Explosive Gilmer Offense Meets Stingy Kilgore Defense in Matchup of State’s Top Three Teams For 16-3A Title
No. 1 Gilmer Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0)
No. 3 Kilgore Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore
- Gilmer: Jeff Traylor
- Kilgore: Mike Wood
- RB/OLB Josh Walker, Sr., 6-1, 220 (committed to Texas A&M; 13 carries, 145 yards, 3 TDs; 3 catches, 34 yards, 1 TD; 52 tackles, 2 sacks, 11 QB pressures)
- RB/CB Kris Boyd, Jr., 6-0, 175 (86 carries, 1,023 yards, 16 TDs; 10 catches, 10 catches, 131 yards, 2 TDs; 24 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 2 pass break-ups)
- QB Tanner Barr, Sr., 6-1, 180 (141 of 193, 2,349 yards, 29 TDs, 5 INTs; 73 carries, 373 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Desmond Pollard, Jr., 6-1, 180 (33 catches, 726 yards, 10 TDs)
- RB/OLB Demarco Boyd, Soph., 6-0, 205 (13 carries, 166 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 45 yards; 48 tackles, 12 for loss, 6 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 7 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
- WR/DB Devondrick Dixon, Sr., 5-9, 180 (committed to Texas State; 10 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD; 9 catches, 205 yards, 3 TDs; 28 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 pass break-ups)
- RB/LB Darrian Lewis, Sr. (45 carries, 416 yards, 7 TDs; 57 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB pressures, 2 fumble recoveries)
- HB Jaidon Parrish, Sr., 6-0, 185 (2 carries, 29 yards; 28 catches, 408 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Chase Tate, Jr., 5-7, 150 (12 carries, 148 yards, 2 TDs; 22 catches, 401 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Nick Smith, Sr. (17 catches, 242 yards, 4 TDs)
- LB John McPherson, Sr. (66 tackles, 6 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 pass break-ups, 1 INT)
- DB Ardarius Johnson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (27 tackles, 1 QB pressure, 6 pass break-ups)
- DL Dakota Williamson, Jr. (22 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 QB pressure)
- K Pablin Olivares, Sr., 5-9, 165
- DB Dakeilan Nelson, Sr. (16 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 pass break-ups)
- RB Kevrin Justice, Jr., 5-11, 170 (96 carries, 1,010 yards, 20 TDs; 1 catch, 30 yards)
- RB Davieonta “JuJu” Brown, Sr. (83 carries, 688 yards, 9 TDs)
- ATH Benny Colbert, Sr., 5-10, 170 (15 of 28, 377 yards, 6 TDs; 40 carries, 159 yards, 3 TDs)
- DL LaDarrin Anthony, Sr., 6-0, 257 (55 tackles, 11 for loss, 6 sacks, 18 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles)
- DL D.Q. Scott, Sr., 6-0, 252 (32 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- ATH Aaron Foy, Sr., 5-11, 165 (13 carries, 238 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 269 yards, 3 TDs; 17 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 pass break-up)
- QB Xaviar Gaona, Jr., 6-4, 165 (11 of 20, 241 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 14 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD)
- S Jake Brantley, Sr., 5-10, 185 (68 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries, 3 INTs, 1 pass break-up)
- OL Clay Wiley, Sr., 6-2, 285
- OL Blake Guthrie, Jr., 6-2, 251
- WR/DB Joseph Shepherd, Sr. (3 catches, 39 yards, 1 TD; 30 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 7 pass break-ups)
- WR Nick Orange, Jr., 6-3, 180 (10 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD)
- TE Jared Wood, Jr., 6-3, 180 (4 catches, 98 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Kris Haynes, Jr. (70 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 4 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT)
- DL Caleb Wood, Sr. (44 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 7 QB pressures)
Just the facts
- Gilmer and Kilgore have only met six times in their programs’ history. Kilgore holds a 4-2 edge, but the Buckeyes have won the last two meetings.
- The Buckeyes are averaging 60.2 points per game.
- The state record for most points in a season is 891, set by the 2011 Refugio team. If Gilmer reaches the state championship game and averages 49.9 points per game, the Buckeyes would eclipse that mark.
