Athletic Tatum Defense Matches Wits With Explosive Gilmer Offense
No. 5 Gilmer Buckeyes (2-0)
Tatum Eagles (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Eagle Stadium, Tatum
- Gilmer: Jeff Traylor
- Tatum: Andy Evans
- Gilmer: def. Pine Tree, 68-20
- Tatum: idle
- Gilmer: at Daingerfield, Sept. 19
- Tatum: at Liberty-Eylau, Sept. 19
- WR/CB Kris Boyd, Sr., 6-1, 190 (7 catches, 192 yards, 3 TDs; 9 tackles)
- QB/WR/S Blake Lynch, Sr., 6-3, 195 (1 of 1, 65 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 84 yards, 2 TDs; 5 carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs; 9 tackles, 3 PBU; committed to Baylor)
- RB/LB Demarco Boyd, Jr., 6-0, 205 (6 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD; 17 tackles, 0.5 sack)
- QB McLane Carter, Sr., 6-3, 180 (30 of 42, 512 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 4 carries, 28 yards)
- RB Jamel Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 190 (20 carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Chase Tate, Sr., 5-6, 150 (8 catches, 125 yards, 1 TD; 5 carries, 70 yards)
- LB Kelton Collier, Soph. (26 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery)
- LB Cambron Granville, Jr., 5-7, 160 (20 tackles)
- WR/S Nick Smith, Sr., 5-11, 160 (5 catches, 49 yards, 1 TD; 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT)
- WR/CB Quinn Fluellen, Sr., 6-2, 170 (5 catches, 70 yards; 2 tackles, 1 INT)
- ATH Chaston Brooks, Sr., 6-0, 190 (16 of 23, 240 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 8 carries, 28 yards, 1 TD; 4 tackles, 1 PBU)
- RB/LB Kyshaun Smith, Sr., 6-1, 180 (1 carry, 13 yards; 11 tackles, 1 for loss)
- RB/LB Devon Boyd, Sr., 5-10, 180 (3 carries, 47 yards; 2 catches, 34 yards, 1 TD; 5 tackles, for loss)
- S Jordan Nelson, Sr., 6-0, 170 (16 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 3 PBU)
- DE Malik Allen, Sr., 6-0, 190 (5 tackles, 1 for loss)
- WR Deyanta Roberson, Sr., 6-2, 190 (5 catches, 48 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Josh Ivy, Jr. (4 catches, 66 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB D'Calen Hicks, Jr., 5-10, 185 (12 tackles, 1 for loss)
- DL Ryan Hyde, Sr., 6-2, 215 (11 tackles, 1 for loss)
- RB Denarius Earl, Jr., 5-6, 150 (1 carry, 15 yards; 2 catches, 70 yards)
Just the facts
- Since 1986, Gilmer and Tatum have met 22 times. Gilmer leads the series, 16-6, and has won eight of the last nine meetings.
- The last time neither Gilmer or Tatum made the playoffs was 1992.
- Through two games, Gilmer is averaging 61.5 points and 592 yards per game.
- Three different Gilmer players have attempted passes, 14 have carried the ball, and 13 have caught a pass.
- Under Jeff Traylor, the 123 points Gilmer has scored through two weeks is tied for the second-most in his 15 seasons as head coach.
- Gilmer is East Texas' winningest program since 2000 with an overall record of 160-26 (.860 winning percentage).
- Tatum put up 380 yards of offense -- 240 passing, 140 rushing -- in its 39-7 season-opening win over Newton on Aug. 29.
- Two Eagles attempted passes, nine carried the ball, and seven caught passes in the victory.
- Tatum is 9-1 coming off bye weeks in the last 10 seasons.
- Since Andy Evans took over the program in 2004, Tatum's record is 109-24 (.820 winning percentage).
Key matchup: Gilmer offensive skill-position players vs. Tatum linebackers and secondary. It will be strength vs. strength when Gilmer goes on offense. The Buckeyes are blessed with one of the best collections of backs and receivers in all of East Texas, while Tatum employs a fast, athletic and physical group of linebackers and defensive backs. Gilmer has faced no resistance from the first two defenses its played, rolling up 123 points and nearly 1,200 yards in lopsided wins over Liberty-Eylau and Pine Tree. While Gilmer prides itself on being able to spread the ball around to a plethora of weapons both out of the backfield and in the passing game, two players stand out -- the senior receiver tandem of Kris Boyd and Blake Lynch, each noted for their overall versatility.
Boyd, a phenomenal athlete who holds offers from some of the biggest college football programs in the nation for his exploits as a defensive back, is relatively new to the receiver position after spending the majority of his career up to this point at running back. But after two weeks in 2014, you'd think he'd been playing receiver his whole life, evidenced by his seven catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns. Lynch, too, is new to receiver. He's spent the last two seasons running the show in Troup at quarterback, and so far, his brief tenure at Gilmer has been defined by versatility. Lynch, a Baylor commit, is listed as a receiver on the roster, but he's lined up at quarterback for a handful of snaps -- mostly for the read-option. The only pass he's attempted on the young season was good for a 65-yard touchdown last week against Pine Tree. His other eight touches have been good 198 yards and four touchdowns -- 24.8 yards per rush/reception.
Tatum will counter with the talented linebacking duo of Kyshaun Smith and Devon Boyd, and a secondary spear-headed by Jordan Nelson. Smith, the son of former Oklahoma and Oakland Raiders linebacker Travian Smith, currently holds three FBS offers and covers a ton of ground in the middle of the field. Boyd is similarly built and similarly productive, as both defensive playmakers easily surpassed the 100-tackle plateau last season as juniors. It will be especially important for the two of them to read the Gilmer quarterback, and close fast on the receivers, and make sure tackles once they arrive. If not, it could end up being a long night for the Tatum defense. While the Eagles' offense is dangerous in its own right, Tatum would be wise to avoid trying to win a shootout against Gilmer. Many have tried, and many have failed in that endeavor over the years. Following the ball and making tackles at the point of first contact will eliminate some of the big-play potential from Gilmer's offense, which is a must if Tatum hopes to be in position to win by the fourth quarter.
Don't be surprised if: Chaston Brooks gets a lot of work at quarterback, even if starting QB J.D. Taylor, who sat out Tatum's season-opening win, is healthy. Brooks not only filled in admirably, he excelled with a 268-yard, five-touchdown performance in the 39-7 rout of Newton. Brooks is a special athlete that really didn't play a huge role in the offense last season, despite returning six kicks for touchdowns on special teams as a junior. Putting Brooks at quarterback ensures that he'll touch the ball every time he's out there, which certainly would not be the case when he'd be fighting for touches with excellent receivers like Deyanta Roberson, Josh Ivy and Martin Williams. We're not suggesting Taylor be permanently removed from the position, but having designed packages for Brooks at QB would add another dynamic to what already is a fairly potent Tatum offense. And with the high-flying Gilmer offense coming to town, Tatum might need all the help it can get for its offense to keep up.