The Bucks jumped out to a 45-0 halftime lead despite controlling the ball on offense only 5:52 of the first half of the contest. Coach Jeff Traylor then played the Gilmer Junior Varsity offense the entire second half of the game against the outmatched youthful Yellowjackets, and they managed a score on their first possession of the half.
Both teams agreed to run the clock non-stop except for extra points and changes of possession beginning at the 6:15 mark of the third quarter.
Gilmer will now take on Pittsburg on Thursday night, Nov. 21, in the Area round of the playoffs. The Buckeyes will be a prohibitive favorite in that contest as well.
Gilmer won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. Pablin Olivares kicked away to Shane Burge at his 10 and he returned to the 18 where freshman quarterback Jeremiah Crawford led the Yellowjacket offense onto the field first time.
The Black Flag Defense forced a three-and-out and Crawford hit a 45-yard punt down to the 32. The ball was taken by Chase Tate and he went 68 yards into the end zone, but the Buckeyes were called for an illegal block on the return. After a 10-yard penalty from the point of the infraction, Tanner Barr led the Gilmer offense onto the field at his 24.
Barr led the offense down the field on a 10-play drive into the end zone that took 2:40. The first TD of the night came when he hit Desmond Pollard from 12 yards out, capping the 76-yard scoring drive with 7:34 left in the opening quarter. Pablin Olivares hit the PAT and Gilmer led 7-0.
Rhett Self returned the next kickoff from his 7 out to the 12, and Mineola went on offense on again. The ‘Jackets picked up one first down, but the Black Flag forced a punt on the next series. Crawford hit a short 24-yard kick to the Gilmer 40 and Barr and company hit the field for the second time.
The offense held the ball for 1:53 and moved 55 yards in 8 plays, but the drive stalled inside the 10 and Olivares came in to attempt a 21-yard field goal. The kick was good and Gilmer led 10-0 with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
Self took the ensuing kickoff from Olivares at his 2 and returned the ball up to the 21. Crawford led his team on a lengthy drive on the possession. He hit Casey Gilbreath on a 25-yard pass on the second play of the possession. Mineola held the ball for 8 plays and 3:18, but the Black Flag shut the door on an incomplete pass on a 4th and 11 at the Gilmer 33, and Barr brought the Gilmer offense back on the field.
The Bucks went on a 5-play, 67-yard drive in just 47 seconds for their next score. On the first play of the possession, Barr hit Nick Smith for a 37-yard gain. Barr ran for six on the next play, Jamel Jackson followed with an 8-yard run before Barr ran for 12 on the next play. Kris Boyd then ran into the end zone from the 5 on the next play. Olivares added the extra point and Gilmer led 17-0 with 10:39 left in the first half.
Self took the next Olivares kickoff at his 7 and returned the ball up to the 21 where he fumbled the pigskin, but Gilbreath recovered for the Yellowjackets at that point and they went on offense again.
Self was stopped for no gain on the first play of the series before Crawford threw incomplete for Chantz Perkins on the second play. On the third play of the possession, Self lost five yards and never really got the handle on the ball. John McPherson was at the right spot at the right time and scooped up the loose pigskin and returned it into the end zone for a touchdown with 9:47 left in the half. Olivares booted the extra point and Gilmer led 24-0.
Perkins took the next Olivares kickoff at his 15 and returned it out to his 25 where Crawford brought his offensive team back onto the field. It was a quick three-and-out by the Black Flag and Crawford was forced to punt away again. The kick travelled 40 yards to the Gilmer 38. DeVondrick Dixon fielded the kick and didn’t stop until he had traveled 62 yards into the end zone for another Buckeye TD. Olivares added the extra point and the score was 31-0 Gilmer with 7:14 left in the half.
The next kick was taken by Aaron Stanford at his 22 and returned to his 33. In a desperation move, the ‘Jackets went for a fourth and less than a yard at their own 42 trying to sustain a drive and make something happen. Crawford was stopped just short of the yard to gain, and Gilmer took over on offense at the Mineola 42.
It took just one play and 12 seconds for the Bux to find the end zone, as Barr hit Chase Tate for 42 yards and the TD with 5:13 left in the half. Olivares split the uprights, Gilmer led 38-0, and the rout was on.
