Top 25 Games Of 2016: No. 25, Gilmer Versus Liberty-Eylau
Gilmer and Liberty-Eylau have met the past two seasons, meet again this year and will probably get together another time in 2017.
Their head-to-head games have no bearing on the postseason since they're in different divisions of Class 4A. Do they know that?
When the Buckeyes and Leopards get together, it's always an entertaining show. This year's installment, which will be played at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler, checks in at No. 25 as ETSN.fm counts down the top 25 games of 2016.
Did you know this game will be a small-scale preview of future Oklahoma State-Texas games? Gilmer receiver LaMarcus Morton will somewhat go directly against Liberty-Eylau defensive end Lagaryonn Carson.
The Buckeyes also will put on display for a final season safety Kollin Hurt while the Leopards turn senior offensive tackle Franklin Smith II loose one more time. Hurt is committed to Louisiana Tech and Smith currently holds one scholarship opportunity from Texas Southern.
Not bad for 4A schools. And that's before the remainder of the two sides' squads show what they're capable of doing.
Anyway, Gilmer won last year's meeting by a score of 50-45. The Leopards nearly overcame a 20-point third quarter deficit in what was the No. 1-ranked game of 2015 ahead of the actual season.
Both teams advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs or better in their respective divisions -- Liberty-Eylau in 4A Division I and Gilmer in 4A Division II. The Buckeyes reached the state semifinal round off of their 2014 championship season.
Gilmer will be a more well-known quantity entering this season's meeting. Twelve players return from last year's team.
The Leopards bring 10 players back after notably exporting former quarterback Ke'Mon Freeman to SMU and receiver Thurman Morbley to Texas State.
This game will be trial by fire for new Liberty-Eylau signal caller Decorian Phillips and to a lesser extent running back Kameron Levingston. Both players got some reps in meaningful game time and a lot more snaps in blowout wins, but they haven't yet been asked to be the guys.
Likewise, new Gilmer quarterback Brett Rice will have the privilege of maneuvering around Carson all night long. Rice is the Buckeyes' third conescutive quarterback to only start as a senior.
Whoever can step into the spotlight first will tee his team up for a big win.
ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2016
- No. 25: Gilmer vs. Liberty-Eylau