926- DARIAN GODFREY, Gilmer, 2007-Current
Gilmer quarterback Stump Godfrey needs 74 passing yards to give him 9,000 for his career
Gilmer’s Stump Godfrey’s 48 career rushing touchdowns is the most in school history
Gilmer’s Tristan Holt has scored 20 touchdowns this season including 11 receiving, 3 rushing, 5 on punt returns, and 1 kickoff return for 1,516 all-purpose yards. Holt has 61 all-purpose touches on the season
Gilmer’s Tristan Holt needs 96 receiving yards to give him 1,000 for his career
Gilmer is a 6-point favorite over Cuero according to Jerry Forrest of TexasFootballRatings.com
2009 Gilmer Buckeyes Offense
Statistical Leaders-Thru 13 Games
Darian Godfrey 220 of 300 for 3,115 yards, 39 TD’S, 5 INT’S
Luke Turner 4 of 12 for 47 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jordan Traylor 3 of 5 for 45 yards, 2 TD’S
Braylon Webb 1 of 2 for 23 yards, 1 TD
TEAM TOTALS 228 of 319 for 3,230 yards, 43 TD’S, 6 INT’S
Luke Turner 39 rec, 429 yards, 8 TD’S
Tristan Holt 31 rec, 721 yards, 11 TD’S
Tevin Godfrey 27 rec, 503 yards, 4 TD’S
Braylon Webb 24 rec, 269 yards, 4 TD’S
Ben Griffith 17 rec, 267 yards, 2 TD’S
TEAM TOTALS 228 rec, 3,230 yards, 43 TD’S
Darian Godfrey 111 carries, 523 yards, 15 TD’S
Vance Green 61 carries, 727 yards, 6 TD’S
Marlon Granville 56 carries, 406 yards, 4 TD'S
Jeremy Jackson 43 carries, 318 yards, 1 TD
Gus Osborne 37 carries, 381 yards, 9 TD’S
TEAM TOTALS 357 carries, 2,802 yards, 44 TD’S
First Downs 253
Passing 3,230 yards
Rushing 2,802 yards
TOTAL OFFENSE 6,032 YARDS
Gilmer Buckeyes Black Flag Defense Season Statistics
Rushing Allowed: 1,664 yards
Passing Allowed: 1,119 yards
Total Allowed: 2,783 yards
Rushing Per Game: 128.0 yards
Passing Per Game: 86.1 yards
Total Per Game: 214.1 yards
Points Allowed: 215
Points Per Game: 16.5
Recovered Fumbles: 12
Forced Turnovers: 24
Mikey Wilson 149
Luis Castro 106
Chris Miller 102
Braylon Webb 102
Paul Chesnut 69
Braylon Webb 3
Eric Miller 2
Eric Miller 3
Luis Castro 2
Paul Chesnut 2
Ben Griffith 2
Harvey Horton 2
Chris Miller 5
Luis Castro 4
Ty Barr 4
Eric Miller 4
J.T. Beecham 2
Courtesy Photo / The Huntsville Item
FORECAST for Huntsville today is a high of 48 with a low by Sunday morning of 35 and a 10 percent chance of precipitation with a SE wind at around 5 mph on Saturday night. This is a photo from yesterday on the homepage of The Huntsville Item.