Gladewater Visits Gilmer in First Meeting Since Memorable 2014 Playoff Game
DISTRICT 7-4A DIVISION II
Gladewater Bears (5-0, 1-0)
No. 8 Gilmer Buckeyes (5-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gilmer
- Gladewater: John Berry
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Gladewater: vs. Atlanta, Oct. 21
- Gilmer: at Spring Hill, Oct. 21
- RB Darnell McKnight, Sr., 5-11, 235 (50 carries, 354 yards, 3 TDs)
- DB Austin Hawley, Sr., 6-1, 210 (32 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 5 PBUs)
- RB/DB Isaiah Davis, Jr., 5-11, 210 (68 carries, 614 yards, 11 TDs)
- QB Cameron Callaway, Sr. (15 of 28, 330 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; 49 carries, 377 yards, 9 TDs)
- LB Bryston Oliver, Sr., 5-9, 185 (49 tackles, 14 for loss, 6 sacks, 2 PBUs)
- DL Isiah Tiner, Sr. (36 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks)
- LB Mycah Stephens, Jr., 6-0, 185 (28 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 forced fumbles)
- LB Michael Batchelor, Sr. (33 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 1 PBU)
- WR LaMarcus Morton, Sr., 6-1, 175 (33 catches, 610 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
- S Kollin Hurt, Sr., 6-3, 175 (57 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 1 PBU; committed to Louisiana Tech)
- QB Aaron "Poppy" Brown, Jr., 5-6, 180 (148 of 227, 2,196 yards, 22 TDs, 4 INTs; 38 carries, 158 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Kelton Collier, Sr., 6-0, 218 (26 carries, 154 yards, 3 TDs; 17 catches, 214 yards, 1 TD)
- RB/DB Kameryn Cuevas, Sr., 6-0, 165 (38 carries, 254 yards, 3 TDs; 7 catches, 43 yards; 19 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 PBU)
- LB Jeremy Kelly, Sr., 6-0, 180 (53 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT)
- WR Red Jones, Jr., 5-11, 150 (27 catches, 384 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR/DB Dimitri Fort, Sr., 5-11, 165 (10 catches, 202 yards, 2 TDs; 22 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
Just the facts
- Gladewater is averaging 43 points and 419.6 yards per game -- 353.6 rushing and 66 passing.
- The Bears have not defeated Gilmer since 2001.
- Gladewater is 5-0 for the first time since 2001.
- The Bears are shooting for their fourth consecutive playoff appearance, which hasn't happened since 1989-92.
- Gilmer is averaging 52.7 points and 562.8 yards per game -- 193.3 rushing and 369.5 passing.
- Buckeyes quarterback Aaron "Poppy" Brown is on pace to pass for 3,514 yards and 35 touchdowns during the regular season.
- Gilmer hasn't lost two games during the regular season since 2010.
- The Buckeyes have given up 35.3 points per game in 2016.
Key matchup: Gladewater rushing attack vs. Gilmer defensive front. Without a doubt the biggest key to Friday's game will the Bears' powerful ground game going up against a Gilmer defense that's struggled containing the run this season. Gladewater comes in averaging more than 350 rushing yards per game, and three Bears rushers have put up at least 350 yards on the season. Gladewater averages less than six pass attempts per game, so it is obvious what the game plan for the Bears will be: running and more running. Junior Isaiah Davis leads the team in rushing with more than 600 yards and a team-best 11 touchdowns in just five games. He's gone over 100 yards in three games this season. But do not discount the importance of senior running back Darnell McKnight (354 yards), whose physical style of running can take its toll on opposing defenses. Quarterback Cameron Callaway (377 yards, nine TDs) is also a significant threat to run.
Gilmer has allowed more than 50 points in a game three times this season, and in each instance, the Buckeyes' run defense was less than stellar. Gilmer surrendered 385 rushing yards in a 61-55 season-opening win over Liberty-Eylau, gave up 267 in a 55-37 loss to Carthage, and yielded 338 in a 56-52 victory over Nacogdoches. Needless to say, there is significant room for improvement when it comes to the Buckeyes' defense against the run. What makes this matchup so crucial in Friday's game is the effect it might have when Gilmer has the ball. The Buckeyes' offense is among the most explosive in the entire state, averaging more than 50 points and 560 yards per game. And the more time it has to operate the better Gilmer's odds are to control the pace of the game, and ultimately come away with a victory. It will be up to Gilmer's defense to ensure that Gladewater's rushing attack doesn't occupy too much of the game clock.
Don't be surprised if: Gladewater tries to take advantage of a loaded defensive front. Surely, Gilmer will employ several nine and 10-men fronts in an effort to contain Gladewater's rushing prowess. And that will give the Bears several opportunities to take shots down the field with one-on-coverage if they choose. Gladewater quarterback Cameron Callaway, who was the Bears' primary big-play threat as a receiver a year ago, has only attempted 28 passes on the season and thrown for just one touchdown through five games. But if Gilmer's defense is consistently making stops near the line of scrimmage on Gladewater running plays, Callaway may have no choice but to attack Gilmer's secondary vertically.