- Gilmer’s average margin of victory this season is 43.8 points.
- The Buckeyes are averaging 594.1 yards per game — 321.9 rushing and 272.2 passing.
- Nine different Gilmer players have scored rushing touchdowns, while 10 different Buckeyes have touchdown receptions.
- Gilmer has run 523 plays from scrimmage (58.1 per game) and is averaging 10.2 yards per snap.
- Since 2001, Gilmer is 63-1 in district games. The only loss occurred to eventual 3A Division II state champion Carthage (38-21) in 2010.
- Kilgore is averaging 45.6 points and 388.5 yards per game.
- Eight different Kilgore players have rushed for touchdowns, while four Bulldogs have at least one scoring reception.
- The Bulldogs average 8.4 yards per rush and 23.8 yards per pass completion.
- Kilgore’s defense has allowed just 11.8 points and 243.8 yards per game, and only 91.4 rushing.
- The Bulldogs have forced 21 turnovers on the season — 11 interceptions and 10 recovered fumbles.
- The most points Kilgore has allowed in the last two regular seasons is 25, which occurred two weeks ago against Chapel Hill.
- Since dropping to 3A before the beginning of last season, Kilgore is 20-2. The two losses were last season’s 20-14 decision against eventual 3A D-II runner-up Gilmer and a 42-32 loss to eventual state champ Stephenville in the 3A D-I semifinals.
Key matchup: Kilgore running game vs. Gilmer defensive front. While both teams are capable of scoring in bunches, the two offensive approaches could not be more different. Gilmer spreads out opposing defenses and uses a no-huddle, uptempo attack to pile up the points, while Kilgore employs a grind-it-out, run-heavy philosophy to control the clock and wear down the opposition. If Friday’s game develops into a shootout, it’s unlikely that Kilgore would be able to supply enough offense to keep up with Gilmer. While Kilgore’s defense will be the best defense Gilmer has seen all season, it would seem to be in the Bulldogs’ best interest to sustain long drives behind a big and physical offensive line and powerful running game. The longer Kilgore’s offense can stay on the field, the more the Bulldogs’ defense can rest after defending Gilmer’s hurry-up offense.
Kilgore has a variety of weapons in the backfield, the most important of which is junior running back Kevrin Justice, who’s averaging 10.5 yards per carry and more than two touchdowns per game. Davieonta “JuJu” Brown will see a lot of the action as well and is capable of picking up big chunks at a time. Quarterback Benny Colbert, one of Kilgore’s top overall athletes, is a threat to run as well. After playing almost exclusively at cornerback last season, Colbert has accounted for nine offensive touchdowns in 2013. Senior receiver Aaron Foy may be the Bulldogs’ most explosive offensive weapon. He’s only handled the ball 19 times all year, but has totaled 507 yards (26.7 yards per touch) with five touchdowns.
The strength of Gilmer’s defense is its front, in particular its outside-linebacking duo of senior Josh Walker and sophomore Demarco Boyd. While each is exceptional at rushing the passer, both will be counted on to keep the edge of Gilmer’s defense clear of Kilgore ball carriers. The key for the Buckeyes defensively will be how well the middle holds up against Kilgore’s big and athletic offensive line. If the Buckeyes’ interior line is breached, Gilmer inside linebackers John McPherson and Darrian Lewis must prevent Kilgore’s backs from getting to the third level where they can be hard to bring down in space.
Don’t be surprised if: There are a few more points in Friday’s game than there were in last year’s 20-14 Gilmer win. The Buckeyes are even more explosive offensively than 2012, and Kilgore’s offense is much improved as well. Colbert is an X-factor for Kilgore. He’s only completed 15 passes all season, but six have gone for touchdowns and the completions are averaging more than 25 yards in distance. Kilgore has been able to catch a few teams napping by hitting them over the top with big plays in the passing game, and that could certainly be the case this week.
In the end, this game could end up being a war of attrition. Gilmer goes so fast and uses so many players on offense, and Kilgore physically leans on opponents until they break in the second half. Another hard-fought classic between these two could be in the works, with the last team standing earning the “District of Doom” championship.