By Phillip Williams
PITTSBURG–‘Twas back in the 1950s or 60s, when the Pittsburg Pirates played the role of the Gilmer Buckeyes’ arch-rival, the Pittsburg partisans once attempted to galvanize their team by conducting a “Buckeye stomp,” recalled the late Giilmer Coach Truett Rattan.
“Ruined their gym floor stomping green buckeyes into it,” Rattan recalled.
The Pirates must have felt much the same way Thursday night as their forerunners did when they allegedly befouled the new gymnasium floor long ago.
From the moment Gilmer’s Amauri Hamilton returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, the unvanquished Buckeyes were en route to confiscating the championship of District 7-4A Division II as Gilmer poleaxed Pittsburg, 44-14, in the regular season nightcap.
The contest was moved up to Thursday eve since possibly inclement weather was forecast for the originally scheduled Friday date.
Gilmer, 9-0 after an unusually short regular season, now plops into Playoff Paradise against Rusk at Tyler’s Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Gilmer will be considered the home team, said Coach Alan Metzel, whose squad disposed of all five of its loop foes by margins ranging from 21-54 points in its effort to return to the state championship wargame for a third consecutive year.
As for Thursday’s tilt, Gilmer surged to a 28-0 lead in the second quarter, was up 28-7 at twirling time, and won largely on the strength of somewhat Big Bang TDs and a defense which repeatedly stifled the Pirates’ landlubbing offense as the hosts often vainly tried running into the line. Late in the game, officials ran the clock.
Buckeye quarterback Cadon Tennison led the triumphant charge, heaving for two TDs and hoofing for another.
After Hamiton stupefied the Pirates with the wow on the opening kickoff with 11:47 left in the first quarter, Jose Govea airlifted the first of three successful PATs (he also had a field goal.)
Gilmer next reached Beulah Land on Ashton Haynes’ 25-yard hop with 1:21 left in the opening period and Govea clanged the PAT.
Next, Tennison dispatched a 48-yard bomb to Cade Bowman before Aron Bell ran over a two-point conversion on the “swinging gate” with 8:45 left to music time. Gilmer’s next TD came on Tennison’s 3-yard whiz to the left with 3:43 left to the band break, and Govea’s kick failed–a rarity for him.
Pittsburg, faced with the prospect of a complete debacle, managed to avert it on Michael Rockwell’s 3-yard bop with only 44 seconds left to intermission. Alan Ramirez uplifted the first of his two PATs.
If Pittsburg thought that score put it back in the ring, however, it was soon to be disillusioned.
Tennison mailed a 28-yard screen pass to Haynes for another Buckeye TD with 7:15 left in the third. Govea’s kick hit the right upright, but a Pirate penalty gave the Buckeye booter another shot and he made it.
Govea then launched a 32-yard field goal with 11:06 left in the confrontation before the incredibly fleet Will Henderson rolled at Indy 500 race car speed 89 yards down the left side for the visitors’ last score with 8:31 left. Backup kicker Omero Orona’s kick strayed far left.
Pittsburg notched a last hurrah on Alexis Reyes’ 12-yard pass to Noah Torres with only 15 seconds left. By then, the Pirates knew they’d been consigned to Davy Jones’ locker.