By Phillip Williams
GILMER–Hogtied 0-0 at twirling time, and trailing 6-0 early in the third quarter, the Gilmer Buckeyes abruptly unleashed running back Darrell Bush for three touchdowns as Gilmer pillaged the Pittsburg Pirates, 28-6, on a rainy Friday night, thus procuring a place in playoff paradise by triumphing in the District 6-4A Division II dustup at Jeff Traylor Stadium.
The Gilmer (6-3, 2-1) and Pittsburg (3-5, 0-2) respective offenses spent a desultory first half mired in inconsistency. And when Pittsburg runner Braydon Bolton suddenly screamed 80 yards up the middle for a TD on the Pirates’ first offensive play of the third quarter, the Buckeyes appeared in peril of suffering an upset although quarterback Kemarian McCain’s run for two points failed with 9:54 left in the period.
Little did anyone know there would be oodles of points scored thereafter–but all by the Buckeyes.
After Gilmer returned the ensuing kickoff, the hosts inserted backup Brandon Tennison at quarterback and bounded 59 yards in six plays to score–abetted by a 3-yard penalty to the visitors’ 3-yard line, which occurred right before Bush reached Beulah Land.
Jose Hernandez airlifted the first of four successful PATs with 8:40 left in the third.
Pittsburg then sent in its backup quarterback, Jaxson Ramsey, on its next possession, and moved the ball some before punting 49 yards to the Gilmer 1.
But Bush promptly relieved the Buckeyes of this undesirable field position with a stupefying 59-yard zip. On the eighth play afterward, all of them rushes, he hoofed eight yards for another TD with 1:14 left in the third.
McCain re-entered the game for a time on Pittsburg’s next possession, but the Pirates went three-and-out before punting 50 yards on the fourth quarter’s opening play to put Gilmer into another hole at the Buckeye 7. Tennison gave way to starter Mason Hurt after three plays of the ensuing 11-play scoring offensive, during which Hurt completed two passes for 46 yards before Bush bopped one yard up the middle for the TD with 8:34 remaining in the rumble.
A Pittsburg pratfall led to the last Gilmer score as Bolton rumbled 44 yards to midfield, only to dispense a fumble to Gilmer’s Dylan Fluellen. Bush then lugged the pigskin five straight plays for 29 yards before teammate D.J. Shead whooshed 21 yards for the TD with 3:11 left in the wargame.
The first half, described as “boring” by one press box observer, had featured an array of punts, turnovers, and failed fourth-down conversions. McCain fumbled to Gilmer’s Luke Watson on the Buckeye 12 early in the game, and Pittsburg reached the Gilmer 22 on the half’s final play, but there were no other serious scoring threats.
The inclement weather on Gilmer’s “Senior Night” prompted the Pittsburg band to remain in the stands while playing its halftime music–an omen of how its team’s offense would be stranded after the aforementioned 80-yard TD run.
Coach Matt Turner’s Gilmer squadron, which assured itself of a winning season after suffering its first losing record in 23 years in 2018, has this week off before closing regular season Nov. 8 in Texarkana against district adversary Liberty-Eylau. L-E has lost its first eight games going into combat against Pittsburg this Friday.