Gilmer Lays Historic Beating On Celina + Advances To Fifth Title Game Since 2004
DALLAS -- It's not to supposed to be this easy. The Gilmer Buckeyes just make it look that way.
Gilmer scored 33 first-quarter points en route a 67-14 demolition of Celina in their Class 4A Division II semifinal Friday night at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium, advancing the Buckeyes to their fifth state championship game since 2004.
The Buckeyes (15-0) will meet West Orange-Stark (13-2), a 42-21 winner over Sinton also on Friday night, at noon next Friday from Arlington's AT&T Stadium for the 4A Division II title. Gilmer will be shooting for its third state title in school history, having won it all before in 2004 and 2009.
"It's pretty special, especially when you're from there," said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor. "I've got a lot of people in Gilmer and it's been a great run. It's been a blast. We've got some more work to do, but getting there is a great accomplishment. We can't forget that."
Gilmer senior quarterback McLane Carter tossed six touchdown passes, while multi-talented athlete Blake Lynch put up 203 yards of offense, scored four touchdowns, and came up with an interception on defense.
The points allowed and margin of defeat were the worst in the history of Celina football, which owns a state record-tying eight titles.
Meanwhile, Gilmer surpassed the 2011 Refugio team for second-most points in a season. The Buckeyes now have 915 on the year, well short of Aledo's record of 1,023, set just last year.
Gilmer played with a short field for most of the night, thanks to a solid defensive performance and a couple of unsuccessful Celina (12-3) onside-kick attempts. The Buckeyes needed only 12 plays to score its five first-quarter touchdowns.
"You know that if you get out there and put up points fast, you're going to have them rattled a little bit," said Carter, whose first four completions went for touchdowns. "So, that's our goal. It might get in their head a little bit. I don't know if it did or not, but we did a good job tonight."
Carter finished the night 9 of 13 passing for 248 yards, hitting four different receivers for his six touchdowns. He will enter the title game with more than 3,700 passing yards to go along with 46 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 272 attempts.
"All these athletes that I have, I can throw it up to them and they can go run under it," Carter said. "I've got some great talent and great speed, and my linemen held up great for me tonight. We just played a great game."
Lynch, a senior Baylor commit who plans on graduating at the Christmas break, had four catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 55 yards and a score on four rushing attempts.
For the season, Lynch has 2,105 yards of offense and has accounted for 36 touchdowns.
"I can say (our offense) amazes me, but we work really hard throughout the week to push the tempo," Lynch said. "We work every single situation. We just get the ball to our playmakers and we do what we can."
Gilmer senior running back Kris Boyd ran for 75 yards and a touchdown on six carries, and added a 26-yard scoring reception, giving one of the state's most coveted uncommitted recruits 1,698 total yards and 30 touchdowns on the year.
Jamel Jackson, Chase Tate, Quinn Fluellen and Nick Smith also scored touchdown for Gilmer, which put up 538 yards -- 270 rushing and 268 passing.
"We've got great players," Traylor said. "They've been running the same system their whole life. They grow up from the fifth grade on running this system. They know it well, they execute it well and I've got great coaches. When you get all that together, you've got some magic. We've got some magic right now."
While Gilmer was seemingly scoring at will, the Buckeyes' defense did a number on a potent Celina offense, holding the Bobcats to 270 yards and forcing four turnovers. Celina senior quarterback Nathan Elliott, a North Carolina commit, was 13 of 30 passing for 131 yards and three interceptions. He added a team-high 62 rushing yards on 12 carries.
"(Our defense) never gets enough credit," Traylor said. "We're playing as fast as we can, we're scoring all those points and our defense comes right back out there all the time."
The game could not have started worse for Celina, as Gilmer's Blevin Burns recovered an onside kick at the Bobcats' 48 to begin.
Two plays later, Carter fired a strike down the near sideline to Lynch for a 37-yard touchdown. Gilmer junior linebacker Demarco Boyd recovered an Elliott fumble at the Celina 24 on the ensuing possession, and Carter found Lynch again for a 29-yard touchdown on third-and-15. The extra point clanked off the left upright, and Gilmer led 13-0 just 2:05 into the game.
Celina was forced to punt on its next series, and on the third play of Gilmer's next drive, Carter connected with Fluellen for a 15-yard touchdown that pushed the Buckeyes' lead to 20-0 with 6:33 to play in the first.
