Distribution Of Wealth: Gilmer’s Hyper-Explosive Offense Depends On Sharing The Ball
GILMER -- According to Urban Dictionary, the term "socialism" is defined as: an economic system in between capitalism and communism, advocating collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods.
While that's typically bad for big business, those principles work wonders for the Gilmer Buckeyes, who are in the business of winning football games.
And they've done plenty of that over the years. Gilmer will be playing for its third state championship Friday afternoon on the strength of an offense that's as much all-inclusive as it is extraordinarily productive.
Gilmer scored 67 points in last week's semifinal win over Celina, but that's really nothing new; the Buckeyes are the second-highest scoring team in the history of Texas high school football with a total of 915 points entering the final weekend.
But even more impressive than the scoring average of 61 points per game, or the fact that five different players have thrown for touchdowns, 10 have run for scores and 11 have at least one scoring reception to their name ... no one cares.
"If somebody makes a big play we're happy for them, if somebody scores we're happy for them, if somebody breaks a record we're happy for them," said Gilmer senior quarterback McLane Carter, who's thrown for 3,719 yards and 46 touchdowns. "We don't care, we're just trying to win ball games. If somebody makes a big play nobody's jealous. We know what our goal is, our goal is to win a state championship."
Since the turn of the 21st Century, more and more teams across the state have adopted the spread offense, which has drastically increased point production across the board. The objective is to spread the defense out, forcing defenders to cover bigger areas of the field.
Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor, a Gilmer native who is leading the Buckeyes from the sidelines for the 15th year, sees it a little differently.
"When you say spread offense to us it means spread the field vertically and horizontally, but it also means spread the ball to a bunch of players," said Traylor, who is 174-26 as Gilmer's head coach. "So the spread has a different connotation to us than it does in some places."
But, as Traylor points out, the X's and O's can only get a coaching staff so far.
"That's why it's great to have a job here where we've got great players," he said. "I know I always say that, but that's what's most important. We all realize it starts with the players, and they buy into the system."
Traylor admits that including so many players in the fun has its drawbacks, most notably omissions from postseason awards or all-state teams.
"Kris Boyd is one of the best running backs I've ever coached and he doesn't have 1,000 yards yet; he's OK with that," Traylor said. "Blake Lynch has maybe 39-40 catches; he's OK with that. They're all OK with sharing the ball, spreading the ball. I think that's the thing that gets lost the most is how unselfish all of our kids are. They don't care, they wanna win the ballgame, and that's what we're most proud of."
Lynch, a senior receiver/defensive back signee to Baylor, is still relatively new to the Gilmer experience having transferred in from Troup over the summer.
It's safe to say the multi-talented star has thrived in the Buckeyes' system. Lynch has put up 2,103 yards of offense -- passing, rushing, and receiving -- and accounted for 36 touchdowns.
"My time here's been great," said Lynch, who will enroll at Baylor after the Christmas holidays. "Moving here for my senior and not really knowing anybody, these guys really just accepted me as a brother. Getting a state championship before I leave would really mean a lot to me."
As referenced before, however, the success is not limited to Carter, Lynch and Boyd, who holds more than a dozen major FBS college offers and has 1,709 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns.
Boyd and Lynch are responsible for 66 Buckeyes touchdowns, but Gilmer has scored 53 additional offensive touchdowns.
"You just know that if you put the ball in guys' hands, they always have a chance to go and score, or make a big play," Carter said. "Being in an offense with so many dynamic weapons is really a blessing."
While the Gilmer players and coaches understand their offense is among the best in the state's history, they also realize the final number won't mean much if they are unable to win their last game.
Traylor said Friday's opponent, West Orange-Stark (13-2), will feature the best defense his team has faced all season long. He compared it to the 2012 Navasota defense, which completely shut down the Buckeyes' offense in a 39-3 rout for the 3A Division II championship that season.
"Whenever you get your teeth kicked in, that doesn't really help a whole lot with anything," Traylor said when asked if there were any lessons to be learned from that loss. "That team really overachieved that year; we probably weren't one of the better teams and we made it there and we played against one of the best teams I've ever played against. So it was just a terrible matchup for us back then, but we did learn from the experience."
Traylor is hopeful that a third-round test against rival Gladewater, which the Buckeyes won with an 82-yard scoring drive in the final minute, could prove beneficial if his team finds itself in a similar situation against West Orange-Stark.
"If we get into another game like that Friday it's going to come into play," he said. "I liked it because we were losing for so much of the ballgame and we had so many opportunities in the game to go away and we just didn't go away. As a coach, that always makes you feel proud when your kids have every reason to shut down and just won't shut down. That's speaks volumes for our kids."