TATUM — First they snored, and then they roared.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Gilmer Buckeyes conjured up a conflagration offensively and defensively to trump the Tatum Eagles, 34-0, on Friday at Eagle Stadium.
Gilmer avenged Tatum’s snuffing of its 34-game home winning streak last season when the Eagles won, 47-41.
Leading the Buckeyes’ offensive firestorm Friday were quarterback Luke Turner, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for another; running back Gavin Holt, who ran for 113 yards and a TD on 12 carries and Darrion Pollard (one TD catch, one TD run).
The Buckeyes also got plenty of help from a defense that seized four second-half turnovers, two of which eventually led to touchdowns.
Turner began the point parade by charging 12 yards, finishing a nine-play, 74-yard, drive with 9:43 left until halftime.
Pablin Olivares airlifted the first of four successful PATs (a bad snap after Gilmer’s fourth TD prevented his attempting another). Turner then lofted an 18-yard, fourth-down scoring sling to Pollard with 2:01 remaining until halftime. Tatum afterward botched the snap on a field goal try on the half’s final play, leaving Gilmer up 14-0 at intermission.
The Buckeyes took the second half kickoff and hiked 90 yards in 11 plays to begin pulling away. And Pollard whizzed the last four yards around left end with 7:23 remaining in the third.
Then the Buckeyes defense took center stage. Brady English returned a fumble by Eagles quarterback Jalen Overstreet 66 yards to the Tatum 4. The Buckeyes promptly were penalized to the 19, but on the third play afterward, Turner wheeled two yards up the middle to score with 4:38 left in the third.
Gilmer (2-0) concluded scoring on Holt’s 9-yard jaunt with 9:59 left in the contest.
The Buckeyes defense set the stage for that, too, as Adam Witcher picked off an Overstreet pass and returned it to the Buckeyes 18, squelching an Eagle scoring threat and opening the way for an 8-play touchdown trek aided by a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty.
The Buckeyes travel to Jacksonville next Friday while Tatum (1-1) plays host to Atlanta.