A bad snap forced Celina's punter to take off on the next series, but Gilmer corralled him for a 2-yard loss, which set the Buckeyes up at the Celina 26. Kris Boyd caught a screen pass from Carter on first down and bolted all the way into the end zone, and after another missed PAT, Gilmer led 26-0.
Celina finally found some continuity on its next possession, but Elliott was picked off by Burns inside the Gilmer 5-yard line, and the Gilmer cornerback returned the pick to the Buckeyes' 47. On the third play of the the Buckeyes' ensuing drive and the final play of the opening quarter, Lynch took the direct snap at quarterback and raced 44 yards to the end zone for a 33-0 Gilmer lead.
"He's an athlete," Carter said of Lynch. "He can play quarterback, he can run the ball, he can catch it, he makes plays on defense. He's one of those teammates you don't come across very often, and he's a humble kid. It's a blessing to be around a guy like that."
Gilmer did not score in the second quarter, while Celina got on the board with a Nick Grant 1-yard run, as the Buckeyes went into halftime with a 33-7 lead.
The Buckeyes scored four times in the third quarter -- a Jackson 2-yard run, Lynch 21-yard run, and touchdown passes of 60 and 49 yards from Carter to Lynch and Smith, respectively. Tate's 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter finished off the scoring for the Buckeyes.
Now, the focus shifts to next week, when Gilmer's 21 seniors will play their final game as a Buckeye -- for the state title.
"It would mean a lot for me and my team," Lynch said. "I'm about to graduate early; I've only got about two weeks left of school, so I'm not going to be around these guys much longer. Going out with a win would mean a lot."
No. 3 Gilmer 67, Celina 14
Class 4A Division II Semifinal
At Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas
Celina 0 7 7 0 -- 14
Gilmer 33 0 28 6 -- 67
GIL--Blake Lynch 37 pass from McLane Carter (Juan Esquivel kick), 11:49.
GIL--Lynch 29 pass from Carter (kick failed), 9:55.
GIL--Quinn Fluellen 15 pass from Carter (Esquivel kick), 6:33.
GIL--Kris Boyd 26 pass from Carter (kick failed), 5:10.
GIL--Lynch 44 run (Esquivel kick), :00.
CEL--Nick Grant 1 run (Eduardo Paulino kick), 8:11.
GIL--Jamel Jackson 2 run (Esquivel kick), 10:33.
GIL--Boyd 21 run (Esquivel kick), 9:12.
GIL--Lynch 60 pass from Carter (Esquivel kick), 8:11.
CEL--Shane Gerths 1 run (Paulino kick), 6:47.
GIL--Nick Smith 49 pass from Carter (Esquivel kick), 6:24.
GIL--Chase Tate 11 run (kick failed), 9:57.
First Downs 21 21
Total Yards 270 538
Rushes-Yards 43-140 43-270
Passing Yards 130 268
Comp.-Att.-Int. 14-31-3 10-18-0
Punts-Avg. 5-39.2 1-27.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 4-40 11-105
RUSHING--Celina, Nathan Elliott, 12-62, Jarren Alexander 10-44, Trace Young 6-17, Trent Lindblad 3-11, Collin Schmid 1-9, Shane Gerths 2-1, Luke Reeder 3-1, Nick Grant 2-(-1), John Franklin 3-(-2), Will Smith 1-(-2). Gilmer, Kris Boyd 6-75, Blake Lynch 4-55, McLane Carter 3-32, Jamel Jackson 7-30, Chase Tate 7-27, Desmond Jones 2-25, Trendon Brooks 4-19, Ryen Lawhorn 2-12, Demarco Boyd 1-(-1), Zac Spears 2-(-4).
PASSING--Celina, Elliott 13-30-3--131, Smith 1-1-0--(-1). Gilmer, Carter 9-13-0--248, Spears 1-5-0--20.
RECEIVING--Celina, Young 5-53, Schmid 3-34, Chase Marler 2-17, Braydon Watson 1-11, Franklin 1-9, Alexander 1-8, Travin Jowers 1-(-2). Gilmer, Lynch 4-148, Quinn Fluellen 2-19, Nick Smith 1-49, Kris Boyd 1-26, Zod Heath 1-20, Tate 1-6.