No. 3 Gilmer Buckeyes (3-0)

vs.

No. 5 Carthage Bulldogs (2-0)

7 p.m. Saturday
Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

 

Coaches

  • Gilmer: Matt Turner
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Gilmer: at Nacogdoches, Sept. 23
  • Carthage: idle

 

Playmakers

Gilmer

  • WR LaMarcus Morton, Sr., 6-1, 175 (19 catches, 425 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
  • S Kollin Hurt, Sr., 6-3, 175 (22 tackles, 1 INT)
  • QB Aaron "Poppy" Brown, Jr., 5-6, 180 (77 of 105, 1,204 yards, 13 TDs, 1 INT; 19 carries, 72 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB/LB Kelton Collier, Sr., 6-0, 218 (11 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD; 11 catches, 164 yards, 1 TD; 4 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • RB/CB Kameryn Cuevas, Sr., 6-0, 165 (14 carries, 106 yards, 3 TDs; 2 catches, 21 yards; 11 tackles, 1 PBU)
  • RB Rashaad Ward, Jr., 5-8, 210 (29 carries, 172 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 17 yards)
  • WR Red Jones, Jr., 5-11, 150 (11 catches, 129 yards, 2 TDs; 3 carries, 24 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Jeremy Kelly, Sr., 6-0, 180 (29 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 INT)

 

Carthage

  • RB Keaontay Ingram, Jr., 5-11, 198 (37 carries, 229 yards, 1 TD; 12 catches, 62 yards)
  • QB Kason Davis, Sr., 6-2, 180 (43 of 72, 523 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT)
  • WR Dee Bowens, Jr., 5-7, 140 (14 catches, 174 yards, 3 TDs)
  • WR Roderic Calloway, Sr., 6-3, 180 (8 catches, 153 yards, 1 TD)
  • OL Tanner Elliott, Sr., 6-4, 280
  • DE Tre Gatlin, Sr., 6-6, 250
  • LB Mykel Gates, Jr., 6-0, 215
  • CB Mekhi Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 180

 

Just the facts

  • Carthage and Gilmer have combined for seven state championship since 2004. Gilmer won titles in 2004, 2009, and 2014, while Carthage won it all in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013.
  • Gilmer leads the all-time series, 6-5, and has won the last three meetings, in 2011, 2014, and 2015.
  • The Buckeyes will play just three true home games this season. They played Center on Sept. 2, but only have Gladewater (Oct. 14) and Pittsburg (Nov. 4) remaining on the home schedule.
  • Gilmer is averaging 64 points and 614.7 yards per game -- 408.3 passing and 206.4 rushing.
  • The Buckeyes conclude non-district next week at Nacogdoches before beginning 7-4A Division II play Oct. 7 at Pleasant Grove.
  • Carthage is 36-6 at Bulldog Stadium, which opened prior to the 2008 season.
  • The Bulldogs are averaging 28.5 points and 383.5 yards per game -- 261.5 passing and 122 rushing.
  • Following a bye week, Carthage begins District 9-4A Division I play Sept. 30 at home against No. 10 Henderson.

 

Carthage OL Tanner Elliott. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Carthage rushing attack vs. Gilmer defensive front. Through the early part of the season, it's been the Carthage Bulldogs' passing attack that's set the tone on offense. Senior quarterback Kason Davis has thrown six touchdown passes in two games, and is averaging more than 260 yards through the air per game. Following the graduation of 4,000-yard passer Jarod Blissett and 1,500-yard receiver Jakeldric Jackson, there was concern as to how that production would be replaced in 2016. But with Davis and a receiving corps led by senior Roderic Calloway and junior Dee Bowens, the passing game has seemed to adapt just fine. Junior running back Keaontay Ingram, who emerged in the playoffs last season for Carthage, has carried 37 times the last two weeks for a total of 229 yards, and is widely viewed among East Texas' best at his position.

Gilmer LB Jeremy Kelly. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Gilmer's offense has been firing on all cylinders thus far. Not only have the Buckeyes scored at least 61 points in all three games, they're averaging well over 600 yards of offense per game. And Gilmer gets it done with tempo. Because of the fast-paced, no-huddle approach, the Buckeyes are able to generally get off more offensive snaps than their opposition. It will be up to Ingram and the Carthage running game to limit the number of possessions Gilmer and its explosive offensive attack receives. The more time Carthage can take off the clock, the better the Bulldogs will be equipped to keep pace with Gilmer's scoring ability. In the season opener, Gilmer's defense had trouble getting off the field, allowing Liberty-Eylau to run for almost 400 yards. If Carthage is able to have that kind of success on the ground, Gilmer could be in trouble.

Don't be surprised if: The atmosphere in Carthage rivals that of a playoff game. The last two seasons, Gilmer and Carthage have played at a neutral site (Longview's Lobo Stadium). But the fact that Saturday's contest features a true home and road team, should make for quite a scene. According to Carthage ISD, Bulldog Stadium seats 6,500 fans, but many are expecting an overflow crowd with it being the only game in the area taking place Saturday. Both teams are accustomed to play under the glare of bright lights, so nerves shouldn't be an issue. Expect a tight game.