By Phillip Williams
GILMER–The Paris Wildcats, laden with stupefying speed that would make Superman resemble a slowpoke, horrified the Gilmer Buckeyes’ homecoming assemblage with a landlubbing offense that procured four of its five TDs by ground, totting up a 37-20 nighttime triumph over previously unvanquished Gilmer on Friday the 13th at Jeff Traylor Stadium.
The Wildcats (2-1) whisked to a 23-0 lead at twirling time in thrusting tribulation on Gilmer (2-1). As one observer noted, a pandemic of Parisian penalties–the visitors drew an astounding 16–helped keep the Buckeyes a bit afloat, but two interceptions–including one returned for a TD on the game’s opening play from scrimmage–helped sink the hosts.
Almost before the fans could dip into their popcorn, an omen of things to come bewildered the Buckeyes. On the contest’s initial play after the kickoff, Paris defender Bubba Gray purloined a pass from Gilmer quarterback Mason Hurt and roared 30 yards into the end zone.
Bryan Ramirez, who successfully airlifted all five PATs except the one after the Wildcats’ third TD, clanged the first one with 11:49 still left in the first period.
Paris quarterback Luke Hohenberger, son of head coach Steven Hohenberger, broke a tackle in hoofing 27 yards to his team’s next TD, culminating a 66-yard offensive as time expired at first quarter’s end.
Yet another filching of a Hurt pass led to the next Paris tally. The Buckeyes bounced to the visitors’ 17, only to have Wildcat Kentraevious Johnson pluck the pigskin a yard deep in the end zone and return it to his 39. Skilled runner Zy’kius Jackson eventually trooped for the TD from 11 yards away and the PAT was wide with 5:14 left to music time.
The Paris Point Parade continued as Ramirez clanged a 31-yard field goal with only 14 seconds left to intermission.
Held scoreless before halftime, the Buckeyes’ offense would awaken afterward, but not enough to escape the first-half morass.
Gilmer momentarily threatened to worm its way back into the fray when a Wildcat fumbled away the second-half kickoff at the visitors’ 17 yard-line and, on the fourth play afterward, runner D.J. Shedd tripped a yard for a touchdown before Jose Hernandez added the first of two PATs with 10:45 left in the third quarter, making it 23-7.
Alas for the homecoming hosts, their ensuing onside kick failed, giving Paris possession at the 50. Abetted by two Gilmer penalties totaling 20 yards, Paris reached Beulah Land in only four plays with Jackson whistling the last two yards with 9:35 remaining in the third. next graph OK
Gilmer, however, declined to surrender and whacked the Wildcats with a 33-yard scoring sling from Hurt to Eddie Ray with 2:57 left in the third. Hurt’s pass for points failed, however.
Then the Buckeyes fueled slim hopes for a confounding comeback by pulling within 10 points as Brandon Tennison took a direct snap and hastened three yards to TD territory before Hernandez rammed the PAT with 4:49 left in the dustup.
Paris, however, snuffed this surge by recovering an onside kick before trodding 54 yards for its final TD on K.D. Washington’s 4-yard
roll to the left with 2:02 remaining.
Gilmer finds itself with another titanic task this Friday night when it takes its road show to defending state champion Carthage.