Pittsburg Can Afford To Take Crazy Risks Against Gilmer Thanks To District Quirk
DISTRICT 7-4A DIVISION II
Pittsburg Pirates (5-4, 2-2)
Gilmer Buckeyes (8-1, 4-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gilmer
- Pittsburg: Brad Baca
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Pittsburg: Opponent TBD, Class 4A Division II bi-district playoff round
- Gilmer: Opponent TBD, Class 4A Division II bi-district playoff round
- WR Dejour Dowell, Sr., 6-2, 196 (49 catches, 753 yards, 8 TDs; committed to Stephen F. Austin)
- DB JaKeivian Hughes, Sr., 5-9, 150 (80 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 INT)
- RB/DB Red Shields, Sr., 5-10, 180 (147 carries, 876 yards, 12 TDs, 10 catches, 141 yards, 2 TDs)
- DL Bradlee Warrick, Sr., 6-2, 260 (89 tackles, 14 for loss, 8 sacks)
- LB David By, Sr., 5-10, 165 (73 tackles, 12 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
- QB Jaylon Jimmerson, Soph., 5-11, 165 (88 of 141, 1,167 yards 15 TDs, 4 INTs, 36 carries, 99 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB LaMarcus Morton, Sr., 6-1, 175 (40 catches, 800 yards, 7 TDs; 16 tackles; committed to Oklahoma State)
- S Kollin Hurt, Sr., 6-3, 175 (86 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs; committed to Louisiana Tech)
- QB Aaron “Poppy” Brown, Jr., 5-6, 180 (227 of 334, 3,162 yards, 31 TDs, 9 INTs; 55 carries, 214 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB/LB Kelton Collier, Sr., 6-0, 218 (42 carries, 237 yards, 4 TDs; 18 catches, 218 yards, 1 TD; 51 tackles, 6 for loss, 5 sacks)
- RB/DB Kameryn Cuevas, Sr., 6-0, 165 (51 carries, 319 yards, 4 TDs; 9 catches, 78 yards; 33 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
- LB Jeremy Kelly, Sr., 6-0, 180 (87 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT)
- WR Red Jones, Jr., 5-11, 150 (40 catches, 583 yards, 7 TDs, 18 carries, 123 yards, 3 TDs)
Just the facts
- 1.) Gilmer 4-0
- 2.) Gladewater 3-1
- T3.) Pleasant Grove 2-2
- T3.) Pittsburg 2-2
- 5.) Atlanta 1-3
- 6.) Spring Hill 0-4
(1 game remaining for each team)
Week 11 District Schedule
- Gilmer (4-0) vs. Pittsburg (2-2)
- Spring Hill (0-4) vs. Atlanta (1-3)
- Gladewater (3-1) vs. Pleasant Grove (2-2)
District Tiebreaker Scenarios
Things to keep in mind
- District 7-4A Division II is a six-team district.
- The top four teams from each district make the state playoffs.
- Gilmer and Gladewater have already clinched playoff berths.
- Pittsburg technically has not, but it will certainly make the playoffs.
- Either Atlanta or Pleasant Grove will make the playoffs. Odds are it's Pleasant Grove.
- Spring Hill is definitely eliminated from postseason contention.
What if Atlanta beats Spring Hill but Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove lose to their higher-ranked opponents and all three teams (Atlanta, Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove) finish with 2-3 district records behind Gilmer and Gladewater?
This is the most likely scenario when you look at the standings alone. The tiebreaker would be point differential in head-to-head games between the three teams. Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove have better point differentials than Atlanta, so those two teams would move on and Atlanta would be eliminated. The point differential cannot be changed this week because none of the three teams involved in the potential tie are playing each other.
How does Atlanta make the playoffs?
Atlanta makes the playoffs if and only if Pittsburg beats Gilmer and Gladewater beats Pleasant Grove. Gilmer and Gladewater would both finish with 4-1 district records. Pittsburg would be the only team to have a 3-2 record and would finish in third place. Both Atlanta and Pleasant Grove would have identical 2-3 records and Atlanta would be awarded the last playoff berth because it beat Pleasant Grove earlier this season.
What if Spring Hill beats Atlanta?
Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove will advance to the playoffs regardless of what happens in their games because both teams would still be at least one game up on Atlanta, which would tie for fifth place with Spring Hill.
What happens if Pleasant Grove beats Gladewater and Gilmer beats Pittsburg?
Pleasant Grove would tie Gladewater in the standings with 3-2 records behind Gilmer's perfect record.
Pittsburg would fall to fourth place where Atlanta could either tie it in the standings or not, depending on if it beats Spring Hill. Pittsburg would be awarded the fourth playoff spot because of its head-to-head win against Atlanta.
Pleasant Grove would be rewarded for beating Gladewater and would take second place, demoting Gladewater to third.
What happens if Pleasant Grove beats Gladewater and Pittsburg beats Gilmer?
