THE GILMER BUCKEYES (11-1), District 16-3A champs, will travel west this Friday to Mesquite to take on the Argyle Eagles (11-1), District 10-3A champs.
This will be the third year in a row that these two teams have met in postseason competition.
Argyle eliminated Gilmer from the Class 3A Division II playoffs in 2010 and 2011.
So you can be sure that the air around Mesquite Memorial Stadium will be absolutely electric with excitement when this third round matchup kicks off at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30.
Argyle, located just south of Denton, is only in its 11th season of playing high school football and yet it has established itself as one of the premier Texas high school football programs.
After going 1-9 in its first season of 2002, the Argyle school district made a pivotal decision by hiring Todd Rodgers, defensive coordinator at nearby Flower Mound Marcus, to lead its program.
In retrospect, it looks to be just about as wise a move as the one the Gilmer ISD made in 2000 to hire Jeff Traylor, assistant head coach at Jacksonville, to come back home and lead the Buckeyes.
Coach Rodgers just won his 100th game with the Eagles last Friday afternoon, a 42-14 win over the Melissa Cardinals in Denton.
Rodgers spoke with the Denton Record-Chronicle afterwards.
“I knew it had potential. I just didn’t know the magnitude of the potential,” Rodgers said of Argyle’s football program. “The community was hungry for football, and I was hungry to win and show them what it looked like. They were very cordial and compliant and fired up about the direction I was taking the program.”
He has taken the Eagles to two state title games, in 2005 against Newton while still in Class 2A and last season against Wimberley.
While both of those games resulted in narrow defeats, last year’s 21-14 loss to Wimberley has a back story you need to know.
As everyone who attended last year’s quarterfinal game between Gilmer and Argyle in Corsicana will remember, the Eagles had a sensational sophomore wide receiver named Ian Sadler who was the favorite target of senior quarterback Austin Aune (now a member of the New York Yankees organization after being the 89th overall pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft).
Sadler went down with a knee injury (torn ACL) on the opening possession of the state championship game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington a few weeks later, thus clipping the wings of the Argyle attack.
Not to take anything away from Wimberley, but there are probably at least as many Argyle fans who believe the Eagles would have won state last year with a healthy Sadler as there are Gilmer fans who maintain the Buckeyes would have done the same had quarterback Luke Turner not suffered a season-ending broken ankle in the seventh game of the season against Carthage.
However, as the late Don Meredith liked to say, “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”
So Argyle is still seeking its first championship ring.
Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor, who has two rings already, thanks to coaching the Buckeyes to state championships in 2004 and 2009, notched his 145th career win last Friday night against Atlanta in Longview. He is in his 13th season here. Gilmer is the winningest program in Class 3A over that time period.
Argyle is similar to Gilmer in that it came into 2012 relatively inexperienced, with only seven returning starters (four on offense, three on defense). Both teams had to find a new quarterback as well.
Besides Sadler, its most noteworthy returning weapon is its record-breaking junior kicker Cole Hedlund, whom many consider the best in the state in any classification.
Sadler (5) can hurt you in any number of ways, including as a kick returner.
His ability is amazing,” Coach Rodgers said. “He scans the field so well on returns trying to figure out where everyone is. He just knows way ahead of time that he’s going to make a move to get by the other kids.”
In Argyle’s 69-0 blowout win over Frisco Lone Star, Sadler finished with a rushing touchdown, passing touchdown, receiving touchdown and punt-return touchdown.
Rodgers will get no argument from his Gilmer counterpart about Sadler’s abilities.
“He’s killed us for two years already,” said Traylor. “Just a junior. He reminds me of LaMichael James, Darrion Pollard. Just one of those kind of kids that’s just you can’t seem to get him down. And then he outruns everybody.”
He added, “It’s like the game being played in slow motion the way the kid plays the game.”
Scouting the other Argyle players, he said, “They have a very good quarterback, Brandon Boyzuick (3).”
Boyzuick is also a junior.
“Tailback is a very strong kid — great low center of gravity, strong legs. He’s named Nick Ralston (22).
“The offensive line is extremely well-coached and big, strong, physical kids.
“Their center, Jordan Deagen (72), is very good.”
Deagen is a senior.
Senior Tanner Fought (70) and junior Micah Capra (55) are also very good, he added.
“They’re an extremely, extremely talented, tough, big, physical football team,” repeated Coach Traylor.
“Defensively, their middle linebacker is a returner, Sam Sizelove (41). He’s a Division I recruit.”
Sizelove is another junior.
“Their outside linebackers Seth Jones (44) and Colton Hinnrichs (40) are very good players.”
Capra plays both ways and is a good defensive lineman as well.
Wood Speed, Reese Thompson, Colton Katzen and Hunter Treadwell are all great players in the secondary, Traylor said.
He called the aforementioned Argyle kicker Hedlund “all-world.”
