GLADEWATER — There’s a method to Gladewater’s system, and that’s to be as methodical as possible.

The ninth-ranked Bears punished Tatum with their running game and defensive line play, turning a big first-half lead into a 52-8 blowout Friday night at Jack V. Murphy-Bear Stadium.

Gladewater (4-1, 1-0) couldn’t have asked for a better District 6-4A Division II opener against the Eagles (2-4, 0-1).

Gladewater running back Justice Centers scores one of his three touchdowns against Tatum on Friday night. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

The Bears had three different backs surpass the century mark on the ground, and all 452 of Gladewater’s total yards came on the ground. Tatum finished with just 127 total yards, and more than a third of that came on one play. The Eagles, always known for owning vaunted rushing attacks, finished with just 62 yards on 24 attempts.

James Reese led Gladewater’s charge with 123 yards and a touchdown, while Justice Centers (10 carries for 115 yards) and Darnell McKnight (10-106) also went over 100 yards on the ground.

Centers scored three touchdowns – two consecutively about three minutes apart in the first half to put Gladewater up 23-8 with 10 minutes left until the break. Reese and McKnight also added a touchdown apiece, with McKnight’s a 4-yarder following an 80-yard gain early in the fourth quarter to put the Bears up 45-8.

Gladewater's Daylon Mack barrels through the Tatum defensive line on Friday night in Gladewater. Mack scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the Bears' win. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Defensively, the Bears – and namely Texas A&M commit Daylon Mack – lived in the Eagles’ backfield. Mack had two sacks and three tackles for loss, while Gladewater forced Tatum into nine negative plays. The Bears had just one play for negative yards before taking two knees to end the game.

Mack added a 1-yard touchdown run to finish off an incredible 17-play, 79 yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock in the third period. That touchdown put the Bears completely out of reach, 37-8, with 50 seconds until the final quarter.

The 6-foot-2, 310-pound defensive lineman added three two-point conversion runs for good measure.

Gladewater outgained Tatum 248-67 in the first half, with all of the Bears’ yards coming on the ground. The Bears didn’t have a play for negative yards in the first two quarters.

Reese took off 55 yards to the house on the first play of the game to give Gladewater an 8-0 lead 17 seconds into the game.

Tatum running back Kyshaun Smith tries to get away from Gladewater defender Marcello Jackson on Friday night. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Tatum responded with its best drive of the first half, going 63 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run from Tavian Ray. The Eagles converted the two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8, but it was all Gladewater after that.

While the Eagles went three-and-out on their next three drives, Gladewater was dominating the trenches and the running game. Justice Centers scored back-to-back touchdowns, the second from 51 yards out.

Marcello Jackson added a 14-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left in the first half to give the Bears a dominating 31-8 advantage, the same score on the board at the half.

Tavian Ray led Tatum on the ground with 34 yards on seven carries, while Devon Boyd added 31 on four attempts. Ryan Hyde’s 43-yard catch in the early in the fourth quarter accounted for more than a third of Tatum’s total yardage.

Gladewater ran 57 plays to Tatum’s 38, with the Bears averaging more than 8 yards per play to Tatum’s 3.3.

No. 9 Gladewater 52, Tatum 8
At Jack V. Murphy-Bear Stadium, Gladewater

Tatum             8    0   0    0 --  8
Gladewater   15  16   6  15 -- 52
First Quarter
GLA—James Reese 55 run (Darnell McKnight run), 11:43
TAT—Tavian Ray 4 run (Antonio Shaw pass from J.D. Taylor), 4:44
GLA—Justice Centers 16 run (Fernando Serrano kick), 1:11
Second Quarter
GLA—Centers 51 run (Daylon Mack run), 10:01
GLA—Marcello Jackson 14 run (Mack run), 2:38
Third Quarter
GLA—Mack 1 run (kick failed), :50
Fourth Quarter
GLA—Darnell McKnight 4 run (Mack run), 8:23
GLA—Centers 16 run (Serrano kick), 7:10

                                TAT           GLA
First Downs              9                23
Total Yards              127             452
Rushes-Yards          24-62          54-452
Passing Yards          65               0
Comp.-Att.-Int.         6-14-1        0-3-0
Punts-Avg.               5-40.4         2-43.0
Fumbles-Lost           2-1              0-0
Penalties-Yards        5-35            8-65

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Tatum, Tavian Ray 7-34, Devon Boyd 4-31, Josh Ivy 4-26, Chaston Brooks 1-(-1), Kyshaun Smith 3-(-3), Denarius Earl 2-(-3), J.D. Taylor 2-(-9), Travian Ray 1-(-13). Gladewater, James Reese 13-123, Justice Centers 10-115, Darnell McKnight 10-106, Marcello Jackson 7-56, Daryl Polk 6-26, Daylon Mack 3-12, Blake Guthrie 1-10, Camron Callaway Jr. 1-5, Nick Canaguier 1-3, Team 2-(-4).
PASSING—Tatum, Taylor 6-14-1—65. Gladewater, Canaguier 0-3-0—0.
RECEIVING—Tatum, Ryan Hyde 2-54, Martin Williams 2-13, Carlos Pocasangre 1-0, Ivy 1-(-2). Gladewater, none.

Gladewater players wear socks with the No. 68 inscribed on them in memory of the late Nick Wisinger, who was killed last month in a vehicle accident. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)