GILMER- Saturday night, all eyes will be on Jeff Traylor Stadium in Gilmer as the Carthage Bulldogs (No. 1 AP in Class 4A) face off against the Gilmer Buckeyes(No. 2 AP in Class 4A). These two juggernauts have played six close games since 2008, with both teams winning three each. Last season, Carthage defeated Gilmer at Bulldog Stadium 55-37 in route to their fifth state championship since 2008.
The Carthage Bulldogs are entering the game 3-0, coming off an impressive 42-20 victory on the road against 5A Whitehouse. The Bulldogs offense is lead by stud running back and Texas commit Keaontay Ingram (41 carries, 396 yards, 5TD) quarterback Gunner Capps (692 yards passing, 9 TD, 2 INT) and two strong receivers in Dewaylon Ingram (18 catches, 230 yards, 4 TD) and Dee Bowens (8 catches, 236 yards, 3 TD).
On defense, the Bulldogs defense are led by cornerback Jacorey Ware and middle linebacker Mykel Gates. Ware will have his eyes on standout Gilmer quarterback Aaron ‘Poppy’ Brown all night long . Last week in the game against Whitehouse, Ware channeled his inner Denver Broncos no fly zone, intercepting three passes in last week’s win. Gates has accounted for 38 tackles over the first three games this season, including six tackles for loss.
Gilmer is coming in with a record of 3-0 as well Saturday night. The Buckeyes offense is lead by QB Aaron “Poppy” Brown, who last season threw for over 5,000 yards, and set or tied 5 single game and program records. So far in 2017, Brown has continued posting strong numbers is completing 51 of 81 passes for 865 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
He’ll have a number of targets at receiver to find in Morgan Lusty (12 catches, 327 yards, 4 TD) Red Jones (12 catches, 195 yards 2 TD) and Qua Heath (8 catches, 149 yards, 3 TD) who have been shredding secondaries early in the season. The Gilmer rushing attack has come at opponents with multiple players this season. Led by Brannon Webb (25 carries, 232 yards, 4 TD), the Buckeyes will look to complement the strong passing game against a tough Bulldog defense.
The Gilmer defense is led by linebacker Dain Goudarzi, who averages 10.3 tackles per game, with 22 solo tackles and 31 total tackles on the season. Middle linebacker Gary Orr keeps the middle of the field locked down, averaging 7.3 tackles per game, with 14 solo and 22 total. Abel Euceda (13 total tackles, five QB hurries, two sacks) and Todd Cain (19 total tackles)anchor the defensive line at the tackle positions.
These teams have both played one common opponent on the season in Texarkana Liberty-Eylau. Gilmer faced Liberty-Eylau on the first game of the season and won a thriller 58-57. Carthage took on Liberty-Eylau in week two and the Bulldogs won 48-38.
This game has fans of both teams and fans of great football games in general flocking to get tickets. Gilmer principal Brian Bowman posted on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that the game is completely sold out.
Gilmer/Carthage update- Sold out of all tickets. None will be sold at gate. pic.twitter.com/QlRJIRp9KS
— Brian Bowman (@jbbowman7) September 20, 2017
These teams have combined for eight State Championships since 2004 and don’t be surprised if both or at least one of these teams are in Arlington again this December.
Feature Photo by Kristen Taylor, TexasHSFootball.com
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