Gilmer Aims For Clean Sweep Of State Champs - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/12/07 - Gilmer

Gilmer Aims For Clean Sweep Of State Champs

The record may read fourteen wins and no losses, but the Gilmer Buckeyes know this march to the 3A Division I state championship game hasn't been that easy as it looks on paper.

"We've been behind in the fourth quarter for three of the four games," Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor said. "This particular group of seniors has just had something about them, they've always found a way to win. I've watched them pull off some unbelievable wins late in some games."

"They've always had a knack for that, and I hope they have one more up their sleeve."

Gilmer has beaten last year's D-I champ Liberty-Eylau, and face the D-II champ Liberty Hill on Saturday for this year's title. Along the way, they beat two-time 2A champ Tatum, and knocked off 2004 champ Abilene Wylie as well. Every yard in this undefeated season was hard fought and earned.

"Every team we've played in the playoffs was a great team," Gilmer running back Justin Johnson said.

For the seniors of 2008, this is their chance to claim a championship, just like the class of 04 did when they were just freshmen.

"It would mean a lot to me," Johnson said, "I know a lot of kids in this fieldhouse look up to me. I would like for them to look up to me like I look up to my cousin Manuel (Johnson, currently playing at Oklahoma)."

"I hope to have that memory in this fieldhouse."

With one more test to go, the Buckeyes know whatever happens on Saturday, the season will end and the ride of their lifetimes will come to a halt.

"We understand," Traylor said. "This is it. One way or another, it'll be over Saturday."

"To go out without losing a game," Buckeyes linebacker Ross Stevens said, "would just be ridiculous. It would be all you could wish for."

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