Pleasant Grove, Gladewater and Pittsburg would all finish district play with 3-2 records while Atlanta would be at least one game back of them with zero to play.
Gilmer would still finish in first place with a 4-1 record and Pittsburg would finish in fourth place because it lost head-to-head games to both Pleasant Grove and Gladewater.
Pleasant Grove would earn second place for its head-to-head win against Gladewater.
Why again does Pittsburg make the playoffs no matter what?
1.) If Pleasant Grove wins its game and Atlanta wins its game yet Pittsburg loses its game, then Pleasant Grove finishes in third place with zero games left to play.
Pittsburg would finish in fourth place alongside Atlanta, but it beat Atlanta earlier this season. Pittsburg's reward would be the fourth and final playoff spot.
2.) If Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove both win their games, they remain at least a game ahead of Atlanta with zero games left to play.
Pittsburg would finish in fourth place, Gladewater in third, Pleasant Grove in second and Gilmer in first.
3.) If Atlanta wins yet Pleasant Grove and Pittsburg both lose, the three teams would tie for third place with identical 2-3 district records.
Despite Pittsburg's loss to Pleasant Grove, because Pleasant Grove lost to Atlanta, the three teams have 1-1 records against each other and the tie has to be settled on point differential. Atlanta has the worst point differential of the three teams.
The point differential is sealed since none of the teams play each other this week and this is the final week of the regular season.
Atlanta would be the odd team out of the tie as the only squad in the three-team tie with a negative point differential.
What's the point as it pertains to Gilmer?
It doesn't matter if Pittsburg wins or loses at Gilmer. As long as the Pirates physically show up to the Buckeyes' Jeff Traylor Stadium and play a game, they make the playoffs.
Pittsburg is invincible as far as whether or not it makes the playoffs. There's no incentive to play the game conservatively. Rather, there's incentive to play aggressively to contest for the third playoff spot out of the league.
Pertinent Gilmer-Pittsburg game facts
- Gilmer has not lost a home game since the 2010 season.
- Pittsburg and Gilmer have not played since 2011 season. The Buckeyes won the most recent game, 14-6, en route to a regional championship game appearance.
Key matchup: Gilmer's defense versus Pittsburg's offensive skill players.
The Buckeyes' offense has averaged 38.3 points per district game this season, have a 3,000-yard passer, an Oklahoma State receiver commitment, six other receivers with at least 200 yards and a stable of four running backs with at least 200 yards. They're explosive at the top of the chart and have enough depth to rotate fresh legs into the game at any moment.
Pittsburg has some solid players on defense, particularly along the front, but the team would be best served to simply limit the amount of time Gilmer gets with the ball.
The Pirates' offense needs to have a good day for two reasons.
If Pittsburg has the ball then Gilmer doesn't have the ball and can't score without a big defensive play.
Secondly, the Buckeyes have won all four of their previous district games and have scored at least 31 points in each win despite offenses taking up a ball control mentality. The Pirates will have to score to keep pace.
Senior running back Red Shields and senior Stephen F. Austin receiver commitment DeJour Dowell will probably be the players Pittsburg leans on the most. Combined, they account for 46.4 percent of the total offensive output of 3,506 yards.
Around those two players is a somewhat robust receiving corps made up of three other players with at least 200 yards, one running back with about 400 rushing yards and 1,000-yard pocket passer Jaylon Jimmerson.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, Gilmer is quite nicely designed defensively to stop a spread-oriented attack like theirs.
The Buckeyes are particularly strong in the secondary and at linebacker. They also posses an undersized but overachieving defensive front. And, just like on offense, they have the depth to rotate players in and out of the game at will.
Running back Kelton Collier frequently plays linebacker and will be surely be utilized on defense.
Linebacker Jeremy Kelly, who has a team-best 87 tackles, anchors depth at linebacker.
If Pittsburg hurts Gilmer badly enough in the passing game, LaMarcus Morton could hop in at cornerback and complicated passing on one side of the field. Probably Dowell's side of the field.
Morton is that Oklahoma State receiver commitment.
One player that will not be subbed around is Louisiana Tech safety commitment Kollin Hurt. He'll be at the top of the defense and proves his value with a second-best 86 tackles on the team.
Bottom line, Pittsburg's offensive players will have to outplay the opposing defense to give their team a chance against a threatening offense going the other way.
Don't be surprised if: The Pirates play with house money.
That is to say Pittsburg is already in the playoffs, has drawn the most difficult challenge of district teams in Week 11 and won't advance in the district standings without help unrelated to whether it wins or loses this specific game.
There's just not a lot of risk in this contest for the Pirates.
They could literally onside kick all night, never punt, always go for two points after touchdowns and blitz carefree on defense without worrying about losing their playoff spot.
And why not? A win against Gilmer would be a huge confidence booster
This strange circumstance provides Pittsburg an opportunity to not be bound to conventional coaching wisdom for one night, play aggressively in all phases and just maybe steal the first very first win from Gilmer at its home stadium since 2010.