GILMER — The 11th-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes made a goal-line stand in the final minute of play to come away with a 20-14 victory over No. 4 Kilgore and the District of Doom (16-3A) championship on Friday night at Buckeye Stadium.
Protecting home field was exactly what the Buckeyes did as Kilgore’s Cooper Coldiron’s four-and-5 pass attempt to Cornelius Bell fell incomplete in the end zone with 45 seconds left to play.
Gilmer’s Tanner Barr took a knee on the final play and the Bucks secured their 11th district crown in 12 years under coach Jeff Traylor.
Gilmer improves to 9-1 (6-0) and will face Canton on Thursday in Tyler. Kilgore’s bi-district matchup will be against Athens in Whitehouse on Friday.
Barr threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Patrick Finch and the Buckeyes got a 5-yard run by Jamel Jackson and field goals of 22 and 29 yards from Pablin Olivares.
Kilgore’s points came on a 40-yard Kevrin Justice run and a 2-yard by Bell.
Gilmer out-gained Kilgore in total yardage 310-277. The Buckeyes gained 183 yards on the ground and 127 through the air as Barr completed 14 of 29 passes. He did suffer one interception by Kilgore’s Hector Peralez. Kilgore finished with 107 yards on the ground and 127 through the air as Coldiron was 10 of 18 passing for 127 yards.
Gilmer’s final touchdown came with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter on Jackson’s run, giving the Buckeyes a 20-7 lead. Kilgore answered though, with Bell scoring on a 2-yard run with 5.8 seconds left in the period.
Kilgore’s defense, ranked as one of the best in the East Texas, gave its offense a chance coming down the stretch. Kilgore drove the ball 63 yards on its final possession of the game. The Bulldogs got big runs from Austin Jordan of 11 yards; and 6, 3, and 7 by Coldiron, as well as a 21-yard completion from Coldiron to Aaron Foy. The big completion gave Kilgore the ball at the Gilmer 10-yard line. Coldiron rushed for seven, then lost two after Benny Colbert did not gain anything on the first-down carry. Coldiron’s 2-yard loss moved the ball back to the 5 where the Bulldogs faced fourth-and-5.
Gilmer’s Devondrick Dixon led the Buckeyes with 96 yards rushing. Barr added 44.
Kilgore’s leading rusher was Justice with 65 yards on 7 carries. Coldiron finished with 45 and Jordan 44.