By Phillip Williams
PARIS–The Gilmer Buckeyes toted up 41 points before twirling time in wringing the woefully winless North Lamar Panthers, 54-0–the hosts’ fifth straight shutout succumbing–in a District 8-4A Division II dustup Friday night at R.L. Maddox Stadium.
First-year Head Coach Alan Metzel’s Buckeyes (8-1, 4-0 in loop encounters) now enter into a home wargame Friday with the Pleasant Grove Wildcats for the district blue ribbon. The tilt is set for 7:30 p.m. at Jeff Traylor Stadium.
On Friday night, the Buckeyes plastered the Panthers (0-7) although Gilmer starting quarterback Brandon Tennison, injured the prior week, did not play and Gilmer reserves who had likely seen little, if any, varsity action this season got into the fray.
In addition, officials ran the clock without stoppage in the second half after the first quarter required 43 minutes to play as Gilmer ponied up 28 points.
The Buckeyes shared the wealth on scoring as their eight TDs came from seven different players (Davion Smith tallied two).
One particular Panther pratfall was the punting game. Gilmer returned one kick for a TD, blocked a punt to set up another score, and posted yet another tally following a bad snap on a punt attempt.
Mason Hurt, who was starting quarterback much of the past two seasons before being converted to receiver this year, started in Tennison’s stead and gave way to third-string QB Parker Gilow around midway through the second period. By that time, Gilmer led 34-zip.
The Buckeyes opened their series of scoring salvos with a first-quarter blitzkrieg that resulted in a 12-minute playing period consuming more than 3 1/2 times that long to complete.
Jaron Choyce ripped eight yards to Beulah Land for the opening touchdown and Jose Hernandez airlifted the first of four straight successful PATs with 8:14 left in the first quarter.
Cody Guidry whizzed 12 yards for the next TD on a highlight-reel run in which he went way left, came back a goodly distance to the right, and then sped dead ahead with 6:42 left in the period.
Soon, Smith fielded a 27-yard Panther punt on the bounce and whooshed 50 yards to score with 5:23 still remaining in the first chapter. Then, immediately after Gilmer blocked a punt, runner Landon Watson wheeled five yards to TD territory with 1:46 still left in the long opening quarter.
A Panther miscue set up the visitors’ next score as Gilmer defender Dylan Fluellen purloined a pass from QB Dawson Dority at the Buckeyes’ 8. On the third play afterward, Smith whistled 73 yards to the Promised Land before backup kicker Dominic Chavez’s PAT try failed with 9:23 left to intermission.
Gilmer’s final first-half score was Gilow’s 9-yard sling to Will Blakely, the receiver’s first touchdown all season. Chavez successfully banged the PAT with 5:28 left to music time.
Ashton Haynes trooped two yards for the next TD with 8:55 left in the third quarter and the running clock ticked off several more seconds before Hernandez returned to the game to bang the PAT. Michael Colbert hoofed six yards for the last tally with 8:39 left in the game before Chavez’s PAT kick missed.
Due to the decision to shorten the second half, the game concluded in an unusually quick two hours, 10 minutes after the elongated first quarter. It was still a long night, however, for the Panthers.