Gilmer + Brannon Webb Hold off Diboll, 55-40
MARSHALL – Gilmer had to trust the process.
That has been the motto for the Buckeyes all season, and it came into play Friday night against Diboll. With the game still tight at halftime, coach Matt Turner's message was just that.
"Trust the process," Turner told his team. "We haven't made some plays that we needed to make a normally do. Let's make them in the second half."
Gilmer did that and then some, racing out of halftime to pull away and eventually defeat the Lumberjacks, 55-40.
The victory secured the 4A Division II Region II Bi-District Championship for Gilmer. The Buckeyes were presented with a trophy after the game. Quarterback Poppy Brown held it after the team dispersed, taking congratulations from his classmates and friends.
Brown finished with 258 total yards (147 rushing, 111 passing) and two total touchdowns.
"I'm just proud of the way we kept competing," Brown said. "We had a lot of adversity. But our seniors stepped up, our coaches adjusted and our team responded well. Brannon Webb, he did a great job of shifting the momentum. It just led to this championship."
Webb was seemingly unstoppable out of halftime. He scored all four of Gilmer's touchdowns in the second half and finished with 187 yards rushing and six total touchdowns, including an interception which he returned 72 yards.
The pick was Webb's second touchdown of the third quarter and gave Gilmer a 41-22 advantage. It had the feeling of a game-changing play and Diboll never recovered.
"The receiver was lined up outside the numbers and they were on the other hash, so I figured he was going to run a slant," Webb said. "When I turned around, the quarterback threw the ball and it landed in my hands.
"All I was thinking was, 'Take it to the house.'"
If that didn't squash Diboll's comeback hopes, his third touchdown that quarter surely did.
With the Lumberjacks desperately in need of a defensive stop, Webb broke free. He was hardly touched as he dashed 46 yards for a touchdown, giving Gilmer a 26-point lead.
Webb had five runs of 12 or more yards in the second half alone. He said the second half adjustments propelled the Buckeyes to the win.
"We just emphasized not turning the ball over on offense," Webb said. "On defense, we focused on doing what we were told and not panicking, playing our ball game and settling down."
The first half was packed with plenty of drama, and for a while it seemed the Lumberjacks had Gilmer figured out.
Diboll led for the entirety of the first quarter and much of the second. D’arius McMillan scored all three touchdowns for the Luberjacks in the half and also rushed for 69 yards. They led 14-6 at one point in the second quarter.
Gilmer, however, wouldn’t go into halftime down.
A two-yard touchdown run from quarterback Poppy Brown would give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game with 4:07 until halftime.
Following that, Webb scored a touchdown with 1:09 left that looked like the final score of the half. But this half wouldn’t end without one more crazy play. Gilmer fumbled on the two-point conversion and Colbe Brown scooped it up and ran untouched to score two for Diboll.
Gilmer led, 27-22 at halftime.
Diboll continued to move the ball in the second half. It outgained Gilmer by nearly 100 yards and also had five more first downs.
It was the big plays, like Webb's interception or his multiple big-yardage runs, that doomed the Lumberjacks.
Still, several players had big games. Herbert Gums rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns while McMillan added 130 yards and four scores.
The Buckeyes will next face the winner of Caddo Mills and Wills Point, which play at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Until then, they will continue to trust the process.
"We have a lot of love for each other," Brown said. "We've been trusting the process. As you can see, it's gotten us very far. We're just grateful and thankful."
Gilmer 55, Diboll 40
At Maverick Stadium, Marshall
Diboll 7 15 0 18 -- 40
Gilmer 6 21 21 7 -- 55
DIB—D’arius McMillan 4 run (Jamien Shepherd kick), 8:04.
GIL—Morgan Lusty 30 catch from Poppy Brown (PAT no good), 6:41.
DIB—McMillan 1 run (Shepherd kick), 10:16.
GIL—Bran Webb 2 run (Rashaad Ward 2-point conversion), 8:42.
GIL—Brown 2 run (Lukas Enloe kick), 4:07.
DIB—McMillan 30 run (PAT no good), 2:48.
GIL—Webb 5 run (2-point failed), 1:09.
DIB—Colbe Robertson picks up fumbled 2-point conversion, scores, 1:09.
GIL--Webb 21 run (Enloe kick), 6:52.
GIL--Webb 72 interception (Enloe kick), 3:39.
GIL--Webb 46 run (Enloe kick), 1:13.
DIB--Herbert Gums 1 run (2-point failed), 6:26.
DIB--McMillan 1 run (2-point failed), 5:31.
GIL--Webb 1 run (Enloe kick), 2:36.
DIB--Gums 61 run (2-point failed), 1:26.
First Downs 22 17
Total Yards 534 442
Rushes-Yards 54-401 34-331
Passing Yards 133 111
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-17-1 9-16-1
Punts-Avg. 4-29.3 2-41.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 10-90 7-70
RUSHING--Diboll, Herbert Gums 29-266, D'arius McMillan 18-130, Nathan Garcia 4-(-6), Jose Garcia 1-6, Lucio Monroy 1-5, Cedric Moses 1-0, Geo Dennis 1-2. Gilmer, Brannon Webb 17-187, Poppy Brown 12-147, Larry Montgomery 1-4, Red Jones 2-(-4), Team 2-(-3).
PASSING--Diboll, Garcia 9-17-1--133. Gilmer, Brown 9-16-1--111.
RECEIVING--Diboll, Dominque Guy 2-39, Colbe Robertson 2-26, JeMarcus White 2-8, Gums 1-47, Hezekiah Freeman 1-8, Dylan Maskunas 1-5. Gilmer, Qua Heath 3-30, Morgan Lusty 2-34, Trae Fluellen 2-12, Webb 1-26, Jones 1-9.