GILMER — After understudy quarterback Jordan Traylor led a blazing late offensive in the injured starter’s place, the Gilmer Buckeyes’ Pablin Olivares boomed a 31-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift No. 5-ranked Gilmer over defending state champion Carthage, 39-36, in a dramatic District 16-3A dustup Friday night at Buckeye Stadium.
Starting quarterback Luke Turner suffered an apparent ankle injury when he completed a pass for two points to put Gilmer ahead 36-29 with 5:36 left. After Carthage rebounded to tie it with 4:30 remaining, Traylor, the son of head coach Jeff Traylor, replaced Turner and masterfully led the Buckeyes on a 12-play, 60-yard push to the Carthage 14 before Olivares’s kick.
Turner had damaged the Bulldogs aplenty before being sidelined, having run for three TDs and 171 yards on 23 carries. He also threw for 136 yards.
But it was Traylor who had to ride to the rescue after Carthage’s Tevin Pipkin rumbled 51 yards for a touchdown and Jimmy Gonzales posted the last of his four PAT kicks to tie it 36-36.
Traylor was 3-for-3 for 26 yards on Gilmer’s final possession to help surmount Turner’s loss.
Gilmer had taken a 21-8 lead at halftime, only to see Carthage’s offense finally galvanize afterward and at one point gain the lead at 29-28.
After recovering an early Carthage fumble, the Buckeyes tallied first when Darrion Pollard thundered 25 yards with 9:56 left in the first. Olivares, who would miss a 33-yard field goal late in the first quarter, notched the first of five PATs.
Carthage snatched an 8-7 lead when Pipkin bolted 8 yards and Ricky Ingram netted two points on a feigned kick. But the Buckeyes then totted up two second-quarter touchdowns on Turner’s runs of 4 and 59 yards, the latter on a fake punt.
In the third quarter, Bulldogs quarterback Blake Bogenschutz whizzed three yards to score before Turner tromped three yards to procure a Buckeye TD. Edward Pope then wheeled 25 yards on an end-around for a Bulldogs touchdown.
And Carthage surged ahead when Bogenschutz tossed an 8-yard touchdown to Pope, and the kick was good, with 8:25 left.
But Gilmer’s Chase Tate trooped 16 yards for a TD before the play that injured Turner. Rolling left, and apparently planning to run it in for two points, Turner instead passed to Pollard and was felled by Carthage defenders.
With the win, Gilmer surged to 7-0 and 2-0 in district duels, while Carthage dropped to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in district.