Gilmer Dismantles Jasper, 50-21, To Set Up Rematch Against Celina
TYLER -- Another year, another time for December football for the Gilmer Buckeyes.
Aaron "Poppy" Brown set a school record for passing yards in a season and threw four touchdowns, and Gilmer pulled away in the second half to beat Jasper, 50-21, on Friday in a Class 4A Division II regional semifinal at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
Gilmer, now 12-1, gets a rematch with Celina at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium after the Buckeyes' 49-44 loss last year in the state semifinals. Gilmer has now reached the fourth round for the third consecutive time and the 10th time since 2003.
"We're just so happy for the kids. We're excited about this win because it was against a great opponent," Gilmer coach Matt Turner said. "You can't take anything for granted."
The Buckeyes' offense was about as balanced as you can get. Brown completed 22 of 30 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns. He now sits at 4,312 yards on the year and surpassed Manuel Johnson's school record of 4,102 yards in a season.
Kelton Collier led a rushing attack that put up 271 yards on the ground. Collier was responsible for 195 of those yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown.
Brown connected with Qua Heath six times for 72 yards and five times for 59 yards with Oklahoma State commit LaMarcus Morton. Desmond Jones caught three balls for 71 yards in the win. All four of Brown's touchdown passes went to different receivers.
Gilmer, which put up at least 50 points for the fourth consecutive game, scored 29 points over a 10:46 span in the third and fourth quarters to put away a Jasper team that was within seven almost midway through the third quarter.
All but 45 of Jasper's 355 yards of offense came on the ground, with DeCorrian Holmes accounting for 212 yards on 28 carries. He also scored two second-half touchdowns. Jerkerion Simmons rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries in the loss.
Jasper did all it could to control the ball and the clock to keep it away from Brown and Co., even using the first 4:16 of the third quarter to get within 21-14 after Holmes' 2-yard touchdown run that capped a 10-play drive.
But for the next 10 minutes and 46 seconds, it was all Gilmer.
Brown responded to Holmes' score with a 34-yard touchdown to Heath, Brown's second at the time.
Gilmer forced Jasper to turn the ball over on downs on its next three possessions -- all three times on fourth-and-1 -- and responded with touchdowns. The first was an 11-yard pass to Dimitri Fort to cap a six-play, 72-yard drive, and the second was a 3-yard run by Trendon Brooks. That drive only needed to last four plays and 49 seconds after Jasper gave the ball back on its own 27, and it iced the game with Gilmer ahead 43-21.
The third score might have been the Buckeyes' most impressive. Brown hit Red Jones in the middle of the end zone for a 20-yard score on fourth-and-15 to help Gilmer put its 50th point on the board.
Despite giving up 310 yards on the ground, Gilmer stopped Jasper four times on fourth-and-1 in the game and twice more made the Bulldogs turn it over on downs.
"I thought (the fourth-down stops) were such a huge part of the game," Turner said. "Their whole goal was to control the ball and our defense was able to get them off the field several times, which is a very hard thing to do."
Jasper was able to score once more on Holmes' second 2-yard touchdown run of the game, but Gilmer ran out the remaining 2:59 to get the big win.
The Bulldogs were able to stay close to Gilmer in the first half despite putting the ball on the ground four times and losing it twice, once on third-and-goal on the Buckeyes' 1-yard line.
Holmes rushed for 152 yards in the first half, with 61 of those happening on an eight-play, 69 yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Leontay Sells to Lorenzo Thomas to make the score 14-7 Gilmer with 7:52 left in the second quarter.
It took Gilmer just over four minutes to answer, however. After the Buckeyes sacked Sells on fourth-and-13 and took over on Jasper's 43, Kameryn Cuevas punched it in for a 3-yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 21-7 lead at the break.
"We've got some talented players and our coaches do a great job with our scheme," Turner said. "They're just able to make the plays and take advantage of opportunities."
The Buckeyes will face a Celina team that beat Pleasant Grove 23-19 on Friday in their regional semifinal game. The Bobcats finished second in the state after knocking Gilmer out of the postseason in 2015, and now the Buckeyes get a chance at revenge.
"Just having the opportunity to be in round four and move on, we're grateful for that," Turner said. "Celina does a great job and they have great kids. We'll go to work because we know what we have in front of us. We're just excited for the opportunity."
Gilmer 50, Jasper 21
Class 4A Division II Region II Semifinal
At CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
Jasper 0 7 7 7 -- 21
Gilmer 14 7 15 14 -- 50
GIL--LaMarcus Morton 10 pass from Aaron 'Poppy' Brown (Adan Ibarra kick), 6:39
GIL--Kelton Collier 10 run (Ibarra kick), 1:44
JAS--Lorenzo Thomas 7 pass from Leontay Sells (Rafael Mijares kick), 7:52
GIL--Kameryn Cuevas 3 run (Ibarra kick), 3:38
JAS--DeCorrian Holmes 2 run (Mijares kick), 7:44
GIL--Qua Heath 34 pass from Brown (Ibarra kick), 5:23
GIL--Dimitri Fort 11 pass from Brown (Cuevas run), 1:39
GIL--Trendon Brooks 3 run (Lucas Enloe kick), 10:29
GIL--Red Jones 20 pass from Brown (Enloe kick), 6:37
JAS--Holmes 2 run (Mijares kick), 2:59
First Downs 16 29
Total Yards 355 548
Rushes-Yards 58-310 32-271
Passing Yards 45 267
Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-8-0 22-30-0
Punts-Avg. 1-31.0 1-23.0
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 3-15 3-16
RUSHING--Jasper, DeCorrian Holmes 28-212, Jerkerion Simmons 20-92, Lorenzo Thomas 1-2, Leontay Sells 9-(-6). Gilmer, Kelton Collier 17-195, Aaron 'Poppy' Brown 3-29, Kameryn Cuevas 5-21, Dylan Fuller 2-12, Trendon Brooks 2-6, Micah McMillian 2-4, Red Jones 1-4.
PASSING--Jasper, Sells 3-8-0--45 .Gilmer, Brown 22-30-0--267.
RECEIVING--Jasper, Thomas 3-45. Gilmer, Qua Heath 6-72, LaMarcus Morton 5-59, Desmond Jones 3-71, Dimitri Fort 3-35, Jones 2-23, Collier 2-2, Brooks 1-5.