KILGORE — Playoff seedings won’t be on the line when Gilmer and Kilgore tangle at 7:30 p.m. Friday in their regular-season finale.
Instead, the winner gets something that might matter even more —- a district title.
No. 1 Gilmer (9-0, 5-0) travels to third-ranked Kilgore (8-0, 5-0) for the District 16-3A championship at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium. It will be the second straight time the powerhouses complete the season with the league title at stake; Gilmer prevailed 20-14 in last year’s meeting.
The matchup pits a pair of 2004 state champions and teams that are used to making deep playoff runs. Last year, Gilmer reached the 3A Division II final and Kilgore advanced to the 3A Division I semifinals.
Considering their top three rankings, both are expected to make another march through the postseason that begins next week. But no matter the outcome, Gilmer will be the district’s top Division II seed and Kilgore will be the top Division I seed.
The Buckeyes’ offense, which averages 60 points per game, against Kilgore’s defense, which allows only 12 points per game, has been the most anticipated matchup.
Gilmer has been an offensive juggernaut all season behind senior quarterback Tanner Barr and a plethora of weapons, having generated a season-high 71 points just two weeks ago. Barr has passed for 2,349 yards and 29 touchdowns this season, having connected with leading receiver Desmond Pollard 33 times for 726 yards and 10 scores.
Meanwhile, running back Kris Boyd has rushed for 1,023 yards and 16 TDs on the year.
When it comes to Kilgore’s offense, the Bulldogs are led by a running game that features junior Kevrin Justice’s 1,010 yards and 20 touchdowns and JuJu Brown’s 688 yards and nine scores.