LEANDER — In its fourth trip to state, Gilmer produced its best-ever finish, reaching the Division II quarterfinals Friday in the Adidas 7-on-7 State Championship at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park.
Gilmer almost was a semifinalist. Trailing Graham 26-20 with seconds to play, Buckeyes quarterback Tanner Barr lofted a deep pass to receiver Desmond Pollard. Pollard leapt and initially looked to have the game-tying TD, but a great defensive play by Graham’s defensive back knocked the ball loose before Pollard could secure the catch.
Graham went on to win the Division II state championship.
It was one of the few passes Pollard did not catch, with the receiver responsible for two touchdowns against Graham and three more in the Buckeye’s Round of 16 victory over Houston Westbury Christian.
“Coach just kept telling us we need to come together as a team and make plays,” Pollard said after the win over Westbury Christian. “Without our defense, we wouldn’t have won — if they don’t make the plays they did. We were able to pull it out.”
Prior to Friday, Gilmer’s farthest advancement at state was the second round.
Carthage knows all about missed opportunities, reaching the consolation final but losing in 2009. After a lackluster Thursday that saw Car-thage go 1-2, the Bulldogs ran the table on Friday.
Carthage made another trip to the consolation final, but this time they won a championship as the Bulldogs defeated McGregor 46-20.
Canton made it into the second round of the championship bracket by knocking off fellow East Texas foe Chapel Hill, 21-14. The Bulldogs entered on a high after going 3-0 Thursday in pool play, but two touchdown strikes from Chandler Eiland to Samuel Miller were the difference.
“We played (Chapel Hill) in Bullard and it was our last game and they just killed us,” Miller said. “We just came together as a team and made it happen.”
Canton was stopped by semifinalist Somerset in the second round by a score of 26-18.
Whitehouse took care of business early, winning its first two games in Pool I to secure a spot in the championship bracket. The Wildcats romped past Weslaco 60-32 and edged out Plano West 48-40. Whitehouse was stopped by Cy Ranch 34-27 to end up with the second qualifying spot.
The Wildcats will face Lake Travis at 9 a.m. Saturday.
John Tyler and Robert E. Lee did not fare as well, both dropping all three of their pool games to be in the consolation bracket. Joining them is Longview, which went 1-2 in its pool play games.
The Red Raiders are matched up against San Antonio Johnson at 8 a.m. with JT facing Edcouch Elsa and Longview squaring off with A&M Consolidated, also at 8 a.m.
Lufkin is in the championship bracket after going 3-0 in what was arguably the most difficult group in the tournament. The Panthers beat Katy (34-32), Cedar Hill (32-19) and Arlington Lamar (46-44).
Lufkin will face Mesquite Poteet at 9 a.m.
The win for Whitehouse over Plano West is notable because of what Whitehouse had to overcome. Trailing 26-20 at halftime with the horn about to blow to end the half, Patrick Mahomes just got the snap in time and lofted a perfect 40-yard TD pass to Coleman Patterson.
Initially it was ruled a TD, but as Whitehouse lined up for the conversion play, the referees got together and changed the call to a non-play because of an inadvertent whistle. The half was over, but Whitehouse was allowed one untimed down. This time the Hail Mary pass was incomplete.
The Whitehouse sideline erupted in protest, but the call stood.
So still trailing, Whitehouse got the ball in the second half and went in front for good. Mahomes and Patterson hooked up for one of their three TDs in the game. The Wildcats defense also stepped up with Nate Brooks denying West with an interception in the end zone and Vernon Polk picking off a two-point conversion pass and returning it the other way for an extra two points for Whitehouse.
Jake Parker also had two scores for the Wildcats in the victory.
Mahomes said the team came out in the second half determined after what transpired just before halftime.
“We just used it as motivation and stayed with our game plan and kind of broke through and were able to get some touchdowns at the end,” Mahomes said. “We are taking this (tournament) seriously.”
