Gilmer Dominates Scrimmage Against Short-Handed Whitehouse
GILMER — The last time Gilmer lined up across from another opponent the Buckeyes were playing for a state title. The stakes were considerably lower Friday night at Buckeye Stadium, but that didn’t stop Gilmer from executing at a high level.
Gilmer scored three times in both portion’s of its scrimmage victory over Whitehouse, which was held off the scoreboard while playing without several projected starters.
“It’s a scrimmage, nothing more than that,” said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor, who led the Buckeyes to the Class 3A Division II state championship game last season. “The kids played hard, we looked ugly at times and did some good things at times. But we’re always excited when we play hard.”
Whitehouse was missing six regulars — quarterback and Texas Tech commit Patrick Mahomes, receivers Jaylon Dews and Coleman Patterson, offensive linemen Austin Dickerson and Marcus Brown and linebacker Skylar Simon — either because of injury or limited practice time.
The first half of the scrimmage consisted of each team’s starting unit running 20 consecutive plays, followed by the second-teamers going for 15 straight. The event concluded with a 24-minute half played with a running clock.
The Buckeyes, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A by the Associated Press to begin the season, did most of its damage on offense with big plays.
After netting just four yards on its first five plays in the controlled scrimmage, Gilmer senior quarterback Tanner Barr hit senior Devondrick Dixon in the seam for a 70-yard touchdown. Five plays later, Barr hooked up with junior Nick Smith for another 70-yard scoring strike as Smith was able to beat his defender in one-on-one coverage down the sideline.
Desmond Pollard hauled in a 35-yard touchdown reception later in the controlled portion.
“We hit three big ones in the (controlled) scrimmage,” Traylor said. “We couldn’t dink them very much, but we hit some big plays. We’ve got some talent out there, so we’ll be better at that than we have been the last few years.”
In game action, Gilmer scored on its opening drive with a 42-yard field goal by Pablin Olivares. On the Buckeyes’ next offensive series, Barr hit junior running back Kris Boyd out of the backfield, and the speedster did the rest by outracing the Whitehouse defense 60 yards to the end zone for a 10-0 lead.
Gilmer scored one more time with about a minute remaining when Smith intercepted a tipped pass and muscled his way into the end zone from 8 yards out.
“He’s kinda been off the radar, but he’ll be getting on the radar pretty soon,” Traylor said of Smith.
With Mahomes out, all the snaps at quarterback went to junior Jackson Allen, who was getting his first state of varsity action for Whitehouse (ranked No. 6 in 4A by the AP)
“This was a great experience for Jackson to come out and get all of the snaps tonight,” said Whitehouse first-year coach Adam Cook. “It’s just a different speed and we weren’t clicking. We had some receivers open we just missed. And it seemed like when we did hit them they dropped it. But it was a good experience for these young guys to get out here.”
Gilmer scrimmages at New Boston next Thursday before opening the season at home against Atlanta on Aug. 29. Whitehouse scrimmages Mount Pleasant at home next Friday and opens the regular season at Hallsville on Aug. 30.
“The main thing we want to see is we want to get these guys healed up that are kinda banged up,” Cook said. “I want to see how they respond when we have our next practice and see what kind of fire they have.”