You get the feeling that the 2012 Gilmer Buckeyes are tapping into the spirit of that motto voiced so often by the recently-departed Davis.
The voice seems to grow especially strong in the second half. Witness the Buckeyes’ third straight dominating performance in the final two quarters of the game, this time earning them a 21-13 victory over Gladewater last Friday night in the District 16-3A opener.
There might be another explanation for why the spirit of professional football came over the Buckeyes after halftime in Gladewater, though.
Here’s how Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor recounts what happened:
“In the third quarter right when we had just messed up another offensive series, I was about to lose my wit. And I got a big bear hug from some kid behind me.
“I turned around and it was Curtis Brown (former Gilmer Buckeye and Texas Longhorn now in his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers) and he said, ‘Coach, it’s gonna be fine. I’m gonna take care of this for you.’
“And I mean he was fantastic on the sideline, encouraging our young kids. I mean, he was getting after their tails now. I mean, he coached his tail off on that sideline.”
So now you know Curtis Brown has another profession to fall back on once he concludes what we all hope will be a long career in the National Football League.
“I’d hire him right now,” said Coach Traylor. “He’s got a lifetime job with me.”
Probably Curtis would want everyone to know he was giving his former coach a “Buckeye hug,” though.
It was Gilmer quarterback Tanner Barr who was receiving “bear hugs” every now and then out on the field, and they weren’t meant to be encouraging.
With apologies to Coca-Cola, you could say they were “the paws that don’t refresh.”
But when he knelt in “victory formation” on the final play of the game, Barr and the Buckeyes could look up at the scoreboard and, in memory of Al Davis, say “we just won, baby!”
Next up for the Buckeyes is another formidable district opponent, the Chapel Hill Bulldogs. Don’t let this team’s 1-4 start in 2012 fool you. Their losses were to two Class 4A schools, plus two stellar 3A programs. They will come to Buckeye Stadium Friday night 0-1 in district after a 24-6 loss to Henderson. Their backs are more or less against the wall in a district this competitive, with only three playoff berths to award among seven teams.
Chapel Hill has gone 28-2 over the past two seasons, making it to the Class 3A Division I state championship game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington in both.
After having been edged out by Henderson, 28-21, in 2010, the Bulldogs won their rings last year with a 20-19 victory over Alvarado.
“We know right now none of that really matters. We’ve got a completely different team than we had last year,” Chapel Hill head coach Thomas Sitton told Bryan Houston, host of Bryan Houston’s Sports Radio Live on 99.3 FM.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that played on Thursday night last year.”
While they did well on Thursday nights, he said they are having to “grow up quick” because “it’s a different level on Friday night.”
Asked about the team’s new membership in District 16-3A (aka the District of Doom), he said:
“It’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna be a war every week. There’s so many good football teams in the district. You’re going to have to be ready to play every Friday night and you’re going to have to play your best football.”
On a positive note, he said, “The great thing about it is if you can somehow make it out of the district, you’ll be ready for playoffs, for sure.”
Coach Sitton said every District 16-3A game would have a “playoff-type atmosphere.”
He characterized playing in the new district as both “fun” and “hard work.”
“But our kids are excited about it. Our coaches are excited about it. And hopefully we can win a game or two,” he said.
“Our expectations are real high around here. The kids had an extremely tough off-season and did well with it. Our ‘boot camp’ was great. People are excited about football in Chapel Hill. The younger kids saw what we were able to do the last couple of years, and there’s nothing better than getting to play in November and December. We don’t know where we are going to end up, but I know our kids are going to play hard.”
Speaking of playing hard, the Buckeyes’ Black Flag Defense kept Gilmer in the Gladewater game until the offense finally began to click midway through the third quarter.
Some of the defensive standouts included John McPherson (six tackles, four assists) Josh Walker (three tackles, seven assists, two pressures, one sack), Harrison Foster (three tackles, four assists, one pressure, one sack) and Brandon Barnes (six tackles, two assists and a fumble recovery).
“Our defense obviously was the difference in the ball game,” said Traylor. “Their play in the second half was just phenomenal.”
