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Gilmer’s High-Flying Offense One Win From Playing For State Championship

Gilmer quarterback Tanner Barr looks for an open receiver during the Buckeyes’ 41-34 playoff win over Henderson last Friday in Longview. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Class 3A Division II
State Semifinal

Graham Steers (13-1)
vs.
Gilmer Buckeyes (13-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Vernon Newsom Stadium, Mansfield

Coaches
Graham: Kenny Davidson
Gilmer: Jeff Traylor

Road To The Final Four

Graham

  • Bi-district: def. Lake Worth, 44-7
  • Area: def. Glen Rose, 42-28
  • Regional semifinal: def. Midland Greenwood, 41-23
  • Region I final: def. Gatesville, 40-35

 

Gilmer

  • Bi-district: def. Canton, 51-36
  • Area: def. Atlanta, 57-13
  • Regional semifinal: def. Argyle, 42-21
  • Region I final: def. Henderson, 41-34

 

Next week: Winner plays Navasota (14-0) or Bellville (11-3) in the 3A Division II state champioship, 4 p.m. Friday (Dec. 21), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

 

Playmakers

Graham

  • QB Ben Davis, Jr., 5-11, 175 (233 of 331, 3,124 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INTs; 111 carries, 410 yards, 12 TDs)
  • RB Dillon Gonzales, Jr., 5-9, 160 (208 carries, 1,323 yards, 23 TDs; 42 catches, 542 yards, 5 TDs)
  • WR Bryce Reeves, Jr., 6-1, 175 (67 catches, 995 yards, 9 TDs)
  • RB Hagen Hughes, Soph., 5-10, 165 (140 carries, 826 yards, 7 TDs; 23 catches, 173 yards)
  • LB Spur Hearne, Jr., 5-10, 180 (124 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 pass break-up)
  • WR Jerrod Mahan, Sr., 6-2, 200 (15 catches, 353 yards, 3 TDs; 73 tackles, 1 sack, 7 INTs, 6 pass break-ups, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
  • DB Landon Gonzales, Soph., 5-9, 160 (44 tackles, 5 INTs, 8 pass break-ups)
  • WR/DB Hunter Jones, Sr., 5-10, 165 (30 catches, 380 yards, 3 TDs; 35 tackles, 5 INTs, 4 pass break-ups, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • LB Hunter Walls, Sr., 5-10, 205 (115 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 pass break-up, 1 forced fumble)
  • DE Jesse Ramos, Jr, 6-1, 185 (67 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles)

 

Gilmer

  • QB Tanner Barr, Jr., 6-1, 175 (220 of 361, 2,697 yards, 22 TDs, 13 INTs; 115 carries, 795 yards, 5 TDs)
  • RB Kris Boyd, Soph., 5-11, 185 (136 carries, 1,175 yards, 17 TDs; 17 catches, 196 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB/LB Josh Walker, Jr., 6-1, 220 (82 carries, 532 yards, 13 TDs; 17 catches, 272 yards, 3 TDs; 106 tackles, 6 sacks, 30 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries; committed to Texas A&M)
  • NG Xavier Fluellen, Sr., 6-1, 260 (98 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 5 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
  • ATH Chase Tate, Soph., 5-5, 150 (37 carries, 251 yards, 1 TD; 55 catches, 481 yards, 3 TDs)
  • RB Jamel Jackson, Soph. (67 carries, 585 yards, 8 TDs)
  • WR/CB Trey Washington, Sr., 6-1, 175 (30 catches, 332 yards, 2 TDs; 57 tackles, 2 INTs, 5 pass break-ups; committed to SMU)
  • LB Demarco Boyd, Fr. (55 tackles, 6 sacks, 22 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
  • ATH Jaidon Parrish, Jr., 6-0, 180 (29 catches, 379 yards, 3 TDs)
  • WR Patrick Finch, Sr. (34 catches, 404 yards, 3 TDs)

 

Just the facts

  • Since 2004, Graham has compiled a record of 72-36. With one more win, the Steers will equal the most single-season wins program history, set in 2009.
  • Graham is one win away from reached the state championship for the second time since ’09. That year, the Steers fell to Carthage in the final, 13-12.
  • The Steers are averaging 39.4 points and 415.2 yards per game.
  • The combined record of Graham’s opponents this year is 88-73.
  • Graham is a plus-20 in the turnover department. The Steers have racked up 25 interceptions and recovered 14 fumbles.
  • Gilmer is in its fifth state semifinal in program history. The Buckeyes are 4-0 all-time in the semifinal round. They defeated Kermit in 1981, Snyder in 2004, Abilene Wylie in 2007 and Cuero in 2009.
  • Buckeyes head coach Jeff Taylor is 30-9 all-time in the playoffs.
  • Gilmer is averaging 39 points and 453.7 yards per game.
  • The combined record of Gilmer’s opponents this year is 83-57.
  • Seven different ball carries have at least one touchdown on the season for Gilmer, while 10 different receivers have a TD.

 

 

Gilmer RB/LB Josh Walker. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

 

Gilmer WR Chase Tate. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup:Gilmer passing game vs. Graham secondary. It seems as if the Buckeyes have always had quality play from the quarterback position. And that’s no different this season with junior Tanner Barr. He averages 192.6 yards per game through the air and completes 60 percent of his passes. Gilmer runs it about 56 percent of the time, but several of its big plays come from the passing game. Barr will be going up against a Graham defense that’s been responsible for 25 interceptions on the season. Barr has thrown at least one interception in all but three of Gilmer’s games on the year, but he’s done a good job of limiting the mistakes. Only once has Barr thrown more than one pick in a game. If Gilmer can keep Graham’s big-play secondary from causing turnovers in bunches, the Buckeyes should feel pretty confident. Graham’s defense has at least one interception in all 14 games this season. The Steers had four interceptions in a game on two separate occasions. The good thing about Gilmer’s passing attack is that it’s not centered around two or three playmakers. The Buckeyes have 15 players with at least one catch and eight players with at least 13 receptions.

 

Chalk talk

  • Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor on what stands out about Graham’s offense: “They throw the football very well. They were the state runner-up in 7-on-7 this summer. They’ve got a very good running back in Gonzales, two good receivers and very qood quarterback.”

 

Don’t be surprised if: Gilmer comes out of the gate fast after slow starts each of the last two weeks. The Buckeyes overcame a fumble on their first snap of the game two weeks ago, falling behind Argyle within the first minute. Last week, Gilmer fell behind district rival Henderson by 17 points late in the first half. The Buckeyes were fortunate enough to come back and win each game, but the deeper they go in the playoffs, the better the competition becomes. Gilmer might not be so fortunate if it were to fall behind big to Graham on Friday night.

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