CLASS 4A DIVISION II
Region II Semifinal

Gilmer Buckeyes (6-6)

vs.

No. 8 Pleasant Grove Hawks (10-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Eagle Stadium, Allen

Coaches

  • Gilmer: Matt Turner
  • Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson

Last week

Next week

  • Winner vs. Lorena or Pittsburg, 4A Division II, Region II final

Players to watch

Gilmer

  • RB Bran Webb, Sr., 5-10, 175 (124 carries, 692 yards, 8 TDs; 15 catches, 261 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/DB Tra Fluellen, Sr., 6-3, 185 (44 catches, 867 yards, 8 TDs; 4 carries, 18 yards; 25 tackles, 5 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DT Abel Euceda, Sr., 6-0, 215 (140 tackles, 17 for loss, 6 sacks, 16 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • QB Mason Hurt, Soph., 6-0, 150 (114 of 250, 1,739 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs; 15 carries, 28 yards)
  • RB Darrell Bush, Jr., 5-9, 204 (152 carries, 814 yards, 12 TDs; 12 catches, 93 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Raciel Orona, Sr. (107 tackles, 26 for loss, 9 sacks, 12 QB pressures, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • WR/DB Dylan Fluellen, Soph., 6-2, 170 (33 catches, 496 yards, 3 TDs; 15 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack)
  • OL Devon King, Jr., 6-3, 330
  • DT Ronnie McPherson, Sr., 6-4, 220 (102 tackles, 21 for loss, 7 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • WR/CB Jaydon Griffin, Soph., 5-8, 150 (10 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD; 5 carries, 22 yards; 23 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 12 PBUs)

Pleasant Grove

  • RB Bruce Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 187 (184 carries, 1,296 yards, 13 TDs; 2 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD)
  • DT Marcus Burris, Soph., 6-5, 253 (57 tackles, 11 for loss, 5 sacks, 12 QB pressures, 5 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • RB James Wiggins, Sr., 5-10, 185 (154 carries, 1,041 yards, 8 TDs; 2 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD)
  • QB Ben Harmon, Jr., 6-1, 185 (65 of 124, 1,451 yards, 21 TDs, 2 INTs; 78 carries, 335 yards, 9 TDs)
  • LB Bladen Reaves, Sr., 6-0, 195 (103 tackles, 10 for loss, 6 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
  • WR Jackson Cobb, Jr., 5-11, 160 (20 catches, 402 yards, 5 TDs; 8 carries, 35 yards)
  • FS Tyler Kelley, Sr., 5-7, 160 (74 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 5 INTs, 4 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 2 defensive TDs)
  • WR Brett Walker, Sr., 6-0, 155 (15 catches, 371 yards, 7 TDs)
  • LB Nick Martin, Soph., 5-10, 178 (93 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, 12 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • SS Ryan Pickelman, Sr. (59 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 4 INTs, 3 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles)

Just the facts

  • Gilmer is averaging 29.7 points and 378.6 yards per game – 160.3 rushing and 218.3 passing
  • The Buckeyes’ six losses are its most since 1989
  • Buckeyes sophomore quarterback Mason Hurt’s 35 pass attempts last week were his most since Week 3 against Paris
  • The cumulative record of Gilmer’s opponents is 95-42 (.693)
  • Gilmer is allowing 33.2 points per game, has 36 sacks, and has forced 18 turnovers – seven interceptions and 11 fumbles
  • Pleasant Grove is averaging 36.2 points and 415.8 yards per game – 291.5 rushing and 124.3 passing
  • The Hawks have won eight consecutive playoff games
  • Hawks junior quarterback Ben Harmon is averaging 22.3 yards per completion
  • The cumulative record of Pleasant Grove’s opponents is 83-55 (.601)
  • Pleasant Grove is allowing 17.3 points per game, has 28.5 sacks, and has forced 27 turnovers – 16 interceptions and 11 fumbles
Gilmer RB/CB Bran Webb. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Gilmer passing attack vs. Pleasant Grove secondary. In past years, the Gilmer Buckeyes have enjoyed remarkably consistent play at the quarterback position, and the results have spoken from themselves. From 2003-17, no team in East Texas won more games than Gilmer, which was 191-22 with three state championships. Gilmer was 4-6 this regular season, its first losing campaign since 1995. Injuries and instability at quarterback have been the main culprit. The Buckeyes have used a two-QB system for the most of the year with senior Cade Camp sharing reps with sophomore Mason Hurt, who has handled most of the quarterbacking duties down the stretch. But both players have been up and down in 2018, combining for a completion percentage of 47.1 to go with 15 interceptions. Gilmer will need a big performance from its quarterback(s) this week if it wishes to avenge its regular-season loss to Pleasant Grove.

Pleasant Grove CB Tyler Kelley. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

In the Oct. 19 matchup in Gilmer, Pleasant Grove prevailed 14-0, which was the first shutout for the Buckeyes since 2001. Playing in the midst of a steady rainfall all night, the Hawks never allowed Gilmer's offense to find its footing. Gilmer managed just 197 yards and turned it over twice. Camp and Hurt completed just 7 of 28 attempts for 88 yards, and threw two interceptions. The Hawks also tackled a Gilmer ball carrier in the end zone for a safety. For the season, Pleasant Grove allows only 280.8 yards of offense per game, and its defense has combined for 16 interceptions in 12 games. The Hawks have a tendency of turning opposing offenses into one-dimensional operations, which Gilmer cannot afford to have happen Friday night. The Buckeyes must have at least moderate success in the passing game to have a chance.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's rematch is low-scoring as well. The weather had a lot to do with the lack of offense in the regular-season meeting, but both defenses had a hand as well. Gilmer's calling card during the playoffs has been on the defensive side of the ball, as it has held Sunnyvale and Fairfield to a total of 38 points. The Buckeyes allowed an average of 36 points per game during the regular season, so the play on defense has obviously improved in the playoffs. Pleasant Grove has been a strong defensive team all year long, and that has been accentuated in the playoffs. The Hawks limited their first two postseason opponents -- Dallas Roosevelt and Waco Connally -- to a cumulative 4.8 yards per play. Points could be at a premium once again when Gilmer and Pleasant Grove clash for the second time in 2018.