Top 25 Games Of 2015: No. 22, Tatum At Gilmer
It's almost cheating putting this one on the list.
Not much thought has to go into it. It just is what it is when Gilmer and Tatum meet up on the field.
This year's meeting between the Eagles and Buckeyes, a Sept. 11 affair at the newly named Jeff Traylor Stadium, checks in at No. 22 as ETSN.fm counts down the top 25 regular season East Texas football games of 2015.
It's one of the best year-to-year competitions in the state in terms of sheer athleticism.
The two sides have met 23 times since 1986. Gilmer leads the segment, 17-6, but it's almost always a competitive game when played as same-sized schools. As it will be for a second consecutive team this season.
Even last year, while the Buckeyes pasted teams in the playoffs en route to the Class 4A Division II crown, a Tatum team that ultimately meandered to a 7-6 overall record had overtime in sight within the final minute of the game.
McLane Carter's 11-yard pass to Blake Lynch with 26 seconds left was the difference.
On paper, Gilmer is the team to beat with 10 starters back and the single best all-around high school athlete in the meeting. Texas defensive commitment Demarco Boyd.
But the Eagles are talented enough to put up a fight without factoring in head coach Andy Evans' innovation. They can play ball control with one of the best year-to-year running offenses and keep the Buckeyes' prolific offense off the field for big chunks of the game.
If both teams make the most of their chances, fans could very well be in for another nail-biter.
Bragging rights are on the line when the lights come on in Gilmer.