TPI 3A E. Texas Top 10: #2 Gilmer

Gilmer was the number one team in the state 3A Rankings the entire regular season of 2006. The Buckeyes lived up to the hype with a 10-0 regular season but a shocking bi-district loss to Texarkana Liberty-Eylau ended the season. Can the Buckeyes put the loss behind them ths year?

The Gilmer Buckeyes went into 2006 as one of the most celebrated teams in Class 3A in recent memory and after running roughshod through the regular season at 10-0 including a blowout of one of the top teams in Nevada in the season opener Gilmer seemed like a shoe in to roll to a state title. Enter unhearalded but battle tested Texarkana Liberty-Eyalu in the bi-district playoffs and when the dust settled one of the biggest upsets of 2006 as Liberty-Eylau knocked off Gilmer 39-36 and ended the dream season. Now in 2007 it seems like most of the state has forgotten about Gilmer and that may be the way Coach Traylor wants thing, the Buckeyes are young but as talented as ever and flying under the radar.

Gilmer should be tremendous once again on offense led by Oklahoma commit Justin Johnson who is one of the top backs in the state. Johnson who could have a HUGE season, boasts a rare combination of size and speed. GHS will be breaking in a new QB likely a sophomore so expect the running game to be featured in 2007. Not only does Gilmer boast Johnson, but a wonderful offensive line led by Texas commit David Snow. Snow is joined by 3 other first team all-district performers and 2 other second teamers on the line. With the Buckeyes depth on the offensive line you could see some of those guys see some time on the defensive front seven, as Gilmer looks to have lots of youth on that side of the ball. The receivers should be strong led by Lamar Harris, Brennan Thompson and mercurial transfer Houston Tuminello who has put up huge numbers in Canton and at Colleyville Covenant which is a private school.

Gilmer's defense which at times has been a liability graduated 9 starters and has some rebuilding to do especially in the front seven. Gilmer should be strong in the secondary however, led by Darion Godfrey who was 15-3A co-defensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore and Kezie Camp who shared the award with Godfrey as a freshman. If Gilmer can get strong play from their young front seven they should be in the mix to compete for a state title.

Overall it's been a wonderful run for GHS Coach Jeff Traylor, posting a 71-14 record in 7 seasons and winning a state championship. However 2006 has to go on the list of disappointments with all the talent the Buckeyes had assembled. Gilmer is by no means void of talent and they'll be right there among the elite in 2007.

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