It's a long way from Gilmer to Newton.

On Sept. 28, the Buckeyes will make the three-hour drive down Highway 96 to play the Eagles in a non-district game. The game matches two perennial powers from 4A and 3A against each other, and both teams are predicted to again have successful seasons.

Newton is loaded coming off of a 3A Division II state championship season. The Eagles return 17 starters, including two-way standout Tamauzia Brown and star running back Darwin Barlow. They, along with quarterback Josh Foster, will headline the offense. Defense end James Sylvester and linebacker Jadrian McGraw will be the stars on defense.

Newton RB Darwin Barlow. (© ETSN.fm)

Gilmer is always a threat to compete. The Buckeyes are predicted by many pundits to win District 6-4A Division II after succumbing to Pleasant Grove a year ago. Running back Bran Webb returns after a 1,000-yard season and Tra Fluellen will play both sides as a receiver and defensive back. Defensive lineman Abel Euceda and offensive lineman Devon King will also be two players to keep an eye on.

This will be the first meeting between Gilmer and Newton since at least 2004, when MaxPreps started keep track of matchup history. Who knows when the teams will play again after this season, so this might be a game that is worth the drive for East Texas football fans.

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