The half-expected downpour from Tropical Storm Isaac did not materialize at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium on Thursday night, but the Atlanta Rabbits found themselves playing Katy-Barr-The-Door against a more menacing element from the heavens.
Making his debut as the Gilmer Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, Tanner Barr rained three scoring slings on the Hares as Gilmer addled Atlanta, 31-17, in the opener of the ninth annual Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic.
The win marked the 600th football triumph for Gilmer in its approximately century-long gridiron history.
Barr completed 12 of 18 passes for 224 yards, all in the first three quarters, without surrendering an interception. Atlanta meanwhile could complete no passes until substitute quarterback Chase Musgrove somewhat awakened his offense in the second half.
The Buckeyes totted up a 17-3 lead at twirling time, opening scoring on Pablin Olivares’s 23-yard field goal late in the opening quarter.
With its first-string kicker injured early in the game, Atlanta nonetheless mustered a tying 24-yard field goal from Ruben Duran in the second period.
But the Buckeyes hit two haymakers in less than two minutes in the half’s final 3:11.
After Josh Walker skirted around the right end from four yards out for a TD, followed by the first of Olivares’s four PATs, perhaps the turning point of the game came when Atlanta backup punter Quaid Taylor fumbled a snap to the Buckeyes at his 25.
On the second play afterward, Barr flung a 20-yard TD toss to Patrick Finch.
And Gilmer appeared perhaps en route to a route in the third quarter when Barr heaved a 69-yard TD throw to DeVondrick Dixon right after a Rabbit punt.
But, on the third play after Barr fumbled away to Atlanta at his 33, Musgrove rifled an 18-yard TD throw to Nick Stiger. Derrick Dowden ran for two points to slice Gilmer’s margin to 24-11.
But Barr launched another bomb, this one to Dixon, from 22 yards away late in the third quarter.
Runner Corion Webster, who procured 142 yards on 22 treks for the night, whizzed 54 yards up the middle for Atlanta’s final tally with 10:21 left in the contest. A run for points failed.
Gilmer 31, Atlanta 17
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium
Gilmer 3 14 14 0 — 31
Atlanta 0 3 8 6 —17
Gilmer—Pablin Olivares 23 FG—0:23.
Atlanta—Ruben Duran 24 FG—5:38
Gilmer—Josh Walker 4 run—(Olivares kick)—3:11
Gilmer—Patrick Finch 20 pass from Tanner Barr (Olivares kick)—1:15
Gilmer—DeVondrick Dixon 69 pass from Barr—(Olivares kick), 10:00
Atlanta—Nick Stiger 18 pass from Chase Musgrove, (Derrick Dowden run), 4:37
Gilmer—Dixon 22 pass from Barr (Olivares kick), 2:19
Atlanta—Corion Webster 54 run (Run fails), 10:21