Adidas 7-on-7 State Championship
Round of 32
Dallas Episcopal 33, Bangs 26; Rockdale 39, FW All Saints 34; Argyle 20, Boerne 0; Navasota 34, Booker 19; East Bernard 53, Wimberley 24; Celina 28, La Grange 27; Midland Christian 40, Houston Episcopal 33; Rice Consolidated 28, Stephenville 21; Houston Westbury Christian 26, College Station 25; Gilmer 34, White Oak 12; Graham 41, Kinkaid 34; Burnet 47, Ingleside 26; Canton 21, Chapel Hill 14; Somerset 26, Sonora 25; Brownwood 34, Lorena 13; Springtown 27, Melissa 25
Round of 16
Episcopal 46, Rockdale 14; Argyle 34, Navasota 20; East Bernard 21, Celina 20; Midland Christian 38, Rice 33; Gilmer 33, Westbury Christian 27; Graham 49, Burney 47; Somerset 26, Canton 18; Brownwood 46, Springtown 20
Argyle 52, Episcopal 43; East Bernard 47, Midland Christian 19; Graham 26, Gilmer 20; Somerset 41, Brownwood 40
Argyle 40, East Bernard 34; Graham 45, Somerset 20
Graham 33, Argyle 31
Round of 32
Crandall 18, Academy 13; McGregor 27, La Marque 21; Cameron 32, Jasper 7; Coleman 39, Kountze 13; Alpine 27, Port Isabel 26; Salado 27, Gatesville 14; Bandera 46, Anna 22; Fairfield 46, Iowa Park 13; Iraan 34, Yoakum 33; Crane 34, Wellington 27; Crockett 38, Eastland 32; Kaufman 19, Wills Point 13; Dublin 27, Glen Rose 25; Carthage 33, Abilene Wylie 25; Mexia 14, Boyd 7; Grandview 27, Edna 13
Round of 16
McGregor 33, Crandall 20; Cameron 40, Coleman 18; Salado 44, Alpine 39; Fairfield 28, Bandera 12; Iraan 40, Crane 28; Crockett 33, Kaufman 32; Carthage 39, Dublin 26; Grandview 33, Mexia 13
McGregor 42, Cameron 41; Fairfield 41, Salado 40; Iraan 34, Crockett 33; Carthage 39, Grandview 13
McGregor 35, Fairfield 27; Carthage 26, Iraan 12
Carthage 46, McGregor 20
Division I Pool Play Results (ET Only)
Pool D: Lufkin 34, Katy 32; Lufkin 32, Cedar Hill 19; Lufkin 46, Arlington Lamar 44. Lufkin (3-0) finishes first in pool.
Pool F: Midlothian 25, John Tyler 20; Hebron 39, John Tyler 26; Houston Lamar 38, John Tyler 37. JT (0-3) finishes fourth in pool.
Pool I: Whitehouse 60, Weslaco 32; Whitehouse 48, Plano West 40; Cy Ranch 34, Whitehouse 27. Whitehouse (2-1) finishes third in pool.
Pool O: San Antonio O’Connor 55, Longview 33; Carrollton Creekview 29, Longview 27; Longview 26, Katy Cinco Ranch 14. Longview (1-2) finishes third in pool.
Pool P: Plano East 46, Robert E. Lee 14; DeSoto 41, Robert E. Lee 19; Cy Falls 46, Robert E. Lee 19. Lee (0-3) finishes fourth in pool.
Saturday’s Schedule (ET Teams Only)
Round of 32
Lake Travis vs. Whitehouse, 9 a.m. (Field 1A)
Lufkin vs. Mesquite Poteet, 9 a.m. (Field 4A)
Round of 32
San Antonio Johnson vs. Robert E. Lee, 8 a.m. (Field 11A)
John Tyler vs. Edcouch Elsa, 8 a.m. (Field 7)
A&M Consolidated vs. Longview, 8 a.m. (Field 10)