Gilmer won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Pablin Olivares’ opening kickoff was fair caught at the Bulldog 33 where the hosts began their first possession of the night. It was a short-lived drive, as the Black Flag Defense forced a three-and-out.
After a 41-yard punt by Andrew Black, Gilmer went on offense for the first time at their 21. The drive started out well, as the Bucks moved 32 yards on the first three plays, but then the ‘Dog defense stiffened and Tanner Barr punted away into the end zone on fourth down and Chapel Hill took back over on offense at their 20.
The Black Flag forced another three-and-out and Black hit a 43-yard punt to the Gilmer 34 that was returned out to the 47 by Chase Tate and the Buckeyes went back on offense. Just as was the case in the first possession, the drive started well, as the Bux gained 41 yards on the first three plays. A holding call on the fourth play proved to be the undoing of the drive, and Barr punted from his 45 to the CH 22.
The hosts picked up one first down, but the Black Flag forced a punt on the next series. The kick traveled only 27 yards and Gilmer went back on offense for the third time on the night. Barr and his unit garnered one first down, but then stalled out. Barr kicked away to the Bulldog 18 and Gabriel Robinson returned the ball out to his 31.
Black led his offense to one first down, but then a holding call stalled the drive out on the next series and Black hit a 47-yard punt to the Gilmer 10 that Chase Tate returned to the 14 and Barr led the offense onto the field for what would be their first score of the evening.
The drive took 3:12 and was 11 plays covering 86 yards. The score came on a 3-yard run by Jamel Jackson with 5:41 left in the first half. Pablin kicked the PAT, and Gilmer had a 7-0 lead. The ‘Dogs were called for roughing the kicker on the play, so after a 15-yard penalty, Gilmer kicked off from the CH 45.
In a brilliant call, Olivares kicked onside and DeVondrick Dixon recovered for the Buckeyes at the CH 30. It took only two plays for the next score. Jackson ran for three on first down and Kris Boyd ran into the end zone from 27 yards out on the second play, capping a 31-second drive. Olivares kicked the extra point and Gilmer led 14-0 with 5:41 left in the first half of play.
The ensuing Olivares kick traveled to the ‘Dog 10 and was returned to the 12. It was another three-and-out by the Black Flag and Black punted from his 14 to midfield. Tate gained two yards on the return to the 48.
Barr and company kept their foot on the accelerator, scoring their third TD of the night on a 6-play drive that consumed 1:37. The drive began with a 16-yard run by Dixon. Other key plays on the drive included a 10-yard run by Barr and runs of 19 and 11 by Kris Boyd. The score came on 2-yard run by Darrian Lewis with 2:41 left in the half. Olivares connected on the PAT and Gilmer led 21-0.
Realizing they were on the verge of being out of the game if they didn’t get some offense going, Ja’Braylon Franklin took the next Olivares kick at his 4 and returned it to his 23. It took only four plays for Black to get his team into the end zone for the first time on the evening. The drive took only 1:21. Wesley Thompson picked up nine on the first play; Black ran for consecutive gains of 7 and then hit Reggie King on a 54-yard scoring toss with 1:16 left in the opening half. Johnny Bonilla hit the extra point the gap closed to 21-7.
The next kick went to the Gilmer 26 and Nick Smith made some nifty moves and with good blocking ran down to the CH 45 before being tackled. Barr took only 28 seconds and three plays before guiding his charges for another TD. Boyd gained four on the first play, Tate picked up 11 on the next and Barr connected with Desmond Pollard from 30 yards out for the score on the next play. DeMarco Boyd ran into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and the Gilmer lead advanced to 29-7 with 48 seconds remaining in the half.
Olivares’ kickoff went to the 13 and was returned to the 20. The Bulldogs picked up two first downs and the half then ended on an incomplete pass.
The opening kick of the second half traveled to the Gilmer 25 and Nick Smith returned the ball to his 38. The Bucks picked up two first downs, but on a third-and-five Kris Boyd was stripped of the ball and Kevone Kennedy recovered for Chapel Hill on his 38.
The Black Flag, aided by a holding penalty on the ‘Dogs, locked the door on a fourth down incomplete pass, and Gilmer was back on the offensive again. The Buckeyes could only manage five yards on the possession and Barr punted down to the 23 on fourth down.
