Gilmer BUCkeyes
vs.
AtlantA Rabbits

7:30 p.m. Thursday
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler

Coaches
Gilmer: Jeff Traylor
Atlanta: Matt McClure

Next week
Gilmer: at Plano Prestonwood Christian
Atlanta: vs. Daingerfield

Playmakers
Gilmer

  • RB/LB Josh Walker, Jr., 6-1, 220
  • NG Xavier Fluellen, Sr., 6-1, 260
  • WR/CB Trey Washington, Sr., 6-1, 170 (committed to SMU)
  • QB/FS Tanner Barr, Jr., 6-1, 175
  • QB/H-back Jaidon Parrish, Jr., 6-0, 180
  • ATH Chase Tate, Soph., 5-5, 140
  • LB Adam Witcher, Sr., 5-11, 180
  • OL Brady English, Sr., 6-4, 255
  • RB Kris Boyd, Soph.

Atlanta

  • RB Corion Webster, Sr., 6-0, 190 (committed to Oklahoma State)
  • ATH Everett Dickerson, Sr., 6-0, 175 (committed to SMU)
  • TE Kadarian Robinson, Sr., 6-3, 240
  • QB Chase Musgrove, Soph., 5-11, 180
  • LB Kenneth Houff, Sr., 6-2, 200
  • WR Nick Stiger, Sr., 5-10, 170
  • OG Brandon Parkman, Jr., 6-2, 275

Just the facts

  • Gilmer has won five consecutive games against Atlanta. The average score in those five games is 48.8-17.8. That includes last year's 48-14 first-round Gilmer win against the Rabbits.
  • Thursday's game is the 44th meeting between Gilmer and Atlanta. The Rabbits lead the all-time series 26-17.
  • Atlanta went 18-1 against Gilmer from 1966-2003.
  • Atlanta RB Corion Webster has had identical 18-carry, 200-yard games in the past two season openers against Gilmer. He's rushed for 584 yards in three games against the Buckeyes.
  • Webster and teammate Everett Dickerson combined for 2,651 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns in 2011.
  • Gilmer returns only two offensive starters, but seven defensive.
  • Atlanta returns nine offensive starters, but only four defensive.

Key matchup: Atlanta's ground game vs. Gilmer's front seven. The Rabbits boast what is perhaps Class 3A's best backfield tandem in Corion Webster and Everett Dickerson, a duo who has had a lot of success in the past against the Buckeyes despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Gilmer returns the majority of its defense, which allowed a respectable 20.6 points per game in 2011. The Buckeyes' "50 front" 3-4 defense, which generally plays its outside linebackers walked up to the line of the scrimmage, will put extra defenders at the point of attack. Impacting the play there will be key. If Webster and Dickerson get loose beyond there, they're going to be hard to stop, even with veteran inside linebacker Adam Witcher and Division I-bound cornerback Trey Washington playing in the back six.

Chalk talk

  • Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor on his approach to containing Webster and Dickerson: "We have played Webster three times and he has gone for over 200 every time, so we obviously don't know what to do or we would have by now. Dickerson is just as talented. I don't think we have ever played a team with two Division I tailbacks. Coach McClure has done a great job with those kids.
  • Traylor on his quarterback situation: "We will probably play Tanner and Jaidon. McLane is hurt so he will not play."
  • Traylor on what he thinks is the key matchup: "Our inexperience vs. their experience."

Don't be surprised if: Atlanta makes it a much closer game than the recent matchups, but falls just short. Gilmer will experience some growing pains with so many new offensive players, but the defense is solid, and the Buckeyes always find ways to score points. That said, Atlanta has the "home run-hitting ability," so to speak, to strike without warning with their two game-breaking call carriers. If the Rabbits get a couple of quick scores early, the Buckeyes' young offense could struggle to keep pace.