Fifth-Ranked Gilmer Scores Late To Hold Off Tatum, 41-35, In ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Game Of The Week
[By Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]
TATUM -- In many cases, games with much hype fail to deliver.
That wasn’t the case Friday night at Eagle Stadium as Gilmer and Tatum went toe-to-toe in the ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Game of the Week.
McLane Carter’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Blake Lynch with 26 seconds remaining provided the game-winning score as the No. 5 Buckeyes held off Tatum, 41-35, before a packed house.
Tatum erased a 20-point halftime deficit to claw back into the game, tying things up early in the fourth quarter. They got the ball with 5:29 remaining following a fourth-down stop on a Gilmer drive that lasted just over six minutes.
After forcing a Carter incompletion on fourth-and-4, the Eagles took over at their own 15.
A 19-yard run by Tatum quarterback J.D. Taylor, getting his first action of the season after missing the opening game with an injury, got the ball to near midfield.
Taylor failed to gain yardage on consecutive plays, forcing Tatum to call back-to-back timeouts on fourth-and-4. Taylor scrambled again, gaining 3 yards and bringing out the chains, where the Eagles came up just short.
The Buckeyes (3-0) took over with 2:12 remaining and calmly moved the ball down the field. Lynch converted two first downs on the drive, including a huge third-and-1 at the 13 to set up the game-winner.
Lynch was huge on both third and fourth down during the second half, converting four times to move the chains.
Carter pump-faked on the bubble screen, which was successful all night for the Buckeyes. The Eagles' defense bit and Lynch found himself wide open for the score, his fifth of the night.
“They had been biting on the screens all night, we decided to run a fake and I was wide open,” Lynch said. “My quarterback put it right on the money and I just came down with the catch.”
Tatum’s final drive started at the 45-yard line and ended after just one play as Kollin Hunt picked off Taylor -- his second INT of the night.
Lynch was once again phenomenal, scoring five times on the night, to give him 10 touchdowns on the year. The Baylor commit scored three times on the ground from 2, 45 and 1 yards out, and caught two TD’s -- from 52 yards and the game-winner from 11 yards out. He lead the team in both rushing and receiving yards, picking up 93 yards on 10 carries and catching 4 passes for 115 yards.
“The guys around me are so talented and they make everything easier,” Lynch said. “The linemen block for me, the holes are there, my teammates are great and I love them.”
The first half was dominated from the start by the Buckeyes.
As it's done all season, it didn’t take long for Gilmer to find the end zone.
Carter hit Lynch on a bubble screen on the game's first play, with Lynch doing the rest as he went 52 yards untouched for a quick 7-0 lead.
Carter finished the night 13 of 23 for 213 yards and two touchdowns, giving him nine TD's on the young season.
Back-to-back three-and-outs didn’t help the Eagles' cause to start, and Gilmer capitalized.
Trapped deep in its own end, a Tatum punt returned by Kris Boyd 21 yards to the Tatum 21 set the Buckeyes up for another score. Consecutive runs by Jamel Jackson, the latter for a 17-yard TD, gave the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead in just less than six minutes.
Tatum (1-1) answered that score with a drive lasting more than five minutes and covering 76 yards. Catches of 11 and 31 yards by Martin Williams highlighted the drive, with Josh Ivy punching it in from 8 yards away to cut the Gilmer lead in half.
Williams finished with a team-high 90 yards on six catches.
The Gilmer defense shut down the Eagles' offense the rest of the half, forcing two punts and an interception, which gave Lynch the chances he needed to add to his scoring.
After a Demarco Boyd 23-yard TD was called back due to penalty, Carter found Kris Boyd for 22 yards which set up Lynch, in the wildcat, for a 2-yard TD.
Two possessions later, Lynch went untouched on fourth-and-1, 45 yards to the house to close out the first half scoring and give the Buckeyes what seemed like a comfortable 27-7 lead at the break.
Tatum jumped right back in the game in the third quarter, thanks in large part to three Gilmer fumbles. The Eagles took advantage of all three.
