Gilmer Builds Big Lead, Coasts to 51-36 Bi-District Victory Against Canton
TYLER -- Tanner Barr accounted for almost 300 first-half yards and Gilmer built a 29-point third-quarter lead en route to a 51-36 win against Canton in Thursday's Class 3A Division II Region II bi-district football playoff at TMF Rose Stadium.
Gilmer (10-1), which finished the regular season ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press Class 3A Poll, plays Atlanta or Wills Point in a 3A Division II Region II area playoff next week. Atlanta and Wills Point play 7:30 p.m. Friday at Longview's Lobo Stadium.
Barr threw for 202 first-half yards and ran for 96 yards in the first two quarters. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior finished 18 of 26 for 274 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, while rushing nine times for 109 yards. Gilmer garnered a 535-279 total yardage advantage against Canton (8-3).
Gilmer led 36-14 at halftime behind 349 total yards. Sophomore Chase Tate scored on a 13-yard touchdown run before Canton's Reece Sumner returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to cut Gilmer's lead to 43-22 four minutes into the third. Gilmer then staged a nine-play, 56-yard drive capped by junior Josh Walker's bullish 24-yard touchdown run for a 51-22 lead with 5:33 left in the quarter.
Walker spearheaded a Gilmer pass rush that terrorized Canton sophomore QB Chandler Eiland the entire night. Walker got three huge hits on Eiland in addition to a strip-sack forced fumble. Gilmer senior Daniel Smith and junior Bryan Restine also had a sack apiece, and senior Xavier Fluellen had another big hit on an Eiland throw to account for one of the more than half dozen blows the Buckeyes dished out on the young quarterback.
But Eiland fought back in the third and fourth quarters, when Gilmer committed three turnovers in the final 13 minutes. That allowed Canton to cut Gilmer's victory margin to 15 points on touchdown throws of 18 and 7 yards to senior Connor Eiland. The seven-yarder made the score 51-36 with 2:16 remaining.
"We didn't take care of the football, and that's something we've done all year," said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor. "Our backs need to take care of the ball or we'll be done next week."
Gilmer recovered an onside kick after each of Canton's final two touchdowns.
Canton did not commit a turnover, while Gilmer suffered four. Canton turned the final two into 14 points for the 15-point margin.
Gilmer held Eiland to five completions in his first 15 pass attempts, but he finished 11 of 25 for 157 yards and two scores. Dakota Hesskew ran seven times for 71 yards, including a 54-yard second-quarter touchdown that cut Gilmer's lead to 29-14 with 1:37 left in the half. Gilmer then got a 41-yard DeVondrick Dixon kickoff return and covered 45 yards in seven plays running its two-minute offense. Barr hit Patrick Finch for an eight-yard touchdown and 36-14 advantage 10 seconds before halftime.
Junior Jaidon Parrish led Gilmer with five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Jamel Jackson carried 11 times for 59 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore Kris Boyd had 43 yards and a score on 13 carries. Boyd also had three catches for 50 yards.
Gilmer's Slade Morris caught a 50-yard touchdown pass. Tate had four touches for 50 yards.
Canton's Colton Williams caught four passes for 94 yards. Connor Eiland caught three passes for 37 yards, including the two fourth-quarter scoring strikes. Gilmer held the agile Chandler Eiland to six yards on 11 rushes.
Gilmer has won six consecutive first-round games.
Class 3A Division II Region II
No. 10 Gilmer 51, Canton 36
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Canton -- 7 7 8 14 -- 36
Gilmer -- 21 15 15 0 -- 51
GIL -- Jaidon Parrish 21 pass from Tanner Barr (Pablin Olivares kick) -- 7:36
CAN -- Reece Sumner 6 run (Scott Munroe kick) -- 5:30
GIL -- Jamel Jackson 4 run (Olivares kick) -- 3:59
GIL -- Kris Boyd 1 run (Olivares kick) -- 0:04
GIL -- Slade Morris 50 pass from Barr (Josh Walker run) -- 2:11
CAN -- Dakota Hesskew 54 run (Munroe kick) -- 1:37
GIL -- Patrick Finch 11 pass from Barr (Olivares kick) -- 0:10
GIL -- Chase Tate 13 run (Olivares kick) -- 8:18
CAN -- Sumner 85 kickoff return (Sumner run) -- 8:04
GIL -- Walker 24 run (Walker run) -- 5:33
CAN -- Connor Eiland 16 pass from Chandler Eiland (kick failed -- 6:55
CAN -- Connor Eiland 7 pass from Chandler Eiland (Sumner run) -- 2:16
First downs 12 24
Rushes-Yards 27-122 43-261
Pass Yards 157 274
Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-25-0 18-26-1
Penalties-Yards 7-65 6-55
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 5-3
Punts-Avg. 5-33.2 0-0