Buckeyes Winning In Spite Of Critics - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/8/04-Gilmer

Buckeyes Winning In Spite Of Critics

60 points. That's what Gilmer's football team scored in the state quarterfinals against Tatum last Saturday. The amzing thing about it is, the Buckeyes weren't expected to be this far. Only four starters returned from last years team that lost to eventual state champ Atlanta in the quarterfinals.

"They were telling us we weren't going to be that good," said quarterback Manuel Johnson, "but we were thinking about our senior class. We haven't lost many games since we were playing together, we've only lost about 4 games since junior high."

"Last year as juniors, the leading receiver was a junior," said linebacker Daniel Dodd, "the leading tackler was a junior, so almost the key players were all juniors last year so I wasn't too worried about all that."

The key to the Buckeyes success is pointed squarely at Manual Johnson.  The Oklahoma signee at wide receiver made the decision to move to quarterback.

"College will come after this year," said Johnson.  "Right now we're trying to do what's best for the team."

"In our offense, we won't win if we don't have a great quarterback," said head coach Jeff Traylor.  "Everything is centered here around the quarterback."

And that newly christened quarterback blossomed into a seasoned veteran, showcased last Saturday against Tatum.

"We say it all the time to him," said Traylor, "big time players make big time plays in big time games, and he made some big time plays Saturday."  

So now it's Snyder's turn to face the wrath of the Buckeyes, and they better understand, this isn't last year's team.

"Last years group helped this team," said Traylor, "by getting to the quarterfinals and getting beat by a team that won a state championship.  I know it helped our kids know that we're not far away."

The Buckeyes play Snyder Saturday night at 7:30 at Texas Stadium.

Kevin Berns reporting.
kberns@kltv.com

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