GILMER — The old axiom is that “charity begins at home,” but the visiting Daingerfield Tigers dispersed a dumbfounding donation Saturday afternoon to the No. 2-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes at the hosts’ homecoming and celebration of the 100th year of Gilmer High School football.
Daingerfield disgorged six turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns, as the Buckeyes’ “Black Flag Defense” turned into offense and helped unvanquished Gilmer drench Daingerfield 54-27 in a contest wilder than the Old West.
The game, originally scheduled for Friday night, was postponed for fear that a possible thunderstorm could disrupt the homecoming/anniversary celebration in which numerous ex-Buckeyes players and coaches appeared at halftime.
Instead, Gilmer’s defense disrupted Daingerfield quarterback Keris Alexander, who threw two long-distance scoring slings and hoofed for another TD, but also ceded an interception and fumble that were both returned for scores. Meantime, Gilmer’s free-scoring offense was nonetheless beset by its own mishaps with three lost fumbles, one of which was returned for a Tiger touchdown.
The visitors made a brawl of it until late in the third quarter, trailing 33-27 when the Buckeyes began totting up 21 unanswered points.
Gilmer, which came into the fray averaging 61 points per game, advanced to 4-0 while the Tigers dipped to 1-3.
Gilmer started scoring on its second possession as quarterback Tanner Barr lofted an 83-yard TD to Devondrick Dixon and Pablin Olivares airlifted the first of five successful PATs with 8:17 left in the first period.
Later on a Gilmer punt, calamity overtook Alexander as he fumbled to Gilmer’s Darrian Lewis, who whizzed 77 yards to paydirt with 1:51 left in the first.
On the play after, yet another lost Tigers fumble, the Buckeyes bobbled themselves in a bizarre sequence of events. Daingerfield’s Corey Smith picked up a Barr fumble and, in returning it, himself lost the pigskin to Tigers teammate Gentry Alexander, who completed the overall 55-yard return for a TD.
Then Daingerfield deadlocked the score. Alexander uncorked a 74-yard TD to Whetstone.
But the Buckeyes bounded back, bustling 62 yards in six plays to tally on Kris Boyd’s 2-yard jaunt for a 22-14 lead after a conversion pass Barr to Demarco Boyd.
Olivares then opened the second-half scoring by powering a 33-yard field goal. But the Tigers soon revived as Alexander trekked 3 yards for a TD, though Daingerfield failed on the PAT run, leaving Gilmer up 25-20.
Yet another Daingerfield ding soon would trouble the Tigers when a receiver caught, but fumbled away, an Alexander pass at the visitors’ 17.
On the second play afterward, the aptly-named Chase Tate sped 5 yards to score and Gilmer executed the “swinging gate” on the PAT with Demarco Boyd running for two points.
Daingerfield ascended from the canvas again as Alexander launched a 72-yard TD bomb to Keaton Key with 2:03 left in the third. That cut it to 33-27, but the Buckeyes yanked the throttle away completely afterward.
Gilmer returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tiger 28 and scored on the second play afterward on Jamal Jackson’s journey of 13 yards.
In the fourth quarter, after Alexander fumbled away at his own 22, Gilmer’s Kris Boyd hopped a yard for a TD. And yet another Tigers blunder led to Gilmer plunder when Dixon purloined a pass from Alexander and winged 76 yards for the game’s final touchdown with 6:34 left.