GILMER—In a riveting fourth-quarter ode to offense which resembled a fireworks factory in flames, the unvanquished Gilmer Buckeyes morphed a narrow 20-12 lead at third quarter’s end into demolishing the Daingerfield Tigers, 56-31, at Gilmer’s homecoming Friday night.
The wacky win at Gilmer’s home opener after four road triumphs left the sixth-ranked class 3A Buckeyes 5-0 going into their open date next week. Daingerfield, which had lost only to Gilmer the last three seasons in winning three consecutive state Class 2A championships, drooped to 3-2 for this year.
Friday night’s affair at Buckeye Stadium was bizarre not only for the extraordinary 55 points in the final quarter, but also because Daingerfield scored a stupefying first-half touchdown by running in its own shanked punt for the score.
Meantime, Gilmer quarterback Luke Turner and runner Gaving Holt led their team’s offensive charge. Turner hoofed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 19 deliveries, while heaving two TDs. Holt also blistered the Bengals with four touchdown runs, three of them in the frantic fourth quarter, and consumed 156 yards on 17 carries.
Daingerfield opened the scoring salvos on QB Alex Allen’s 17-yard TD toss to Shawn Hooks. The PAT kick was blocked with 4.9 seconds left in the first quarter.
Gilmer tallied on Holt’s 8-yard sprint and Turner’s 4-yard run before the night’s weirdest play. Tiger punter Jonathan Barber booted one virtually straight up in the air, took it on a bounce behind the line of scrimmage, and wheeled 64 yards to score. The Buckeyes led 13-12 at twirling time.
In the third quarter, the only tally was Turner’s 5-yard hop with 4:18 left. But in the fourth quarter, which consumed 52 minutes, the bridge was detonated. Turner found Eddie Fluellen with a 34-yard scoring pass. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Allen unleashed a 57-yard scoring bomb to Darrin Terry, making it 27-18 only 20 seconds into the period.
Turner soon airmailed a 61-yard scoring sling to Darrion Pollard, and Holt followed that with a 3-yard TD trip with 9:06 left. Down 41-18, the Tigers revived on Ramius Wallace’s 11-yard dash before Holt rumbled 42 yards for another score with 6:51 left.
Allen was downed by Gilmer defender Josh Walker for a safety before Holt bounded 23 yards for yet another TD. Wallace trekked a yard for the game’s final TD with 3:16 left.
Daingerfield harmed itself with inopportune turnovers and penalties during the course of the evening.
Gilmer opens district play against Gladewater in a Thursday night game at Gladewater Oct. 6.