Gilmer Eyes Recovery From Rare In-Season Loss + Faces Tough Nacogdoches Squad
No. 7 Gilmer Buckeyes (3-1)
Nacogdoches Dragons (3-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Gilmer: idle
- Nacogdoches: idle
- WR LaMarcus Morton, Sr., 6-1, 175 (25 catches, 484 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
- QB Aaron "Poppy" Brown, Jr., 5-6, 180 (111 of 166, 1,565 yards, 16 TDs, 2 INTs; 23 carries, 93 yards, 2 TDs)
- S Kollin Hurt, Sr., 6-3, 175 (31 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 1 PBU; committed to Louisiana Tech)
- WR Red Jones, Jr., 5-11, 150 (17 catches, 209 yards, 3 TDs; 5 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Jeremy Kelly, Sr., 6-0, 180 (33 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 INT)
- RB/LB Kelton Collier, Sr., 6-0, 218 (16 carries, 75 yards, 2 TDs; 16 catches, 206 yards, 1 TD; 7 tackles, 4 sacks)
- WR/DB Dimitri Fort, Sr., 5-11, 165 (7 catches, 121 yards, 2 TDs; 15 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
- DL Wilson Nugent, Soph., 6-3, 190 (17 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 PBU)
- WR/S Josh Thompson, Sr., 6-0, 190 (2 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD; 29 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 PBU, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries; committed to Texas)
- RB Phillip Jones, Sr., 5-9, 193 (104 carries, 759 yards, 6 TDs)
- QB Noah Hildebrand, Sr., 6-1, 180 (49 of 79, 690 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 23 carries, 30 yards)
- WR Jaylon Maxie, Sr., 5-11, 180 (16 catches, 222 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jed Morgan, Jr., 5-8, 168 (11 catches, 170 yards, 2 TDs)
- DT Devaunte Johnson, Sr., 6-0, 265 (31 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 5 QB pressures)
- LB DaRyan Williams, Jr., 5-11, 185 (26 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- DE Brad Phillips, Sr., 6-3, 210 (23 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked punt)
Just the facts
- This will be the first-ever meeting between Gilmer and Nacogdoches.
- Both the Buckeyes and Dragons were represented in the Texas Longhorns' 2016 signing class -- Demarco Boyd (Gilmer) and Brandon Jones (Nacogdoches).
- Gilmer suffered its first regular-season loss since Nov. 8, 2013 -- a 34-29 defeat to Kilgore -- last week, a span of 23 games.
- The Buckeyes' first four non-district opponents have a cumulative record of 5-9.
- Gilmer averages 57.3 points and 582.3 yards per game -- 185.6 rushing and 396.5 passing.
- Nacogdoches is seeking its third 4-1 start in the last three seasons.
- The Dragons' first four non-district opponents have a cumulative record of 6-10.
- Nacogdoches averages 33.8 points and 401 yards per game -- 228.5 rushing and 172.5 passing.
Key matchup: Nacogdoches rushing attack vs. Gilmer defensive front. There have been few running backs in East Texas as consistent as Nacogdoches senior Phillip Jones. Through four weeks, Jones ranks fourth in the area with 759 rushing yards. After rushing for an impressive 250 yards in games against Kilgore and Lufkin to begin the season, Jones has taken it to a different level the last two weeks. In the Dragons' 24-17 win over Tyler Lee in Week 3, Jones carried 27 times for 236 yards, and just last week, he ripped off a career-best 273 yards in the 35-14 defeat of Hallsville. Jones comes into Friday's non-district finale averaging 7.3 yards per carry, which has allowed the Dragons to move the football with ease so far this season.
Gilmer suffered its first regular-season loss since the 2013 finale against Kilgore with last week's 55-37 loss at Carthage. For the first time since the third week of the 2012 season, the Buckeyes will be playing a regular-season game following a loss. The 2012 team handled it well, reeling off 13 consecutive wins en route to a state championship game appearance. But first thing's first: Gilmer will need to figure out a way to keep Jones in check. The Buckeyes' run defense struggled against Carthage, allowing 280 yards rushing. And that wasn't the first time Gilmer has experienced problems with its run defense. In the season opener against Liberty-Eylau, the Buckeyes allowed 385 rushing yards. If the defense can't solve the issues quick, Gilmer could very will be looking at back-to-back losses for the first time since 2010.
Don't be surprised if: Nacogdoches slows down its pace on offense. The last thing any team wants to do is get involved in a shootout with Gilmer, which averages close to 60 points and 600 yards per game. Tempo is key to the Buckeyes' offensive approach, often times taking advantage of misalignments on defense caused by their hurry-up philosophy. In order to ensure Nacogdoches' defense remains relatively well-rested, the Dragons might want to consider being especially deliberate on offense. The rushing attack, led by Jones, is perfectly suited for melting away the game clock.