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 QB Aaron ‘Poppy’ Brown (Photo via Tony Venegas, TexasHSFootball.com)

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.

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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