Rejuvenated Gilmer Defense Gets Jasper on Friday in Tyler
CLASS 4A DIVISION II
Region II Semifinal
No. 7 Gilmer Buckeyes (11-1)
Jasper Bulldogs (10-2)
6 p.m. Friday
CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Jasper: Darrell Barbay
- Winner faces Pleasant Grove or Celina, Class 4A Division II quarterfinal
- WR LaMarcus Morton, Sr., 6-1, 185 (54 catches, 1,057 yards, 11 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
- S Kollin Hurt, Sr., 6-3, 185 (111 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 INTs, 4 PBUs; committed to Louisiana Tech)
- QB Aaron "Poppy" Brown, Jr., 5-9, 180 (290 of 433, 4,045 yards, 38 TDs, 10 INTs; 64 carries, 243 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB/LB Kelton Collier, Sr., 6-0, 218 (74 carries, 604 yards, 14 TDs; 21 catches, 246 yards, 1 TDs; 72 tackles, 21 for loss, 8 sacks, 6 QB pressures)
- RB/CB Kameryn Cuevas, Sr., 6-0, 165 (66 carries, 440 yards, 6 TDs; 13 catches, 113 yards, 2 TDs; 51 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 sack, 1 QB pressure, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
- LB Jeremy Kelly, Sr., 6-0, 180 (108 tackles, 19 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries, 2 INTs, 1 PBU)
- WR Red Jones, Jr., 5-11, 150 (52 catches, 793 yards, 8 TDs; 24 carries, 138 yards, 3 TDs)
- DT Wilson Nugent, Soph., 6-3, 190 (55 tackles, 18 for loss, 6 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 2 PBUs)
- RB Kellian Weathered, Sr., 5-7, 183 (198 carries, 1,537 yards, 18 TDs; 3 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Jerkerion Simmons, Jr., 5-8, 170 (105 carries, 1,003 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR Lorenzo Thomas, Sr., 6-5, 180 (22 catches, 398 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB Leontay Sells, Jr., 5-9, 150 (36 of 68, 619 yards, 14 TDs, 3 INTs; 36 carries, 120 yards, 1 TD)
- RB DeCorrian Holmes, Sr., 5-11, 205 (70 carries, 698 yards, 7 TDs; 6 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD)
- OL Sabian Bluitt, Sr., 6-5, 330
- OL/DL Trajan Williams, Sr., 6-2, 250
- LB Juvenile Lee, Sr., 5-8, 180
Just the facts
- Gilmer is averaging 49.7 points and 537.2 yards per game -- 194.8 rushing and 342.3 passing.
- In last week's win over Melissa, the Buckeyes allowed a season-low six points, and made 16 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including four sacks.
- Gilmer is 8-2 in the third round of the playoffs since 2004.
- Buckeyes quarterback is 58 yards away from breaking the school's single-season record of 4,102 passing yards set by Manuel Johnson in 2004.
- Jasper is averaging 34.8 points and 368.7 yards per game -- 316.3 rushing and 52.4 passing.
- The Bulldogs have competed just six passes in their playoff wins over Pittsburg and Aubrey.
- Jasper has not advanced beyond the third round of the playoffs since reaching the state title game in 2004 -- a 49-37 loss to Gilmer.
- The Bulldogs' two losses this season -- Silsbee and Hardin-Jefferson -- came by a combined nine points.
Key matchup: Gilmer passing attack vs. Jasper secondary. It's been a remarkable debut season at quarterback for Buckeyes junior Aaron "Poppy" Brown, who comes into Friday's game needing just 58 yards to break the school's single-season passing yardage record. Former Oklahoma and NFL receiver Manuel Johnson set the mark during Gilmer's state championship season of 2004 with 4,102 yards. That was in 16 games, and Brown can accomplish that feat in 12-plus contests. And like most years, Gilmer has no shortage of playmakers at receiver. Six different Buckeye pass-catchers have least 21 receptions on the year, and seven have caught multiple touchdowns. Oklahoma State commit LaMarcus Morton is the most dangerous of the bunch, having eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau with 11 TD's on just 54 catches.
Jasper's defensive backs will be put to the test against Gilmer, which substitutes at a high rate on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs' secondary could benefit from a heavy pass rush, but three factors are at work against. 1), Gilmer likes to get the ball out of Brown's hands quickly, which often does not afford defensive lines enough time to disrupt the rhythm. 2), The Buckeyes play on a blitzing defense's aggressiveness by using screen passes to running backs. 3), Gilmer's offense moves at such a quick pace that by the time the game gets into the second half, opposing defenses are usually fatigued.
Don't be surprised if: The game is decided by turnovers. Jasper's best shot at pulling off an upset is to force Gilmer into mistakes. For all that Brown has accomplished this season, he has thrown his fair share of interceptions. The Buckeyes' signal-caller has at least one pick in eight of Gilmer's 12 games this season, including three in the second half against Gladewater. Fortunately that did not ultimately cost Gilmer, which made big plays on defense to secure a 35-28 win, but turning the ball over is playing with fire in the playoffs. On the year, the Bulldogs have racked up 11 interceptions as a team. Luke Collins leads with three, while Ty Ellis and Ashton Thomas each have two.