Blake Lynch Scores Three Touchdowns In Gilmer Debut + No. 8 Buckeyes Rip Liberty-Eylau, 55-16
TYLER -- First impressions often last the longest, and it was quite the debut for Blake Lynch in a Gilmer Buckeyes uniform.
Lynch, a 2015 Baylor commit, scored three touchdowns on his only three touches of the night -- all in a span of 8:53 -- in the eighth-ranked Buckeyes' 55-16 demolition of Liberty-Eylau in the opener of the 11th annual Trinity Mother Frances Kickoff Classic on Thursday night at Rose Stadium.
The transfer from Troup took a read-option play at quarterback 54 yards for a touchdown on Gilmer's second play from scrimmage, received a direct snap for a 2-yard score on Gilmer's second possession, and had a 29-yard TD catch-and-run to give the Buckeyes a commanding 28-0 first-quarter lead.
"It felt good," said Lynch, who also started at free safety and was in on several tackles. "But it really just showed how we prepared going into Liberty-Eylau and how much my team helped me, with the whole O-line and all the receivers blocking downfield."
Senior quarterback McLane Carter, another offseason transfer, passed for five touchdowns -- three of them going to receiver Kris Boyd, one of the nation's top uncommitted recruits in the 2015 class.
Carter, who played at Salado last season after beginning his career in Gilmer, finished 14 of 21 for 274 yards. He did throw one interception, which was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Liberty-Eylau's Deonte Crawford late in the first half.
Boyd, who played almost exclusively at running back last season, lined up at receiver all night and finished with five catches for 149 yards -- scoring on plays of 9, 77 and 27 yards.
In all, Gilmer featured 11 different ball carriers, and nine separate players had at least one reception on the evening.
"We do that anyway no matter what," Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor said of playing several players. "We just believe that we've got to play a lot of kids. We practice a lot of kids, so we play a lot of kids. It's a long season, and we want to get them all on video. We dressed about 65 guys tonight and we tried to get 55-58 of them in there."
Gilmer (1-0) outgained Liberty-Eylau (0-1) on the night, 442-284, while the Buckeyes' defense forced four turnovers. Nick Smith and Quinn Fluellen had interceptions, while Caleb Gunter and Christian Loyd recovered two of Liberty-Eylau's seven fumbles for the game.
"Liberty-Eylau made some mistakes that they normally won't make as the year goes on," Traylor said. "The game kinda got out of hand, and that's what happens."
Liberty-Eylau junior quarterback Ke'mon Freeman led the Leopards with 68 yards on 16 carries. Donelle Hoof rushed 11 times for 66 yards, Lamont Byrd had 51 yards on three carries, and Ricardo Lockett picked up 34 yards on the ground and scored L-E's only offensive touchdown.
Gilmer received the game's opening kickoff, and on second-and-5, Lynch took the shotgun snap, faked the handoff to running back Jamel Jackson, and took off. He was into the end zone 54 yards later for the first Gilmer points of the season.
"I just saw the whole defense kinda run to the right, and it was open to the left," Lynch said. "My line did a great job of blocking for me, and all I really did was run."
Liberty-Eylau faked a punt on fourth-and-19 from its own 48, and only gained four yards. Carter had a 17-yard completion to Boyd on first down, then used a 14-yard strike to Jackson to get the Buckeyes into the red zone. On third-and-1 from the 2, Lynch took the snap and darted forward through the goal line, giving Gilmer a 14-0 lead with 6:41 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Leopards went three-and-out on the ensuing possession. A long punt return by Chase Tate gave Gilmer great starting field position at the L-E 33, and on the third play of the drive, Carter hooked up with Boyd for a 9-yard touchdown. Demarco Boyd ran in the two-point conversion, and Gilmer led 22-0 with 4:46 showing on the first-quarter clock.
