The Gilmer Buckeyes used an explosive offense and smothering defense to advance to the UIL 4A Division II State Championship. Gilmer defeated the well coached and talented Celina Bobcats 27-7 Friday night at the beautiful Children Heath Stadium at Prosper ISD.
Buckeyes Quarterback Brandon Tennison led the high powered Buckeyes attack with 260 yards and a touchdown through the air. The UTSA commit, spread the wealth around connecting with six different pass catchers on the night. But, his favorite players of the game came from the defensive side of the ball. "Our defense helped us out a lot. I think without them we wouldn't have won this game."
Gilmer got on the board first with a 1-yard Ashton Haynes touchdown run. The Buckeyes had a number of penalties in the first half that kept them from capitalizing off explosive plays, but the Gilmer defense never let the Bobcats offense get in rhythm. The Buckeyes dominated the line of scrimmage and got pressure on Celina quarterback all night. Defensive Back Tyson Wilson recorded an interception that killed an early Celina drive. The Buckeyes held the Bobcats to only 66 yards passing and only 245 total yards of offense.
The offense finally started to get out of it's own way with a nice long scoring drive right before half that was capped off by a 12-yard Ladaylon Jackson touchdown run to put Gilmer up 14-0 at half.
The other star of the night was Gilmer Athlete Rohan Fluellen, who got the scoring going for the Buckeyes in the second half with a 19-yard touchdown catch from Tennison to make it 20-0. Fluellen, had 9 catches for 185 yards and a score receiving, but also added countless plays on offense and special teams. "We had a full week of good practices and we knew we were going to come in here and do our thing like we did." Fluellen
The Celina Bobcats offense answered right back with their first points of the game, as Noah Bentley hit Brower Nickel on a 40-yard post route to make it 20-7 with 8:49 to go in the fourth quarter. Nickel was Celina's top pass catcher on the night with 3 catches for 60 yards and a score. Running Back Gabe Gayton was the leading rusher for the Bobcats with 108 yards rushing.
Gilmer ended the scoring with a second Haynes touchdown run, this one was from 4-yrds out to make it 27-7. Haynes finished the game with 42 yard rushing and 2 scores.
Gilmer Head Football Coach Alan Metzel might have been more relieved than happy after making it back to the state title game after a loss last season. "I'm just absolutely elated. I feel like a million pounds has gone off my shoulders, but we have a week to go, but I will deal with that tomorrow. Right now I'm just enjoying the sweetness of the victory."
Gilmer ((14-1) will face China Springs (15-0) for the UIL 4A Division II title next Thursday at 3 pm in Cowboy stadium.