Turnovers Costly For Carthage In Blowout Loss To Gilmer
LONGVIEW -- Carthage dominated time of possession, out gained Gilmer by 92 yards, put up 16 more first downs and got whopped 58-21 in the two teams' non-district finale Saturday at Longview's Lobo Stadium.
The Buckeyes scored three touchdowns in the first quarter off of Bulldogs turnovers on the way to a 27-0 lead after one period of play.
"I've coached for 25 years and never seen that and doubt I'll see it again the rest of my life," Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor said. "I've got to give credit to our kids for the strips, scoops and scores. So far, it's just been one of those years for (Carthage coach) Scott (Surratt) where he's just snakebitten like that. It happens sometimes in this business. That's kind of what it was."
Traylor's squad won the coin toss and elected to receive.
The Bulldogs (1-4) squibbed the opening kick. It was returned to their own 48-yard line.
Gilmer quarterback McLane Carter connected with receiver Kris Boyd on a short dump off pass. Boyd was able to make the first wave of defenders miss on the far sideline, reversed field with blockers and took the pass 48 yards for a first play score.
It was all defense after that. The Buckeyes (5-0) did not play another offensive snap until the 10:11 mark of the second quarter.
Carthage knew it would have to keep on the same offensive pace as the Associated Press' No. 3 Class 4A team and performed very well on its first drive.
Led by freshman running back Mykel Gates and junior quarterback Jarod Blissett, the offense moved from their own 47-yard line to the opposing 20 in seven plays and were looking good with a 3rd-and-1 situation in the red zone. Blissett's sneak went all the way to Gilmer's 5-yard line, but the ball was stripped and recovered by Nick Smith for a 95-yard score the other way.
The Buckeyes kicked, Gates gained one yard to his own 19-yard line and Blissett was intercepted by Devin Smith for a 25-yard pick six.
Carthage responded with a solid third drive to reach the Gilmer 31. Juston Clough fumbled away a nine-yard reception the next play.
Blake Lynch gave the Buckeyes a 27-0 lead on the 75-yard recovery with 3:55 to play in the first quarter.
Desperately needing points, and without Gates after the freshman sustained a lower leg injury late in the first quarter, the Bulldogs got the ball back and chewed about five minutes off the clock before turning the ball over on downs inside the red zone.
A team will always take defensive points, but the timing was not ideal for Carter and the Buckeyes' offense. The group will be idle this upcoming week prior to beginning District 5-4A Division II play against Melissa on Oct. 10.
The game was virtually a throwaway by the time the unit took its second snap. Gilmer's coaching staff ultimately had to ride the line between getting enough work in, risking injuries in a non-district game blowout, rewarding backups with playing time and avoiding a complete embarrassment of the opponent.
"Not being able to get on the field gets you kind of antsy," Carter said. "But you've got to rely on your defense to make plays and just hold them off. They did. It felt really good knowing the defense made big stops for us and let us back on the field."
Carter and the offense stalled on their second drive, Carthage punted back to them after gaining one first down and Carter hit Chase Tate on a 63-yard bomb the next play.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board on an eight-yard run by Ravodney Hardy with 5:09 to play in the half. The No. 2 back accounted for all 58 yards on a three-play drive and finished the game with 24 carries for 130 yards.
Gilmer capped its fourth offensive drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to Quinn Fluellen with Lynch in at quarterback rather than at his standard receiver position on offense.
The Buckeyes led 41-14 at halftime and didn't look back.
"When you play a team as good as good as Carthage and a coach as good as Coach Surratt, you're just glad to be ahead," Traylor said when asked about the lack of offensive playing time. "We'll worry about all the other stuff in practice."
Carter played 10 snaps in the second half, two drives which resulted in 10 points. The most efficient passer in East Texas through the first four games, he completed 8 of 11 throws for 183 yards.
Zac Spears took over and scored on a 4-yard run for a 58-14 lead with 10:53 to play.
The good news for Carthage is, barring turnovers, it can indeed move the ball against a very strong defense. Blissett completed 24 of 38 throws for 278 yards with the one interception, a scoring throw and a late, one-yard touchdown dive.
After a week off, Carthage will begin District 9-4A Division I play against Henderson the same night Gilmer tangles with Melissa.
"We're growing," Carter said. "We're growing mentally. We're making big stops. Our offense is playing better. We're communicating better with each other. We're playing harder. We took a hard lesson after the Tatum game where they were able to come back and almost win. We sure weren't going to let that happen in this game."
Gilmer 58, Carthage 21
At Lobo Stadium, Longview
Gilmer 27 14 10 7 -- 58
Carthage 0 14 0 7 -- 21
GIL--Kris Boyd 48 pass from McLane Carter (Tristan Olivares kick), 11:37
GIL--Nick Smith 95 fumble recovery (conversion failed), 7:48
GIL--Devin Smith 25 interception return (Juan Esquivel kick), 6:54
GIL--Blake Lynch 75 fumble recovery (Esquivel kick), 3:55
GIL--Chase Tate 63 pass from Carter (Esquivel kick), 5:56
CAR--Ravodney Hardy 8 run (Rafael Hernandez kick), 5:09
GIL--Quinn Fluellen 6 pass from Lynch (Esquivel kick), 2:17
CAR--Micah Templeton 5 pass from Jarod Blissett (Hernandez kick), :05
GIL--Esquivel 27 field goal, 8:03
GIL--Nick Smith 19 pass from Carter (Esquivel kick), 6:00
GIL--Zac Spears 4 run (Esquivel kick), 10:53
CAR--Blissett 1 run (Hernandez kick), 2:35
First Downs 25 9
Total Yards 430 338
Rushes-Yards 43-162 23-135
Passing Yards 268 204
Comp.-Att.-Int. 24-39-1 10-15-0
Punts-Avg. 3-34 3-36
Fumbles-Lost 4-4 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-60 7-65
RUSHING--Carthage, Ravodney Hardy 24-130, Mykel Gates 8-31, De'Airreus Hearn 3-4, Jakeldric Jackson 1-1, Jarod Blissett 6-(-4). Gilmer, Blake Lynch 5-87, Jamel Jackson 2-20, Kris Boyd 3-18, DeMarco Boyd 2-9, Kelton Collier 2-5, Nick Smith 1-5, Zac Spears 6-(-1), McLane Carter 1-(-2), Chase Tate 1-(-6).
PASSING--Carthage, Blissett 24-39-1--278. Gilmer, Carter 8-11-0--183, Lynch 1-1-0--5, Spears 1-3-0--16.
RECEIVING--Carthage, Jakeldric Jackson 8-104, Kirston Ingram 5-84, Jarrod McLin 2-33, Juston Clough 2-16, Micah Templeton 2-13, Mykel Gates 1-12, Hardy 1-6. Gilmer, Tate 1-63, Kris Boyd 3-48, Lynch 1-32, Smith 1-25, Cameron Bowman 1-16, Quinn Fluellen 2-13, DeMarco Boyd 1-7.