[By Nathan Wright, Special to ETSN.fm]

GILMER – The only thing that slowed down No. 2 Gilmer's explosive offense Friday night at Buckeye Stadium was the Gilmer offense.

The Buckeyes scored on eight of their 11 possessions in a 52-14 victory against Gladewater in the District 16-3A opener for both teams. Gilmer turned the ball over on its other three possessions.

With the victory, the second-ranked team in the state improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in district play while the Bears dropped to 2-3 and 0-1.

“We played a lot better,” Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor said. “We improved a lot from last week. We were so much more efficient. We had three turnovers, but we didn’t punt. That is always a good thing.”

Gladewater's Daylon "Duke" Gordon runs the ball during Friday's loss at Gilmer. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

Gilmer rolled up 372 yards on the ground and quarterback Tanner Barr threw for 222 yards on 14-of-20 passing with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Those three interceptions were the only things that went wrong for Gilmer. Two of them came in the end zone.

“Tanner had two bad throws and one bad choice,” Traylor said. “Even he will tell you that. He is a great quarterback. He made a ton of great plays. We just keep slinging. That is what we do. He can make plays. He just made a couple of mistakes tonight.”

Gilmer scored twice in the game’s first 3:15. Tanner found an open Desmond Pollard for a 39-yard touchdown 1:17 into the game to give the Buckeyes the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Following a Gladewater fumble on its first possession, the Buckeyes scored quickly again, this time on a 1-yard run by Jamel Jackson to make it 14-0 with 8:45 to go in the first quarter.

The Bears answered, however, with a 1-yard touchdown run by Justice Centers with 4:56 to go in the first to cut the Gilmer lead to 14-7. That would be as close as Gladewater would get.

Gilmer scored again just over a minute later on a 57-yard pass from Barr to Chase Tate to make it 21-7 with 3:54 left in the opening period.

“We started off with some runs,” Pollard, who had three catches for 77 yards, said. “When we saw what their defense was doing, it was time to start throwing it up.”

The Buckeyes scored two more times in the second quarter – on a 15-yard pass from Barr to Quinn Fluellen and a 21-yard pass from Barr to Nick Smith.

Halfway through the game, Gilmer was well on its way toward its 12th consecutive victory against Gladewater in the battle of the Highway 271 rivals with a 35-7 lead.

Traylor summed up the quick start by saying, “We don’t think about our opponent. We want to score as fast as we can and as much as we can. Tonight we got off to a good start and kept going.”

The second half was similar to the first for the Gilmer offense. After forcing a Gladewater punt to start the third quarter, Kris Boyd broke loose down the Buckeye sideline for a 77-yard touchdown to give Gilmer a 42-7 lead.

Just before the end of the third quarter, Gilmer scored again, this time on a 23-yard pass from Barr to Pollard to put the Buckeyes ahead 49-7.

Gladewater managed one more touchdown -- on an 11-yard pass from Nick Canaguier to James Reese in the game’s final minutes. Gilmer answered with a field goal for the final margin.

Boyd ended up carrying the ball nine times for 168 yards for the Buckeyes while Barr added 88 yards on the ground.

For Gladewater, Reese ran 24 times for 149 yards.

The teams will continue district play next week when Gladewater hosts Spring Hill and Gilmer travels to Chapel Hill.

Gladewater quarterback Nick Canaguier tries to elude the Gilmer defense Friday night at Buckeye Stadium in Gilmer. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)