Unbeaten Buckeyes Look To Keep Rolling Against Waco Connally
CLASS 4A DIVISION II
Region II Area Playoff
No. 3 Gilmer Buckeyes (11-0)
Waco Connally Cadets (7-4)
7:30 p.m. Friday
E.H. Hanby Stadium, Mesquite
- Gilmer: Jeff Traylor
- Waco Connally: Mike Rabe
- Gilmer: def. Pleasant Grove, 50-7
- Waco Connally: def. Madisonville, 35-14
- Winner faces either Gladewater or Fairfield, 4A Division II Region II semifinal
- ATH Kris Boyd, Sr., 6-0, 181 (57 carries, 694 yards, 14 TDs; 20 catches, 469 yards, 6 TDs; 29 tackles, INT, PBU)
- ATH Blake Lynch, Sr., 6-3, 195 (13 of 16, 289 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 40 carries, 600 yards, 11 TDs; 32 catches, 686 yards, 12 TDs; 30 tackles, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, forced fumble, 3 recoveries; committed to Baylor)
- RB/LB Demarco Boyd, Jr., 6-0, 205 (26 carries, 249 yards, 6 TDs; 8 catches, 90 yards, TD; 76 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, 5 QB pressures, INT, PBU, 4 forced fumbles, recovery)
- QB McLane Carter, Sr., 6-3, 180 (146 of 191, 2,626 yards, 32 TDs, 1 INT; 7 carries, 44 yards)
- WR Chase Tate, Sr., 5-6, 150 (35 catches, 571 yards, 4 TDs; 25 carries, 339 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Nick Smith, Sr., 5-11, 160 (30 catches, 588 yards, 7 TDs; 24 tackles, 3 sacks, INT, PBU, forced fumble, recovery)
- RB Jamel Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 190 (49 carries, 397 yards, 8 TDs; 5 catches, 59 yards)
- LB Cambron Granville, Jr., 5-7, 160 (89 tackles, 4 for loss, INT)
- QB Kristian Brown, Sr., 5-9, 176 (67 of 130, 1,227 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs; 171 carries, 1,607 yards, 19 TDs)
- RB/LB Joshua Terrell, Sr., 5-10, 170 (176 carries, 1,096 yards, 12 TDs; 4 catches, 61 yards; 38 tackles, 3 for loss, sack)
- WR Israel Williams, Sr., 6-0, 170 (35 catches, 734 yards, 11 TDs; 39 carries, 270 yards, 4 TDs)
- LB Jamaica Doyle, Jr., 5-9, 168 (79 tackles, 14 for loss, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)
- DB Kylei Crockett, Jr., 5-9, 150 (76 tackles, 3 for loss)
- LB Khalil Shelton, Sr., 5-11, 172 (48 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks)
- LB Ty McAdams, Sr., 6-1, 180 (39 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks)
- DB Marcus Howard, Sr., 5-10, 152 (39 tackles, 1 for loss, INT, 4 PBUs)
Just the facts
- Gilmer is 35-11 in the playoffs under head coach Jeff Traylor, including a 9-1 mark in the second round.
- The average margin of victory for Gilmer this season is 46.3 points.
- Gilmer has been held to less than 50 points in a game twice this season.
- The Buckeyes are averaging 60.3 points and 541.1 yards per game -- 245 rushing and 296.1 passing.
- The cumulative record of Gilmer's opponents this season is 49-67.
- Waco Connally is in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004-05.
- The Cadets are averaging 40.1 points and 439.6 yards per game -- 328.1 rushing and 111.5 passing.
- The cumulative record of Waco Connally's opponents this season is 59-60.
Key matchup: Waco Connally rushing attack vs. Gilmer defensive front. While Waco Connally will have its hands full defending Gilmer's array of talent on the offensive end, the Gilmer defense will be presented a challenge of its own in lining up against the Cadets' talented backfield. Connally's Kristian Brown is the epitome of a dual-threat quarterback, although it's his work on the ground that has gotten the most attention. Brown, while adept in the passing game, has been burning opposing defenses all season long with his legs. The senior signal-caller is averaging 146 rushing yards per game with a yards-per-carry average of 9.4. And when Brown isn't calling his own number, he's the handing the ball off to senior running back Joshua Terrell, who has also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark this season. Brown and Terrell have combined to rush for 2,703 of the Waco Connally's 3,609 rushing yards on the year, and 31 of the Cadets' 44 rushing touchdowns. Brown is completing 51.5 percent of his passes and has thrown for 12 touchdowns, but only averages 13 attempts per game. If Gilmer can contain the duo of Brown and Terrell, it could be a long night for Connally.
Often overlooked because of the absurd numbers its offense puts up, Gilmer's defense has quietly put together a strong 2014 season. The Buckeyes are allowing just 14 points per game. Gilmer's defense has racked up 17.5 sacks as a team and forced 32 turnovers -- 15 interceptions and 17 fumble recoveries. Gilmer is the only team from its district to survive the first round, and the Buckeyes were one of just two teams in 5-4A Division II to finish with a winning record. So, Connally will be the biggest test Gilmer has faced in the better part of two months. The offense shouldn't have any trouble having success, and if the Gilmer defense can match it on the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes should have no problem advancing. However, it's been a while since Gilmer has been in a competitive game. The Buckeyes' average margin of victory this season is 46 points, and aside from a six-point win over a Tatum team it led by as many 20 points, Gilmer's closest game this season was a 63-27 win over Emory Rains in the regular-season finale. To avoid being pushed into the second half, Gilmer needs a solid performance on defense.
Don't be surprised if: Gilmer continues to surge offensively. No team has come close to stopping the Gilmer offense, which comes into Friday night's area-round playoff averaging more than 60 points and 540 yards per game. It's all orchestrated by senior quarterback McLane Carter, who's thrown 32 touchdowns to just one interception in 191 attempts, while completing an astounding 76.4 percent of his passes. Carter spreads the wealth, too. Five Buckeyes have at least 20 receptions on the season, and all five have at least 415 receiving yards and at least four touchdown receptions. In all, 24 different Gilmer players have at least one catch and 10 have at least one scoring reception. And when Carter and the Buckeyes aren't throwing, an equally explosive rushing attack is racing its way toward the end zone. Five different Gilmer ball carriers have rushed for at least 249 yards on the year, while nine Buckeyes have racked up at least one rushing touchdown. Like many teams that operate out of the spread formation, Gilmer has plenty of weapons to which to distribute the ball. The difference between Gilmer and the rest is that the Buckeyes typically have an edge in talent at every single skill position on the field.