Gilmer Shines In Opening Scrimmage At Whitehouse
WHITEHOUSE -- It was only one scrimmage, but there were two obvious observations at its conclusion: Gilmer looks every bit like the Class 4A Division II contender its projected to be, and Whitehouse has some work to do.
Gilmer won the controlled portion of the scrimmage, 30-18, then dominated the live-action segment -- played in two 12-minute periods with a running clock -- by the score of 21-7 on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
While the Buckeyes' offense experienced little trouble throughout the night, it was their defense that set the tone. Gilmer forced two Whitehouse turnovers in the controlled scrimmage, and returned an interception for a touchdown during live action.
"We had a slow start but we rallied back, and our summer conditioning and training I could tell really took over," said Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor. "And I think that was huge tonight. I was really proud of our maturity, not getting too down. We had the bust in the secondary coverage and rallied back."
Junior outside linebacker Demarco Boyd (6-0, 215) ignited the Buckeyes' defensive attack with three sacks and one forced fumble. Demarco, the younger brother of 2015 mega-recruit Kris Boyd, also performed well on offense at running back with a pair of touchdown runs on the night.
"Demarco loves to play football, it's very important to him," Traylor said. "He has a great time playing, he always has. He was fun to watch tonight."
Gilmer senior quarterback McLane Carter was in command of the offense all night, only struggling with a few deep balls that were overthrown. He finished 19 of 31 passing for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
As a team, the Buckeyes ran 52 plays with the first team and amassed 562 yards, scoring six touchdowns. Gilmer's first-team rushing offense, which consisted mostly of Kris Boyd, Demarco Boyd and Jamel Jackson, totaled 240 yards and three scores.
"We're playing a ton of kids and that's always kinda yucky, but it's necessary," Traylor said. "We had some situations with substitutions that we've got to get cleaned up and some alignment problems. But for the first scrimmage, we did OK."
Following a solid showing by the offense through the first 20 plays, which included a pair of touchdowns, Whitehouse found the end zone just twice more the rest of the night -- a score by the second-teamers and a long touchdown of more than 50 yards in the live scrimmage's final minute.
Two fumbles by the first-team offense during its second set of plays put Whitehouse out of rhythm the rest of the way.
"Those two turnovers, I think that was really the thing that got us down," said Whitehouse coach Adam Cook. "From there, in my mind, I think (quarterback Jackson Allen) lost a little bit of confidence. The thing is that he's going to have to play with confidence, and he's going to have to have a short memory when things go like that."
Whitehouse's first 20 plays, which netted touchdown passes of 66 and 11 yards, resulted in 157 total yards. Allen was 8-of-14 for 125 yards, while Whitehouse ball carriers picked up 32 yards on six attempts.
However, the Wildcats picked up just 20 total yards in their next 15 plays, which were marred by a pair of lost fumbles. In the live scrimmage, Whitehouse only gained 148 yards in 26 plays -- 75 of that coming on its final drive of the night, already trailing 21-0.
"I think that this team can accomplish a lot of things, but we're not battle-tested yet," Cook said. "That's going to be the thing: can they get up and grind it out every day? We're going to be in there lifting weights in the morning and watching film. Some of these guys are fixing to get worn about by their coaches because of what they did. How are they going to respond to it?"
Gilmer scrimmages Kilgore at home Thursday before opening the season Aug. 28 against Liberty-Eylau at Tyler's Rose Stadium.
"We've got a lot of stuff to work on," Traylor said. "We run a lot of offense, and probably too much offense, but we want to try to get it all in and see if we can't get ready for (Liberty-Eylau in the season opener)."
Whitehouse will scrimmage at Carthage next Friday, then travel to Texarkana to face Texas High on Aug. 29 in the season opener.
"Everybody keeps talking about all these guys that we lost, but I'm telling you, we've got a lot of talent on this team," Cook said. "The key for this coaching staff is going to be getting these pieces to the puzzle, and figuring out where we can put them. We have one more scrimmage to figure all that out, and then we're gonna go play a real good Texas High team."