On L-E's next series, Freeman was intercepted by Smith, who returned the pick 38 yards to the Leopards' 29. And on first down, Carter hit Lynch across the middle of the field, and the receiver did the rest, outracing the defense for his third touchdown in as many touches.
"I just love all my teammates, and I love playing for the Gilmer Buckeyes," Lynch said. "I'm new here, so I had to adjust to everybody and the coaches. But I just love it here."
Fluellen intercepted Freeman in the end zone on the Leopards' next drive, and on second down, Carter heaved a deep ball to Boyd, who beat single coverage for the catch and cruised into the end zone for a 77-yard score.
It went from bad to worse on the very next play from scrimmage when the Buckeyes recovered an L-E fumble inside the 5-yard line. Jackson, who finished with 51 yards on 11 carries, scored from 4 yards out as Gilmer built a 42-0 lead just 26 seconds into the second quarter.
"We started practice with a fast start, and we wanted a fast start to the season; that was kinda our goal," Traylor said. "We know how it is with these first couple of games. If you can get on them pretty quick, it enthuses you. And we did that."
Gilmer travels to Longview for a game against Pine Tree on Sept. 5, while Liberty-Eylau hosts Mount Pleasant the same night.
"All of our kids executed really well tonight," Traylor said. "We were pretty crisp there for a while. Obviously in the second half we weren't very crisp, but we'll get that cleaned up."
No. 8 Gilmer 55, Liberty-Eylau 16
Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic
At TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Gilmer 28 14 13 0 -- 55
Liberty-Eylau 0 6 0 10 -- 16
GIL--Blake Lynch 54 run (Tristan Olivares kick), 11:21.
GIL--Lynch 2 run (Olivares kick), 6:41.
GIL--Kris Boyd 9 pass from McLane Carter (Demarco Boyd), 4:46.
GIL--Lynch 29 pass from Carter (kick failed), 2:28.
GIL--Kris Boyd 77 pass from Carter (Olivares kick), 11:46.
GIL--Jamel Jackson 4 run (Juan Esquivel kick), 11:34.
L-E--Deonte Crawford 51 interception return (kick failed), :51.
GIL--Kris Boyd 27 pass from Carter (kick failed), 10:29.
GIL--Desmond Jones 14 pass from Carter (Esquivel kick), :58.
L-E--Ricardo Lockett 1 run (Arymis Johnson pass from Ke'mon Freeman), 10:50.
L-E--Safety, ball snapped out of the back of the end zone, 7:45.
First Downs 21 13
Total Yards 442 284
Rushes-Yards 34-162 45-249
Passing Yards 280 35
Comp.-Att.-Int. 17-26-1 2-14-2
Punts-Avg. 2-32.0 2-33.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 7-2
Penalties-Yards 9-65 11-67
RUSHING--Gilmer, Blake Lynch 2-56, Jamel Jackson 11-51, Kelton Collier 5-42, McLane Carter 1-19, Chase Tate 2-15, Cambron Granville 6-14, Demarco Boyd 2-12, Kris Boyd 1-5, Ryen Lawhorn 1-(-3), Zac Spears 2-(-11), Team 1-(-38). Liberty-Eylau, Ke'mon Freeman 16-68, Donelle Hoof 11-66, Lamont Byrd 3-51, Ricardo Lockett 4-34, Kameron Levingtston 5-15, Garyco Witcher 1-15, Thurman Morbley 1-2, Arymis Johnson 1-0, Demarcus Pegue 3-(-2).
PASSING--Gilmer, Carter 14-21-1--274, Spears 3-5-0--6. Liberty-Eylau, Freeman 2-13-2--35, Witcher 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING--Gilmer, Kris Boyd 5-149, Tate 4-38, Nick Smith 2-12, Lynch 1-29, Quinn Fluellen 1-20, Jackson 1-14, Desmond Jones 1-14, LaMarcus Morton 1-4, Granville 1-0. Liberty-Eylau, Hoof 2-35.