Gilmer’s Repeat Hopes Hinge On Containing Explosive Center Offense
CLASS 4A DIVISION II REGIONAL
Center Roughriders (10-2)
Gilmer Buckeyes (12-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Center: Barry Bowman
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Winner faces winner between Atlanta and Lorena, state quarterfinals
- WR Octavius Evans, Jr., 6-2, 190 (65 catches, 881 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB Kyle Parks, Jr., 6-1, 185 (145 of 231, 2,048 yards, 19 TDs, 5 INTs; 177 carries, 1,134 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR/DB JaTerious Evans, Soph, 5-10, 165 (29 catches, 553 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB/LB DaCorey McGee, Sr., 5-10, 200 (54 carries, 588 yards, 17 TDs; 9 catches, 134 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB/LB Sayoddrick Barnes, Sr., 6-0, 220 (65 carries, 492 yards, 10 TDs)
- DL LaMarcus Goodwin, Sr., 6-0, 295
- LB Adrian Johnson, Jr.
- RB/DL/LB Demarco Boyd, Sr., 6-0, 220 (71 carries, 480 yards, 12 TDs; 29 catches, 356 yards, 4 TDs; 53 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery; signed with Texas)
- RB Kelton Collier, Jr., 6-0, 200 (110 carries, 731 yards, 12 TD)
- QB Zac Spears, Sr., 5-9, 170 (161 of 283, 2,283 yards, 27 TDs, 6 INTs; 31 carries, 127 yards, 1 TD)
- DB Kollin Hurt, Jr., 6-3, 170 (70 tackles, 4 INTs, 5 PBUs)
- RB/LB Cambron Granville, Jr., 5-7, 160 (51 carries, 289 yards, 3 TDs; 67 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PBU, 2 forced fumbles)
- DL Tristian Olivares, Sr., 5-7, 185 (76 tackles, 9 sacks, 15 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
Just the facts
- Center has not participated in a third round playoff game since 2004. It lost that particular game to Royse City at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
- Gilmer has not missed a third round playoff game since 2006, but it has bowed out in the regional round twice during the span. Both times to Argyle.
- The Buckeyes own a 28-game winning streak. That's the best within East Texas, one game ahead of Waskom.
- Kyle Parks, the Roughriders' quarterback, is one of just six East Texans at his position to have more than 1,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. Parks has 3,182 total yards -- 2,048 through the air.
- Gilmer junior safety Kollin Hurt has five postseason interceptions through two games. He has 10 interceptions in total, tied with West Rusk's Kevin Jones for best in East Texas.
- Both teams have major college talent.
- Buckeyes senior athlete Demarco Boyd has already signed with Texas.
- Center junior receiver Octavius Evans holds early offers from Louisiana Tech and Texas Tech.
- Gilmer and the Roughriders share two common opponents -- Tatum and Pleasant Grove.
- The Buckeyes defeated Tatum, 23-0, on Sept. 11. Center beat Tatum, 42-7, on Oct. 16.
- The Roughriders topped Pleasant Grove, 57-35, on Oct. 30. Gilmer defeated Pleasant Grove, 40-36, in the opening round of the playoffs.
- Trinity Mother Frances Tyler Rose Stadium is a 48-mile drive for the Buckeyes and an 87-mile drive for the Roughriders.
Key matchup: Center's athletic offense against Gilmer's defensive front.
The Roughriders have a track record of success both running and through the passing game. Quarterback Kyle Parks has more than 3,000 total yards, and receiver Octavius Evans should be a raw matchup win for Center.
Defensively, Gilmer can get leverage on the game by containing Parks within the pocket. While Parks' strength is indeed the passing game (2,048 aerial yards to 1,134 rushing yards), he's also the Roughrigers' primary rusher.
Parks' running ability translates into sustained drives when nothing else is available.
It'd be a good thing for the Buckeyes if they can force Center into being more one-dimensional. And in defending the pass, safety Kollin Hurt and the rest of the secondary are riding hot streaks in the turnover department.
All-around athlete Demarco Boyd can be utilized in run contain. Gilmer's defensive front is further strengthened by tackle Tristian Olivares, who has nine sacks through 12 games.
If key Center receiver Octavius Evans plays at his best, however, he'll force the Buckeyes' defense to back off and create more room for Parks and several other productive backs.
At that point, the pressure shifts to Gilmer's own offense to keep up.
Don't be surprised if: Turnovers play a role in deciding the outcome. Both teams average more than 37 points a game and both sides have hit more than 50 points once in the past two weeks of the playoffs. There is no shortage of offensive weaponry in this game, and that will allow both sides to adjust to opposing defensive influences through the course of the game. Neither the Buckeyes or Roughriders can afford to give the other team extra possessions.