Gilmer won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. Pablin Olivares kicked away to the Eagle 5. The ball was returned to the 10 by Reese Thompson. He fumbled the ball, but managed to recover it, and Argyle began their first possession at their 10.
Brandon Boyzuick led his offense on an 8-play possession, but on the third series the Black Flag Defense forced a 39-yard punt that died on the Gilmer 21.
Tanner Barr led the Bucks onto the field and got things rolling quickly. After DeVondrick Dixon lost seven on the first play and Barr threw incomplete on the next play, he hit Kris Boyd for a gain of 63 yards, and Gilmer was in great shape at the Argyle 24. Boyd ran for eight from there and then Barr hit Jaidon Parrish on a 16-yard TD pass with 7:32 left in the first quarter. Olivares added the extra point and Gilmer led 7-0. The drive was five plays, 79 yards, and took 1:11.
Thompson took the next kickoff from Olivares at his 10 and returned it to the 20. Ian Sadler, who along with Nick Ralston tormented the Bucks all night, ran for 6 on the first play of the possession. Connor Wilson was then thrown for a loss of one before Boyzuick hit Hunter Treadwell for a gain of 23. On the next play Sadler ran for six, but fumbled the ball away and the Bucks recovered on their 42.
Barr hit Nick Smith for a gain of 15 on the first play of the possession and then ran for eight himself on the next play, and it looked as though Gilmer would find the end zone again. Unfortunately, on the next play Barr’s pass was intercepted at the Eagle 34 and returned all the way down to the Gilmer 29 by Drew Estrada, and Argyle took back over on offense.
It took only nine seconds and two plays for the Eagles to capitalize on the turnover. Ralston was stopped for no gain on first down before Boyzuick hit Sadler from 29 yards out on second down for the touchdown. Cole Hedlund added the PAT and the game was tied 7-7 with 4:36 left in the opening quarter.
Dixon took the ensuing Hedlund kick at the Gilmer 5 and returned it to the 14. The Buckeyes were unable to get anything going on the series and had to punt the ball away on fourth down. Barr hit a 47-yarder that was taken by Sadler at his 45 and returned to the 47.
The Black Flag dug in and forced a three-and-out, and after a 33-yard punt, Gilmer went back on offense at the Buckeye 13. The sledding was tough again, as the Eagle defense forced another three-and-out. Barr booted a 32-yard kick that was taken by Thompson at his 47. He fumbled the ball once again, but recovered again, and Boyzuick and his offensive artillery hit the field.
The Eagles went on an 8-play, 53 yard drive that consumed 3:15, and took the lead on a 10-yard scoring pass from Boyzuick to Jon Micheal Pucciarello with 9:43 left in the first half. Hedlund added the point after, and Argyle led 14-7.
Hedlund kicked into the end zone and Gilmer took back over on their 25. A false start by the Bucks cost them five yards and forced another punt when Barr threw incomplete for Nick Smith. An 18-yard punt died at the Gilmer 42, and the Eagles were poised to add to their lead.
They did just that, as Ralston and Sadler took their team on their shoulders and carried the load. It took only three plays and 1:17 before they had their team in the end zone again. Ralston had runs of seven and six and Sadler followed that up with a 29-yard TD scamper with 8:09 left in the half. Hedlund added the extra point and Argyle’s lead increased to 21-7.
Hedlund kicked away and the kick was returned out to the Gilmer 19 where Barr brought the offense back on the field. Knowing they had to make a move quickly to get back in the game, the Buckeyes did just that. They went the 81 yards for a touchdown in just 1:35. Pollard had a key play on third-and-eight when he caught a Barr pass for a gain of 12. Kris Boyd then ran for two before Barr blasted up the middle on a quarterback draw that went for 65 yards and into the end zone for the TD. Olivares added the PAT and Gilmer was back within 7, at 21-14 with 5:12 left in the half.
Thompson took the next kickoff at his 18, fumbled yet again, and Kelton Collier recovered for Gilmer at the 18. It was a hard drive, but Barr took the team on a 7-play drive the 18 yards into the end zone in 3:31. Josh Walker scored on a 1-yard pass on fourth and goal from Barr with 1:41 left in the half. After Olivares nailed the extra point, the game was tied 21-21, and Gilmer fans relaxed, sensing everything was moving back in favor of the Bucks.
Estrada returned the ensuing Olivares kick from his 15 to the 26, and the Eagle offense hit the field again. They moved 50 yards in eight plays and took the final 1:41 off the clock to end the first half. Hedlund hit a 41-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead as the teams headed into the locker rooms.
Hedlund kicked away to begin the second half. Tate took the ball five yards deep in the end zone and returned it out to the Gilmer 13. The Buckeyes moved 87 yards into the end zone to take their second lead of the night in 4:10 and 13 plays. The score came on a 10-yard pass from Barr to Darrian Lewis. After Olivares’ PAT, Gilmer led 28-24 with 7:50 left in the third quarter. Key plays in the drive included a 27-yard pass from Barr to Pollard on the second play and a 13-yard run by Lewis two plays before the score.
