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By ELWYN HENDERSON

Mirror Photos / Mary Laschinger Kirby<br>
DESTINY BROOKS, left, and DIMITRI FORT remind everyone at the pep rally Wednesday night what is foremost in Gilmer students' minds about the state championship game Friday. Kickoff is at 12 noon. If you cannot make it to the game, you can watch the live telecast on FOX Sports Southwest (Channel 25 on Etex).
Mirror Photos / Mary Laschinger Kirby
DESTINY BROOKS, left, and DIMITRI FORT remind everyone at the pep rally Wednesday night what is foremost in Gilmer students' minds about the state championship game Friday. Kickoff is at 12 noon. If you cannot make it to the game, you can watch the live telecast on FOX Sports Southwest (Channel 25 on Etex).
Just as he has been dancing through the defenses opposing Gilmer all season long, CHASE TATE takes to the gym floor to dance while the Buckeye Band drumline entertains during the pep rally Wednesday night sending the Buckeyes off to the 4A Division II State Championship Game at AT&T Stadium Friday.
Just as he has been dancing through the defenses opposing Gilmer all season long, CHASE TATE takes to the gym floor to dance while the Buckeye Band drumline entertains during the pep rally Wednesday night sending the Buckeyes off to the 4A Division II State Championship Game at AT&T Stadium Friday.
COACH JEFF TRAYLOR waves to those gathered around the square in downtown Gilmer during the Buckeyes Sendoff to Arlington Thursday.
COACH JEFF TRAYLOR waves to those gathered around the square in downtown Gilmer during the Buckeyes Sendoff to Arlington Thursday.
ONE of the two chartered buses loaded with Gilmer Buckeyes which proceeded around the square before heading Thursday afternoon to an undisclosed hotel near AT&T Stadium.
ONE of the two chartered buses loaded with Gilmer Buckeyes which proceeded around the square before heading Thursday afternoon to an undisclosed hotel near AT&T Stadium.






I have been a Gilmer Buckeye since birth in 1955, and have been blessed to have been able to see countless Buckeye football games through the years. Quite by accident back in 1974, shortly after I graduated from Gilmer High School, I ended up working for KHYM Radio in Gilmer. I began in advertising sales, then added news and sports duties, and finally began doing color commentary on the tape-delayed broadcasts of the games back in 1975.

The first couple of years I had the fortune of being able to work beside the silver-throated Jay Dugger, who always provided a chuckle or two during every broadcast. For a number of years, my good friend Ronnie Morrison was the play-by-play man and I assisted him. Ultimately, I took over the play-by-play duties and was assisted through the years by a number of gentlemen who did a superb job.

The years that I enjoyed most were the years we did the delayed video broadcasts on Gilmer Cable TV. Russ Greene of The Gilmer Mirror was my very talented partner. Without a doubt, those were my favorite years because most of them were in the Jeff Traylor era when the Buckeye Football Program put our town on the map in a positive way that will never be forgotten by Gilmer Buckeye fans.

I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Buckeye Football. I called games that we lost by as much as 72 points, and called victories that included several deep playoff runs and a State Championship.

I was at Buckeye Stadium as a young eighth grader the night the very talented Eddie Ray Hayes suffered a concussion that would tragically take his young life. I remember the ambulance getting stuck on the football field as the emergency team was frantically trying to get him help to save his life.

I remember the tragic loss of the brave young man Josh Nelson, who the Buckeyes dedicated a successful season to. I remember the exciting 2004 season when Manuel Johnson led the “Kui” team to an unexpected undefeated State Championship, the first in the history of Gilmer Buckeye Football.

I decided after the 2005 season after nearly 30 years of doing Gilmer game broadcasts that it was time I turned things over to the next generation, and was proud to see Matt Camp pick up the baton and keep things rolling with his quality broadcasting of the games, and I remember his tragic departure in 2009 at a young age. I also remember the “MC” theme of that year and how it propelled the Buckeyes to their second State Championship trophy.


Read more: The Gilmer Mirror - DEZign8

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By JOE DODD


With only 16 teams left in the Class 3A Division I playoffs, the Gilmer Buckeyes are just one of many teams with impressive résumés.

“They’re all good this time of the year,” stated Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who has led his alma mater to a 108-17 record and one state championship in his 10 years at the helm of the Buckeyes.

Take La Vega, the Buckeyes’ opponent Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Mesquite. The Pirates have gone at least three rounds deep in the playoffs every year since 2006, sporting an impressive 10-3 playoff record in that span.

“We do have some experience and tradition,” admitted La Vega head coach Willie Williams, who has a 135-84-2 record in his 20th season as Pirates’ head coach.

Like Traylor, Williams is coaching in his hometown. “This is the only place I’ve known. I graduated from here and I’ve coached here for 27 years. I’ve never coache…

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