LONGVIEW — It might be said that the unvanquished No. 5-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes careened a tractor-Traylor into the Spring Hill Panthers on Friday night.
Gilmer quarterback Jordan Traylor, making his debut as starting quarterback after starter Luke Turner sustained an ankle injury last week, threw two touchdowns and ran for two more on just three carries all night as Gilmer scattershot Spring Hill, 43-7, in a District 16-3A dustup.
The victory for Gilmer (8-0, 3-0), coupled with Carthage’s triumph over previously undefeated and No. 3 Henderson Friday evening, left the Buckeyes alone on the mountaintop of their district going into next Friday night’s Gilmer-Henderson rumble.
Meantime, the Buckeye defense greatly abetted Traylor and his offensive unit mates by filching four takeaways, three of which eventually led to Gilmer touchdowns.
The Buckeyes charged ahead of Spring Hill (1-7, 0-3) by 29-0 at twirling time as Traylor totted up most of his aerial act by then. He and Darrion Pollard proved a deadly air pair as head coach Jeff Traylor’s son airmailed his two scoring slings to that teammate, who nabbed seven receptions in all for 129 yards.
Traylor, who was 15 of 20 for 167 yards at intermission, finished the night 18 for 27 for 234 yards and only one interception — a salutary night’s work for someone who had taken few if any snaps as quarterback this season before leading Gilmer to a game-winning 11th-hour field goal last week against Carthage.
He meantime rushed for a mere four yards on three deliveries—all after halftime—but scored on two of them.
Gilmer, which never punted, took the opening kickoff and trod 76 yards in seven plays to tally on a big bang — Traylor’s 36-yard heave to Pollard.
The Buckeyes feigned a PAT kick and Gavin Holt took it in on a direct snap for two points with 9:25 left in the first quarter.
After Spring Hill fumbled to the Buckeyes, Gilmer whipped 44 yards in five plays to reach TD territory again on Jeremy McMillian’s 3-yard hike. Pablin Olivares airlifted the first of his five PATs with 6:30 left in the opening quarter.
In the second period, Buckeye Tanner Barr procured the first of Gilmer’s three interceptions off Spring Hill quarterback Landry Lee, which eventually led to Gilmer’s third touchdown. The visitors whizzed 73 yards in six plays with Holt bounding the final 14 yards with 4:13 left to music time.
Traylor then rifled a 22-yard TD throw to Pollard with only 57 seconds left in the half, writing finis to a 62-yard, 6-play offensive.
In the third period, Buckeye Trey Washington purloined another Lee pass, enabling the Buckeyes to launch a 68-yard, 7-play TD travelogue. Moving his talent from the skies to soil, Traylor raced a yard for the tally with 1:18 left in the third.
The Buckeyes fumbled a punt to the Panthers at the visitors’ 34 in the fourth quarter, leading to Spring Hill’s only score. Gilmer surrendered it grudgingly, requiring the hosts take nine plays (and a 5-yard penalty against the Buckeyes) to claim the tally on Greg Martens’s fourth-down 1-yard trip.
Chris Fluornoy launched the PAT with 6:41 left.
Traylor then took the Buckeyes on a 69-yard, 9-play journey to the end zone, trooping for the TD on another 1-yard hop with 2:34 remaining.