Hedlund had three field goals in last year’s game, including one with 2:05 left in the game which upped Argyle’s lead from six to nine points and put the game out of reach at 44-35.
Gilmer is coming off a 57-13 rout of Atlanta at Lobo Stadium in Longview last Friday night.
Speaking of kick returns, the Buckeyes have a pretty special player in that facet of the game also in junior DeVondrick Dixon.
“I thought his return was huge as an answer,” Traylor said of Dixon’s 81-yard touchdown return of Atlanta’s kickoff after the Rabbits had narrowed the Gilmer lead to 21-13 on their opening second-half possession.
He said Dixon also blocked and ran well.
“All our running backs ran really well — Kris (Boyd), Josh (Walker) and Jamel (Jackson).
The offensive line had one of its best performances of the season, enabling Gilmer to rush for 336 yards.
“Nobody talks about them much, but they played really well,” said Coach Traylor.
These linemen include Dillon Sampson at center; Brady English, Dylan Adkinson and Blake Rice at guards; Mitch Lange, Jackson McQueen and Justin Vestal at tackles.
Their coach, Kurt Traylor, deserves a lot of credit as well.
Leaders on defense included:
Xavier Fluellen, nine tackles, one forced fumble, one tackle for a loss;
Josh Walker, four tackles, four assists, two pressures, one fumble recovery, one sack, one touchdown;
CJ Williams, seven tackles, one assist, two pressures, one sack, one tackle for a loss;
Trey Washington, five tackles, one assist;
DeMarco Boyd, five tackles, one assist.
“I really want to brag on my lower-level kids, ninth and JV. They came and were scout team all week during Thanksgiving. That was a huge help,” said Coach Traylor.
“The kids that were here sacrificed. To know that you’re not going to play; most of them don’t even suit out. I think that was a huge part of why we won the ball game. You could just tell our kids practiced better than Atlanta did during that week.”
He also praised the Buckeye fans.
“Our crowd completely packed Lobo and they were really on. It was a lot of fun.”
It’s going to be more difficult for the Gilmer faithful to pack the visitors’ side of Mesquite Memorial Stadium Friday night, but we should make every effort to do so.
“It’ll be an exciting high school football game. Very few times in life do you get a chance to get a second chance, much less a third chance,” concluded Coach Traylor.
“So we’ve earned that right. We’re going to get after them, do the best we can and see what happens.”
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, won 50-28
Henderson, won 28-26
Spring Hill, won 59-10
Bullard, won 57-39
Kilgore, won 20-14
Canton, won 51-36
Atlanta, won 57-13
Argyle Eagles Season to Date:
Abilene Wylie, lost 31-14
FW Nolan Catholic, won 28-7
Paris, won 41-8
Kennedale, won 44-13
Wilmer-Hutchins, won 42-6
Dallas Madison, won 49-18
Carrollton Ranchview, won 56-0
Frisco Lone Star, won 69-0
Aubrey, won 54-6
Celina, won 45-7
Bridgeport, won 45-0
Melissa, won 42-14
MAP AND DIRECTIONS:
A Google map with directions to Mesquite Memorial Stadium is online at this link.
BUCKEYE TICKET LINE:
Advance tickets are on sale today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gilmer ISD Administration Building, 500 S. Trinity in Gilmer. They are $6 for adults and $4 for students. All tickets at the gate will be $10.
LUNCH WITH THE COACH:
Noon Wednesdays, Buckeyes Booster Club meets at Gilmer Country Club.
DISTRICT OF DOOM SWEEP:
For the second week in a row, all three playoff representatives from District 16-3A won. In addition to the Buckeyes’ win, Kilgore defeated Paris, 41-14, and Henderson beat Quinlan Ford, 49-13. Friday night, Kilgore takes on Gainesville at City Bank Stadium in Forney and Henderson faces Celina at Hanby Stadium in Mesquite.
TANNER BARR has completed 181 out of 303 passes for 2234 yards and 19 touchdowns.
KRIS BOYD has rushed for 1026 yards on 108 carries and 17 touchdowns, an average of 9.5 yards per carry.
CHASE TATE has caught 48 passes for 414 yards and three touchdowns.
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.)
GILMER BUCKEYES HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL APP:
MAXPREPS HOME PAGE:
of the Week:
Player of the Week:
Players of the Week:
Will Harrison, Offense
Zod Heath, Defense
Jackson Sikes, Special Teams
The Gilmer Athletic Booster Club will be selling game programs Friday before the Buckeyes game at Mesquite Memorial Stadium. The programs are a primary fundraiser for the booster club. Each program contains updated season statistics for the Buckeyes
and sells for $4.
Inside each program is a numbered ticket for a drawing sponsored by All-Star Insurance and First National Bank for a $200 Visa Gift Card that will be given away at halftime.
Gilmer v. Argyle Info & Notes