Gilmer Safety Kollin Hurt Wins ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week
You know what made Gilmer unbeatable through its 26-game winning streak entering Friday's Class 4A Division II bi-district tilt with Pleasant Grove? The Buckeyes would hit you with a three-pronged attack -- defense, offense and special teams.
For whatever reason, the defending state champions were mostly playing with one acceptable unit in the middle third of the Hawks' increasingly plausible postseason upset.
But in a game where the Hawks benefitted from seven Gilmer turnovers -- five on offense and two on special teams -- it was, not so ironically, their own four which did them in. They ultimately needed another touchdown as the Buckeyes recomposed themselves offensively and gave away four potential opportunities to get one.
Maybe 'gave away' is too strong of a phrase.
Gilmer safety Kollin Hurt took two possessions away to help his struggling team keep afloat for the ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week honor.
The junior reacted and adjusted faster than receivers on balls nearly foolproof in terms of retaining possession.
His first pick was the result beating the intended target to the highest point in a one-on-one battle.
His second came on a throw to a running back's back shoulder. The back gave up on the catch and set up for a collision around the ball while Hurt crashed down and made the play from about seven yards upfield.
Neither interception resulted in points.
Pick No. 1 was derailed by an unnecessary clipping penalty on his 40-yard return to Pleasant Grove's 25-yard line in a third-quarter situation Gilmer trailed, 27-21. But it came on the heels of the Buckeyes fumbling away another go-ahead opportunity on a punt return to the Hawks' 35-yard line.
Interception No. 2 preserved Gilmer's fourth-quarter lead and gave the team a chance to run out the clock ahead a turnover on downs on fourth-and-2. Pleasant Grove's stop gave it one last chance to win the game, but, out of its element as a balanced offense, it also turned the ball over on downs.
Where Hurt's interceptions ultimately hurt the Hawks was on the clock. And everything counted on defense in this game.
Hurt jumped to seven interceptions in 11 games.
We're not exactly sure where Hurt ranks in interceptions among his East Texas peers, as coaches are still sending in their weekly stats. But he could be as high as in a tie for second place.
There were two players that finished the regular season with six or more interceptions while Hurt stood at five. West Rusk's Kevin Jones had nine and moved to 10 while Harleton's Cody Fregia had six and went to seven.
Gilmer's safety has at least one more game to reel those two players in. The Buckeyes will face Mexia in the area round Friday at Mesquite's Memorial Stadium.
ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Defensive Players of the Week
- Week 12 (Nov. 12-Nov. 14) -- Kollin Hurt, DB, Gilmer
- Week 11 (Nov. 5-Nov. 7) -- Malik Estell, LB, Hooks
- Week 10 (Oct. 29-Oct. 31) -- Brazos Hesskew, LB, Canton
- Week 9 (Oct. 22-Oct. 26) -- Breylan Bradford, DL, Spring Hill
- Week 8 (Oct. 15-Oct. 17) -- Kevin Jones, DB, West Rusk
- Week 7 (Oct. 8-Oct. 10) -- Devon Goguen, DL, Mineola
- Week 6 (Oct. 1-Oct. 3) -- Chase Boyd, LB, Winona
- Week 5 (Sept. 24-Sept. 26) -- Pierre Leonard, DL, John Tyler
- Week 4 (Sept. 17-Sept. 19) -- Noah Sneed, DB, Mineola
- Week 3 (Sept. 10-Sept. 12) -- Joe Wright, LB, West Rusk
- Week 2 (Sept. 3-Sept. 5) -- Brewster Griffith, LB, Carthage
- Week 1 (Aug. 27-Aug. 29) -- Ameron Dean, DB, Longview