GILMER, Texas- The matchup between Carthage and Gilmer had built up a lot of hype throughtou the week. Both teams had fans lined up at the gates 2 hours prior to kickoff at Jeff Traylor Stadium in Gilmer. The Gilmer Buckeyes were riding a 29-game home winning streak and hadn’t lost back-to-back games to the same team since the 1999 season.
That all came to a halt tonight, thanks to an impressive second half comeback by the Carthage Bulldogs coming out on top by a 48-28 margin.
Gilmer won the opening toss and elected to receive and the Buckeyes came out firing on all cylinders. The Gilmer offense moved down the field with quick strikes and tempo, but the drive stalled out after a 50 yard drive and Gilmer kicker Adan Ibarra missed the field goal.
Carthage took the ball over and began their march towards the end zone.
The Bulldogs were pass heavy using star Keaontay Ingram as a decoy, while Gunner Capps found Dee Bowens for a 35 yard touchdown. The Gilmer offense was quick to respond, Poppy Brown threw a nice touchdown pass on the corner of the end zone, knotting the game up at 7, with 5:11 left in the first quarter.
Carthage finally established the running game late in the first quarter, when Keaontay Ingram busted a huge run putting the Bulldogs inside the 5 yard line. Capps was high on two passes towards the goal line. After a penalty, Carthage went for it on fourth down, but were unsuccessful. Gilmer went to the ground with Brannon Webb, as he broke a 50 yard run that put the Buckeyes in the red zone, but Aaron ‘Poppy’ Brown was picked off in the end zone.
Carthage was able to take advantage of the turnover when Keaontay Ingram caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Capps with a missed extra point. Gilmer came right back, as Poppy Brown launched a 60 yard bomb setting up a QB keeper to reclaim the lead 14-13. A Tra Fluellen interception return for a touchdown extended the Buckeyes lead to 21-13. The Gilmer defense held Carthage in check, and the Buckeyes found the end zone once more before the half, when Brown hit Morgan Lusty on a 20 yard touchdown pass bring the score to 28-13 Gilmer at the half.
Gilmer out gained Carthage 362-281 yards at the half and held Keaontay Ingram to 94 rushing yards on 11 carries. Both quarterbacks threw for two touchdowns and an interception; Brown was 15 of 23 for 264 yards and Gunner Capps was 12-for-23 for 175 yards.
The third quarter was a defensive battle back and forth with turnovers by both offenses and a turnover on downs for the Buckeyes. Carthage was finally able to end the scoring drought, when Keaontay Ingram punched the ball in for 1-yard touchdown run with 16 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. The Bulldogs were able to get a two-point conversion and they recovered an onside kick, when Mykel Johnson jumped on the ball at the 22 yard line.
Mekhi Colbert took a jet sweep in for a Bulldog touchdown bringing the score to 28-28 with 11:46 in the fourth quarter. On the following Gilmer possession Patrick Williams picked of a PoppyBrown pass and took it to the house giving Carthage their first lead of the night. The Bulldogs were able to score 21 points in 1:43 of actual game time.
The Buckeyes made a huge special teams error and almost cost themselves a safety, but got the ball inside their 1 yard line. Gilmer fumbled on the drive and Carthage’s Jacorey Ware took it 12 yards for another Bulldogs score, increasing the lead to 41-28.
Gilmer was doing what they could to stay focused and respond, but the Carthage defense swarmed Poppy Brown for a sack and ripped his jersey off in the process. Keaontay Ingram was able to add exclamation point, with a 19 yard touchdown run giving Carthage 35 unanswered points and capping off a Bulldog flurry.
Carthage will travel to Henderson next week to take on the Lions, while Gilmer will look to bounce back at home with the Nacogdoches Dragons.
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