The Eagles scored on the opening possession of the second half. Three carries from Devon Boyd set up a 22-yard fade to Deyanta Roberson.
Robertson, who was shadowed seemingly all night by Boyd, one of the nations top recruits, found himself matched up with a different defender, went up and grabbed a perfectly thrown ball to cut the Gilmer lead to 27-14.
Damian Lopez forced a fumble on the ensuing possession, Boyd recovered and momentum was on the Eagles side.
It took Tatum just four plays as Taylor set himself up with a 26-yard carry that led to a keeper from 1-yard out, cutting the Gilmer lead down to six.
Chase Tate got his first carries of the night on Gilmer’s next possession, picking up 25 yards, Lynch took a bubble screen for 43, and then finished off the drive with runs of 3 and 1 for a TD. Lynch tacked on the 2-point conversion for good measure, giving the Buckeyes their 14-point lead back.
Tatum quickly erased that deficit.
Taylor capped off a 59-yard drive with another 1-yard TD run, Gilmer fumbled the ensuing kickoff and suddenly things got interesting.
Kris Boyd picked off a Taylor pass on second-and-goal for what looked to be an opportunity for Gilmer to close out the game.
However, on the game's next play, a low snap in the end zone was picked up by Devon Boyd, tying the game at 35 and setting up the dramatic final six minutes, and the big stop from the Buckeyes' defense.
“We had a huge fourth-down stop, you’ve gotta give the kids credit, they did find a way to win the game,” said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor. “We didn’t play very well, you’ve gotta give Tatum credit, they outcoached us, they outplayed us, we were very fortunate to come in here and win a ballgame against a very, very good Tatum team.”
After winning its first two games by a combined score of 123-36, Gilmer got a much-needed test against an Eagles team they could potentially see down the road again.
“It’s so much better for us (a close game), whenever you play good people it's better for you. We’ll be better for this” Traylor said.
Tatum returns to action next week as it travels to Liberty-Eylau, while Gilmer travels to Daingerfield.
No. 5 Gilmer 41, Tatum 35
At Eagle Stadium, Tatum
Gilmer 14 13 8 6 -- 41
Tatum 7 0 21 7 -- 35
GIL – Blake Lynch 52 pass from McLane Carter (Tristan Olivares kick) 11:44
GIL – Jamel Jackson 17 run (Olivares kick) 6:09
TAT – Josh Ivy 8 run (Jesus Sandoval kick) 1:00
GIL – Lynch 2 run (Olivares kick) 9:33
GIL – Lynch 45 run (Kick failed) 2:03
TAT – Deyanta Robertson 22 pass from J.D. Taylor (Sandoval kick) 8:47
TAT – Taylor 1 run (Sandoval kick) 6:48
GIL – Lynch 1 run (Lynch 2-PT) 5:09
TAT – Taylor 1 run (Sandoval kick) 1:30
TAT – Devon Boyd fumble recovery in endzone (Sandoval kick) 11:26
GIL – Lynch 11 pass from Carter (2-PT failed) :26
First Downs 14 20
Total Yards 455 363
Rushes-Yards 33-242 44-251
Pass Yards 213 112
Comp-Att-Int 13-24-0 7-16-3
Penalties-Yards 13-100 11-105
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 0-0
Punts-Avg 2-31.5 4-29
RUSHING – Gilmer, Kris Boyd 6-44, Jamel Jackson, 3-24, Demarco Boyd, 6-46, Blake Lynch 10-93, Chase Tate 8-46, McLane Carter 1-(-4). Tatum, J.D. Taylor 18-95, Denarius Earl 6-53, Chaston Brooks 5-23, Devon Boyd 9-52, Josh Ivy 2-10, Tavian Ray 4-18.
PASSING – Gilmer, Carter 13-23-0--213, Lynch 0-1-0--0. Tatum, Taylor 7-12-2--112, Brooks 0-4-1--0.
RECEIVING – Gilmer, Lynch 4-115, Nick Smith 1-20, D. Boyd 3-26, K. Boyd 2-31, Chase Tate 3-21. Tatum, Martin Williams 6-90, Deyanta Robertson 1-18.