Estrada took the next kickoff at his 15 and returned it out to the 36. Boyzuick then led his offense on an 11-play, 64-yard scoring drive that took only 2:19 off the clock. The score came on an 8-yard run by Sadler. Ralston and Sadler accounted for all of the yardage on either pass receptions or runs except for one 7-yard pass to Connor Wilson. Hedlund hit the point after, and Argyle took the lead for good with 3:31 left in the third quarter, 31-28.
Hedlund’s next kickoff sailed out of the end zone and Barr brought the offense back out at his 25. Things started out well, but on the sixth play of the drive, the Eagles recovered a Buckeye fumble on the Argyle 32.
The Eagles held the ball for seven plays, but the Black Flag took care of business and forced a punt on the third series of the possession. The kick went out of bounds at the Buckeye 19 and Gilmer went back on offense.
The Bucks picked up one first down on a 15-yard dash by Jamel Jackson, but they were forced to punt away again on the next series. The Barr punt went from the Gilmer 30 to the Argyle 35. It was returned all the way to the Gilmer 31, but an illegal block moved the ball back to the Argyle 33.
Just as the Bucks were breathing a sigh of relief after the penalty, misfortune hit yet again. On the first play of the possession, Ralston broke free on a 57-yard run to the Gilmer 10. After a half the distance to the goal penalty on Gilmer for a face mask, the ball was moved to the 5. On the next play Sadler smashed into the end zone, capping the 2-play, 67-yard drive that took only 20 seconds off the clock. Hedlund was true again on the extra point, and Argyle led 38-28 with 8:07 left in the game.
Knowing they had to get something going on their next drive to have any hope of mustering a victory, the offense rose to the challenge. Hedlund’s kick went to the Gilmer 25 and Parrish returned it to the 28 and the offense hit the field.
Barr led a 12-play, 54-yard march that consumed 3:15, but the drive stalled out at the Argyle 18, and Olivares came in and hit a 35-yard field goal with 4:52 left in the game to narrow the gap to 38-31.
Gilmer decided to kick onside, knowing the defense was exhausted and Ralston and Sadler were getting stronger as the game wore on. The kick was recovered by the Eagles at the Gilmer 47.
Sadler almost single-handedly put what would be final nail in the Buckeyes’ coffin. The entire drive was composed of runs because Argyle wanted to use as much time as possible off the clock. They used 2:33 on the drive. Sadler carried the ball five of the six plays, and accounted for 44 of the 47 yards. Ralston had one 3-yard carry on the fifth play of the drive before Sadler ran into the end zone from the 20 for the score. Hedlund kicked the extra point and the Buckeyes were down 45-31 with 2:19 left in the game.
The next Hedlund kick was taken by Parrish at the Gilmer 22 and he returned the ball up to the 44. The Bucks showed why they are a championship team, as they refused to go away without one last fight.
Barr engineered a 6-play, 56-yard scoring drive that took only 44 seconds. He threw incomplete on the first play, but Argyle was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul penalty. Boyd then ran for 13 before Barr threw incomplete on the next two plays. He then hit Tate for a gain of six before hitting Boyd for 22 yards and a TD on fourth down. Olivares added the PAT and Gilmer was back within seven, trailing 45-38 with 1:35 left in the game.
Realizing their only chance to still have a chance to win was to kick onside since they had exhausted all their time outs, Olivares did so again. He hit a beautiful pooch kick that gave the Bucks a chance, but the ball was recovered by the Eagles at their 46.
Sadler took over one more time and closed the game out to preserve the win for Argyle. He ran the ball 3 consecutive plays for gains of 12, 2 and 15 before Boyzuick took a knee on the game’s final play.
Head Coach Jeff Traylor commented on the game Monday.
“We played really well. I mean, the two turnovers were killers, and we had trouble tackling #5 (Sadler) and #22 (Ralston).
“There were two great teams Friday night. And one great team lost and one great team won. And that’s just the truth.
“The kids played really hard and they played well. That’s what happens when you play great teams.”
Though it is never easy to close the season with a loss, all but one team does so in each division every year. We have been truly blessed with what we consider to be the best coaching staff in the State of Texas. These men have a deep concern for all the players that come under their tutelage, and teach them honesty, character, pride, respect and many other critical facts of life. In the last 14 seasons since Coach Jeff Traylor became the head coach of his alma mater, the Buckeyes have won an unbelievable 159 games and have only lost 26. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that equates out to less than two losses per season.
While we will lose a number of talented seniors, as we do every year, we have a stable full of varsity talent returning for the next two years, many of whom saw action on the varsity this year, so we know the Buck Dynasty will continue!
Each time you see one of our coaches or players over these next few weeks be sure to tell them how you appreciate what they do to bring our community together and how proud you are of them. They deserve that for all they accomplished this season.
Thanks for another great season, Buckeyes. We’re already looking forward to 2014. We appreciate all the excitement and memories you have given us this year, and we are proud to be part of the Army of Buckeyes!