After a 16-yard return of the next Olivares kickoff, Mineola set up shop on their 27. They managed two first downs before the Black Flag shut the door forcing another Crawford punt. The ball travelled into the end zone and Gilmer went back on offense at their 20 with 1:23 left in the half.
The Buckeyes moved the 80 yards in five plays that consumed exactly one minute off the clock for what would be the final score by the first team offense on the night. Barr hit Darrian Lewis on an 80-yard pass and run into the end zone, but an illegal block call brought the ball back to the Mineola 40 after the penalty yardage was marked off. After picking up another first down in three plays, Barr hit Pollard from 29 yards out for the touchdown. Olivares booted another successful extra point and Gilmer led 45-0 with 23 seconds left in the half.
After a 10-yard return by Burge out to the ‘Jacket 25, Self gained one yard on a run and the first half came to a close.
The Mineola kick to open the second half went to the Gilmer 27 and was returned to the 43. JV quarterback Zac Spears led the JV offense onto the field for the drive. It was a time consuming and successful possession, as the JV unit held the ball for 4:33, and went the 57 yards for a touchdown over 12 plays. The score came on a 21-yard TD run by Cambron Granville with 7:27 left in the third quarter. Granville also caught a 24-yard pass from Spears on the third play of the drive on a key third down conversion. Tristan Olivares came in for the extra point, and after the kick the Gilmer lead was 52-0.
Tristan stayed in for the ensuing kickoff. The kick was taken by Kourtland Sinches at his 15 and he returned the kick out to his 32. The clock continued to wind shortly after the beginning of the Mineola possession. The Black Flag didn’t allow a first down and Crawford hit a 34-yard punt with no return, putting Spears and his unit back on the field at the Gilmer 36 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.
The JV offense picked up one first down on a Spears to Dakeilan Nelson pass, but Spears’ pass on a fourth-and-two on the next series fell incomplete and Crawford brought his charges back onto the field at his 34. The Yellowjackets mustered two first downs in the possession, but Crawford had to punt away on the third series. The kick went into the Gilmer end zone and the Bucks were back on the offensive at their 20 with 10:40 left in the game.
Gilmer went three-and-out on the possession and Spears blasted 50-yard punt down to the Mineola 23. Crawford led his team down the field for their best possession of the game, picking up three first downs in the process. On the fourth series Crawford narrowly missed getting his team on the scoreboard, as Gilbreath caught a pass just out of the field of play as he ran out of bounds inside the end zone, and Gilmer took back over at their 17 with 3:02 left.
Jackson Sikes picked up a first down on the first play of the possession with a run of 10 yards, but on the next series Spears had to punt away on fourth down. The kick traveled 30 yards to the Mineola 28 and Crawford led his team onto the field with 16 seconds left in the game. Self picked up four yards on a run up to his 32 as time expired, giving the Buckeyes the 52-0 victory.
We asked Coach Traylor his thoughts on the easy win. “Mineola’s a very young team, you know. They had a freshman quarterback and some good sophomore linemen out there and they were excited to play and I was excited for those guys, but yeah, we’ve got a veteran ball club who’s been here a lot before, and our kids played well tonight.”
We also asked his thoughts about the first playoff shutout win in five years. “Yeah, it was good to get that. Our kids needed a little confidence booster, so we played a lot better on defense.”
We also asked him if the plan had been for the JV offense to get playing time in the game and his thoughts on their performance. “Yeah, we had told them all week if we could get ahead we were going to let them go the whole second half, so they worked hard all week and we got them a little extra practice and they went out there and executed. We didn’t execute there a couple of times, but we were close and I was happy for those kids.”
We wrapped our interview up by asking the coach his thoughts about this week’s game against the winner of the Pittsburg-Wills Point game. Pittsburg was the favorite in that matchup and won 54-49. “I really don’t have a clue. We worked on Mineola all week, you know, and that’s all I’ve been focused on, so we’ll wait and see what happens.”
The game against the Pirates (5-6) will kick off at 7 p.m. tomorrow night (Thursday, Nov. 21) in Longview at Pine Tree ISD’s new $16 million Pirate Stadium.