He added, “Our kicking game was big again. We had 199 yards in ‘hidden yardage.’ So that was really big. Catching punts, returning kicks, extra points, recovery of kicks. A lot of that stuff adds up.”
He didn’t find a lot of satisfaction with the offense, but pointed out, “You have to give Gladewater credit. They’ve got a really good defense.”
Coach Traylor totally discounts the slow start that Chapel Hill is off to in 2012, citing the strength of the Bulldogs’ schedule. And the victory they do have was by 20 points over Palestine, which in turn beat Jacksonville by 17 points. Gilmer beat Jacksonville by one point.
“Chapel Hill is one of the best teams we’ve played this year,” he said. “Loaded with team speed.”
Quarterback Andrew Black is familiar to the Buckeyes, having played for Jacksonville his freshman and sophomore years before moving to Chapel Hill earlier this year.
“Andrew Black’s a very good football player.
“Tailback’s a great player, Joseph Clark.”
Brandon Upshaw is also “great” at center.
“Their offensive line is good and well-coached.”
On defense, Wesley Thompson was “newcomer of the year” at middle linebacker. Clark is a good safety. Kevone Kennedy is good in the line. Gabriel Robinson is very good at cornerback as is JaMarcus McCowin. Londreyus Johnson is good at linebacker.
“They’re well-coached. They run to the ball. They’re just very inexperienced.
“And they’ve just been making a lot of mistakes on offense. That’s the only thing that’s been messing them up.
“If they don’t turn the ball over, they’d probably be 3-2 or 4-1.”
Coach Traylor concluded with great praise for his Chapel Hill counterpart:
“Coach Sitton, there’s just not a better person in the world than that guy. He’s just a fantastic human being; coaches his kids very well. Just a great person. His team will be very well-prepared. They’ll behave and they’ll play hard.”
District 16-3A Game 2
Chapel Hill Bulldogs vs. Gilmer Buckeyes
Buckeye Stadium, Gilmer
Friday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.
Gilmer Buckeyes Season to Date:
Atlanta, won 31-17
Plano Prestonwood, lost 42-12
Jacksonville, won 34-33
Daingerfield, won 43-14
Gladewater, won 21-13
Chapel Hill Bulldogs Season to Date:
Lindale, lost 31-14
Whitehouse, lost 38-14
Carthage, lost 30-6
Palestine, won 34-14
Henderson, lost 24-6
BUCKEYE TICKET LINE:
903-841-7777 — Advance tickets are on sale through Thursday at the Gilmer ISD Administration Building. Sale hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
LUNCH WITH THE COACH:
Noon Wednesdays, Buckeyes Booster Club meets at Gilmer Country Club.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Lamar Harris is a senior at Oklahoma where he plays left cornerback.
Dakota Hagler is a senior at Emporia State in Kansas. He is a defensive lineman.
Traylon Webb is a freshman at Tyler Junior College. He is a defensive back.
Etex, Channel 2, will replay Gilmer games at 10 a.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Wednesdays.
(This channel also carries the audio of the games live.)
New Diana games will be replayed 2 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Thursdays
Harmony games will be replayed 6 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Tuesdays.
GILMER BUCKEYES HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL APP:
MAXPREPS HOME PAGE:
of the Week:
Player of the Week:
Players of the Week:
Kevin Williams, Offense
Contrel Morgan, Defense
Shawn Ray, Special Teams
The Old Coach State Rankings: Week Five
October 5- Chapel Hill
2011 Record: 15-0, Class 3A Division I State Champion
Last meeting: 2009, Gilmer won 45-7
Head Coach: Thomas Sitton (4th season)
Returning Starters: 1 Offense/2 Defense
Did you know? Chapel Hill and Alvarado ISDs each received about $50,000 for appearing in the Class 3A Division I title game at Cowboys Stadium on Dec. 9, 2011. By law, revenue received by the participating schools from the football championships must go into each school’s general fund. Some of that revenue eventually goes to athletics. “We were able to get some things we had wanted for a long time, but couldn’t afford. We got some blocking sleds and chutes for our linemen,” Chapel Hill coach Thomas Sitton said.
