State-Ranked + Unbeaten Gilmer Begins Quest For State Title Against Pleasant Grove
CLASS 4A DIVISION II
Region II Bi-District Playoff
Pleasant Grove Hawks (6-4)
No. 3 Gilmer Buckeyes (10-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bobcat Stadium, Hallsville
- Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson
- Gilmer: Jeff Traylor
- Pleasant Grove: lost to Tatum, 31-7
- Gilmer: def. Emory Rains, 63-27
- Winner faces Madisonville-Waco Connally winner, Class 4A Division II area playoff.
- QB Jacob Smith, Jr., 5-11, 170 (36 of 79, 743 yards, 4 TDs; 42 carries, 263 yards, 9 TDs)
- RB DeVuntay Walker, Soph. (172 carries, 1,003 yards, 7 TDs; 6 catches, 190 yards, TD)
- WR Connor Lemmerhirt, Sr., 6-2, 190 (12 catches, 461 yards)
- RB Ty Everett, Sr., 5-8, 155 (73 carries, 674 yards, 8 TDs)
- RB/DL Hunter Hatfield, Sr., 5-10, 200 (81 carries, 303 yards, 3 TDs; 3 catches, 48 yards, TD; 26 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 QB pressures, forced fumble, recovery)
- LB Logan Stahl (56 tackles, 4 for loss, sack, 2 PBUs)
- DB Vashon Williams, Soph. (16 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 PBUs, fumble recovery)
- LB Mark Ashby, Jr. (44 tackles, 4 for loss, 3 sacks, PBU)
- ATH Kris Boyd, Sr., 6-0, 181 (49 carries, 631 yards, 13 TDs, 18 catches, 445 yards, 6 TDs; 28 tackles, INT, PBU)
- ATH Blake Lynch, Sr., 6-3, 195 (10 of 13, 227 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 36 carries, 577 yards, 10 TDs; 28 catches, 623 yards, 11 TDs; 29 tackles, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, forced fumble, 2 recoveries; committed to Baylor)
- RB/LB Demarco Boyd, Jr., 6-0, 205 (23 carries, 238 yards, 6 TDs; 7 catches, 68 yards, TD; 67 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 3 sacks, 5 QB pressures, INT, PBU, 2 forced fumbles, recovery)
- QB McLane Carter, Sr., 6-3, 180 (134 of 174, 2,387 yards, 29 TDs, INT; 7 carries, 44 yards)
- RB Jamel Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 190 (44 carries, 348 yards, 6 TDs; 5 catches, 59 yards)
- WR/DB Nick Smith, Sr., 5-11, 160 (28 catches, 528 yards, 6 TDs; 24 tackles, 3 sacks, INT, PBU, forced fumble, recovery)
- WR/DB Quinn Fluellen, Sr., 6-2, 170 (24 catches, 293 yards, 3 TDs; 17 tackles, INT, PBU)
- WR Chase Tate, Sr., 5-6, 150 (34 catches, 561 yards, 4 TDs; 22 carries, 299 yards, 2 TDs)
Just the facts
- Pleasant Grove and Gilmer have met six times -- all since 2001. Gilmer leads the series, 5-1.
- This will be the third playoff meeting between Pleasant Grove and Gilmer. Pleasant Grove earned a 10-0 win in 2001, while Gilmer took a 43-6 decision in 2004.
- Pleasant Grove is averaging 26.8 points and 340.5 yards per game -- 265.6 rushing and 74.9 passing.
- The cumulative record of the four teams that have beaten Pleasant Grove this season -- New Boston, Atlanta, Gladewater and Tatum -- is 32-8.
- Pleasant Grove's last playoff win came in 2009.
- Gilmer is averaging 61.3 points and 542.3 yards per game -- 246.9 rushing and 295.4 passing.
- Gilmer has beaten one team with a winning record this season -- Bullard, 49-7, during district play.
- Under Jeff Traylor, Gilmer is 34-11 in the postseason.
Key matchup: Gilmer offensive skill-position players vs. Pleasant Grove linebackers and secondary. You'd be hard-pressed to find a deeper or more talented collection of backs and receivers in Class 4A than the ones at Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor's disposal. There's a reason why Gilmer is averaging more than 60 points and 540 yards per game, which includes an 85-point outburst against Nevada Community a couple of weeks back. Gilmer has four players who have thrown touchdown passes, nine who have rushed for scores and 10 with touchdown receptions. But two players in particular stand out -- seniors Kris Boyd and Blake Lynch. Boyd, one of the most coveted uncommitted recruits in the country, has put up 1,076 total yards of offense and scored 19 touchdowns. He's averaging 12.9 yards per carry and 24.7 yards per reception. Lynch, a Baylor commit who transferred in from Troup during the offseason, has even better numbers. He's completed 10 of 13 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns, but has 1,200 yards rushing and receiving with 21 touchdowns. The dynamic athlete, who also has two interceptions at safety, is averaging 16 yards per rush and 22.3 yards per reception.
Pleasant Grove's defense has been solid for most of the season, but struggled against the top three teams from the district. In losses to Gladewater, Atlanta and Tatum, the Hawks allowed an average of 40 points per game. In the Hawks' seven other games, in which they were 6-1, they surrendered a much more respectable 19 points per game. Gilmer will present, by far, the biggest challenge to Pleasant Grove's defense to date. It's hard to imagine any team in the state in Class 4A being able to contain the Buckeyes' offense, so the Hawks will most likely need to force multiple turnovers in order to remain competitive. The more opportunities PG's defense can provide its offense to keep up with Gilmer on the scoreboard, the better off the Hawks will be Friday night. However, Gilmer senior quarterback McLane Carter has been intercepted just once in 174 attempts this season. Applying heavy pressure and disguising coverages will be a must in order for Pleasant Grove's defense to do enough damage to be in position to pull what would be a colossal first-round upset.
Don't be surprised if: Gilmer puts the pedal to the medal offensively Friday night. Everything the Buckeyes accomplished during the regular season has merely been practice for the playoffs, and a shot at the program's third state championship since 2004. Anything less would be considered a disappointment by the football-crazed community of Gilmer. It would be hard to enough game-planning to stop the trio of Carter, Boyd and Lynch, but the Buckeyes' weapons don't stop there. Running backs Jamel Jackson and Demarco Boyd are serious threats for the end zone, as are receivers Nick Smith, Chase Tate and Quinn Fluellen. Nothing is impossible, but it would take a truly unique effort on the part of Pleasant Grove to come out with a win. Aside from a six-point win over Tatum in Week 2, a game the Buckeyes led by 20 points at halftime, the closest any team has come to Gilmer this season is 36 points. Gilmer has twice had margins of victory of 70 points or more, including an 85-14 rout of Nevada Community two weeks ago.