Black hit Jeffery Minor on the first play of the possession. Black then ran for 16 on the next play, but fumbled the ball away and Brian Restine recovered for Gilmer. It took just 48 seconds and three plays for Gilmer to score what would ultimately turn out to be the winning score.
DeMarco Boyd ran for 13 on the first play, Lewis gained six on the next play and Kris Boyd ran to the end zone from 42 yards out on the next play. Olivares added the point after and the Gilmer lead was 36-7 with 6:46 left in the third quarter.
Malik Walker took the ensuing kickoff from his 13 to his 20. Black led his offensive team onto the field for what would be the longest drive of the night by the Bulldogs. They took 12 plays and 3:53 to find the end zone. They got six first downs on the drive and the score came on a 2-yard run by Wesley Thompson with 2:53 left in the third quarter. Bonilla tacked on the extra point and the lead was down to 36-14.
The ‘Dogs decided to try an onside kick, but Blevin Burns was there to recover at the Gilmer 46. The possession started off well, but two penalties called against the Bucks doomed the drive and Barr punted down to the CH 25. A 5-yard return set the home team up for their third score.
Black engineered a 7-play, 70-yard drive that took 2:07 off the clock. The score came on a 37-yard TD pass from Black to Gabriel Robinson with 11:12 left in the game. After Bonilla hit the extra point, the ‘Dogs trailed 36-21 and felt momentum was shifting their way.
They kicked onside and Wesley Thompson recovered for the Bulldogs at the Gilmer 47. The Black Flag came through again with flying colors. Thompson picked up a yard on first down and then Black was dropped for losses of 10 and eight on the next two plays, forcing Black to punt away on fourth down. He hit a 38-yard kick that Dixon returned from his 25 all the way down to the Bulldog 35 and the offense was on the move again.
It took only five plays and 1:26 for Barr to lead the offense into the end zone again. Lewis started things off with a 15-yard dash on the first play and four plays later he found the end zone from 10 yards out for the score. Olivares added the PAT and lead moved to 43-21 with 7:32 left in the game.
Olivares kicked away to the Bulldog 5 and Deundre Phillips took the ball out to his 40, but one of his blockers was called for holding and the ball was moved back to the 26.
On the first series of the possession Black hit Kennedy for a gain of 13 on fourth down. The next series didn’t go as well, as John McPherson intercepted Black at the Bulldog 47 on third down.
Barr and the offense found the end zone again in only three plays that took only 27 seconds off the clock. After an incomplete pass on first down, Lewis ran for a gain of 19 on second down and then capped the possession with a 28-yard touchdown run on the next play. Olivares added the PAT and Gilmer led 50-21 with 5:17 left in the game.
Olivares kicked away into the end zone and the Bulldogs set up shop for what would be their final tally of the game on their 25. Black led his team the 75 yards for the TD in just five plays that took only 1:29. The big play in the drive was a 50 yard run by Walker. Black ran into the end zone from six yards out with 3:48 left in the contest. Bonilla was true on the extra point and the score was 50-28.
The Bulldogs kicked onside one final time, but Dixon grabbed the ball at his 43 and returned it to the CH 49. The ‘Dogs were also called for off sides on the kick and a 5-yard penalty was tacked on to the return, setting the Buckeyes up on the 44 where they began their final scoring drive of the night.
It took only 1:08 and four plays, all runs, for Gilmer to get into the end zone. Lewis reeled off 20 on the first play, Kris Boyd picked up a yard on the second play and lost three on the third play and Lewis capped it off running into the zone from 26-yards out with 2:40 left in the game. Barr rolled out on the extra point attempt out of the kicking formation, but the conversion attempt was no good and the score moved to 56-28.
Olivares squibbed the ensuing kick and it bounced over the head of the closest Bulldog and Dakeilan Nelson recovered for the Bucks at the Bulldog 35. Gilmer ran four plays and then Barr took a knee in victory formation to run out the clock.
The Buckeyes will take on Henderson this Saturday night at Lobo Stadium in Longview in the KYKX Saturday Night Game of the Week. Gilmer will be the home team. Be sure to make the short drive to the east and support your Buckeyes!