Gilmer v. Chapel Hill Game Info & Notes
By JOE DODD
October 5- Chapel Hill
Colors: Blue & Gold
2011 Record: 15-0, 4-0 in District; Class 3A DI State Champions
2012 Record: 1-4, 0-1 in District
Week 0: lost @ Lindale 14-31
Week 1: lost to Whitehouse 14-38
Week 2: lost to Carthage 6-30
Week 3: won @ Palestine 34-14
Week 4: lost to Henderson 6-24
Total Points For: 74
Average Points For Per Game: 14.8
Total Points Against: 137
Average Points Against Per Game: 27.4
Head Coach: Thomas Sitton (4th season, 34-11, 34-11 overall)
Returning Starters: 1 Offense/2 Defense
OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Spread
DEFENSIVE FORMATION: 4-3
Players to watch:
QB Andrew Black, 6’ 0”, 180 lbs. JR. (223 yards rushing)
RB/LB Joseph Clark, 5’ 9”, 175 lbs. JR. (52 carries for 374 yards, 2 TD’s)
OL Brandon Upshaw, 5’ 11”, 265 lbs. SR.
LB Wesley Thompson, 6’ 0”, 175 JR.
YEAR W-L-T COACH
2000 4-6-0 Darold Turner
2001 5-5-0 Darold Turner
2002 2-8-0 David Norris
2003 5-5-0 David Norris
2004 6-5-0 David Norris
2005 3-7-0 Phil Castles
2006 6-6-0 Phil Castles
2007 6-5-0 Phil Castles
2008 9-2-0 Phil Castles
2009 5-5-0 Thomas Sitton 2010 13-2-0 Thomas Sitton (Class 3A DI Finalist) 2011 15-0-0 Thomas Sitton (Class 3A DI Champions) 2012 1-4-0 Thomas Sitton
BY DECADES W- L- T
2000-09 51-44-0 2010-12 29-6-0
Undefeated Seasons: 1
Winless Seasons: 5 (1960, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1998)
Last District Championship: 2011
Last Playoff Appearance: 2011
Playoff Record: 22-10-0
GILMER v. Chapel Hill: 6-0-0
19 - 1951 - 0
16 - 1962 - 0
33 - 1963 - 0
33 - 1970 – 15 35 – 2008 – 6 45 – 2009 - 7
Gilmer has a 6 game winning streak over Chapel Hill
Gilmer has a 10 game district winning streak (last loss: 38-21 @ Carthage, 2010)
Gilmer has a 140 consecutive games scoring streak (last shutout: 10-0 @ Longview to Pleasant Grove, 2001)
Jeff Traylor teams are 2-0 against Chapel Hill
Jeff Traylor is 138-23 at Gilmer (86%)
Gilmer is 55-4 under Jeff Traylor in district games (93%)
Gilmer’s Jeff Traylor’s 86% winning percentage is the 2nd best among all active coaches in Texas
Gilmer has won more games (138) than any other 3A team in the state since 2000
Gilmer has either won the state championship or lost in the playoffs to the eventual state champion in 6 of the past 9 years
Gilmer is 111-14 under Jeff Traylor in regular season games (89%)
Gilmer is 89-6 (94%) in regular season games since 2003
Gilmer is averaging 425.8 total yards per game
Gilmer's 317 offensive plays consist of 163 passing attempts (51%) and 154 rushing attempts (49%)
Gilmer averages 224 yards per game passing (53%) and 201.8 yards per game rushing (47%)
Gilmer is ranked 14th in this week’s Associated Press Class 3A poll
Gilmer is ranked 15th in this week’s Class 3A Pigskinprep.com power rankings
Gilmer’s schedule is the 3rd toughest in Class 3A according to PigskinPrep.com
Chapel Hill’s schedule is the 2nd toughest in Class 3A according to PigskinPrep.com
Gilmer is a 13 point favorite over Chapel Hill according to PigskinPrep.com
Did you know?
Chapel Hill will be the 11th defending state champion that Gilmer has faced under Jeff Traylor
Gilmer is 8-2 under Jeff Traylor against defending state champions
Gilmer is 9-6 all time against defending state champions