Celina vs. Gilmer

What: Class 4A Division II Semifinals

Where: SMU’s Gerald Ford Stadium, University Park

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Records: Celina (12-2), Gilmer (14-0)

Last Week’s Results: Celina 41, Sweetwater 34; Gilmer 64, Atlanta 25

2013 Result: Did not play

About Celina: The Bobcats won state championships in 2007 (Class 3A) and 2005 (2A). Friday’s matchup is only the second-ever gridiron clash between the perennial powers. The teams played in the area round of the 2003 playoffs with the Buckeyes winning 45-22. Melissa is the only common opponent the Bobcats and Buckeyes have played this season with Celina winning 43-6 and Gilmer 63-0. Since back-to-back losses in mid-September, the Bobcats have rolled off 10 wins in a row, averaging 51.5 points per game and allowing opponents just 11.1 points per contest. For the season, Celina is averaging 47.0 compared to opponents’ 16.2 ppg. Senior QB Nathan Elliott, a North Carolina pledge, is a four-year starter at the position. His father, Bill, is in his third season as the head football coach. Nathan Elliott has delivered big numbers for the Bobcats, throwing for 2,493 yards and 44 touchdowns (158 of 223) with only seven interceptions. That’s an average of 195.6 yards per game. Elliott threw for 262 yards and four touchdowns last week against Sweetwater. His favorite go-to target is WR Chase Marler with 35 catches for 632 yards and 11 touchdowns. In last week’s victory over Sweetwater, Marler had five catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. WR Trace Young follows with 22 catches for 285 yards and six scores. Next is RB Jarren Alexander, the Bobcats’ leading rusher, with 17 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Alexander has handled most of the yeoman-running duties for the ’Cats with 1,372 yards and 10 touchdowns. John Franklin follows with 46 carries for 368 yards and six touchdowns. Celina averages 277.2 yards rushing for the season. A year ago, Celina finished 9-2 and second in its district (10-3A) behind 3A Div. II state champion Argyle.

About Gilmer: Gilmer has certainly lived up to its preseason hype. The Buckeyes finished the regular season unbeaten (10-0), No. 3 in The Associated Press poll, and are 4-0 in the playoffs, averaging 60.3 points for the season and 57.0 during the postseason. Gilmer has dominated since Jeff Traylor returned home and took over coaching duties (2000). Traylor, a 1986 graduate, is 173-26 at his alma mater. This marks the fifth time Traylor has guided the Buckeyes to the state semifinals and 14th consecutive season Gilmer has made the playoffs. Gilmer scored 80 in its area win over Waco Connally, and its season high was 85 against Nevada Community on Halloween night. Gilmer has scored 60 or more points in 8 games. Quarterback McLane Carter has thrown for 3,454 yards (194 of 259) and 40 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Carter has a talented receiving corps. Chase Tate (46-742, 6 TDs) and Baylor commit Blake Lynch (41-801, 13) lead the way, but Quinn Fluellen and Nick Smith have 38 and 36 receptions, respectively, for 1,289 yards and 14 touchdowns between them. Highly-recruited Kris Boyd is the leading rusher with 879 yards on 82 carries and 20 touchdowns to go with 31 receptions for 718 yards and 8 scores. Lynch follows with 812 rushing yards on 63 carries for 16 touchdowns this season. The Buckeyes have rushed for 3,457 yards and passed for 4,168. Defensively, Gilmer’s Black Flag unit is led by junior LB DeMarco Boyd, who has 89 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, 9 quarterback pressures and 5 forced fumbles to go with an interception and a fumble recovery. Other defensive standouts include LBs Cambron Granville (115 tackles), Kelton Collier (108) and S Devin Smith (89). Opponents are averaging just 234 yards and 15 points a game against the Buckeyes.

Next Up: The winner of tonight’s game vs. West Orange-Stark-Sinton winner in Class 4A Division II state championship, noon Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington


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