TEXARKANA — The Pleasant Grove Hawks are No. 4 in the Harris rankings, but the No. 5 Gilmer Buckeyes have a plethora of advantages come Friday night.
Hawks head coach Josh Gibson talked about the formidable Buckeyes on the weekly “Coaches Show” Tuesday.
“They have the top-producing quarterback returning in the state of Texas,” said Gibson. “[Aaron Brown] threw for over 5,400 yards. The kid’s special,, and he’s very, very accurate, very efficient. He’s a good commander on the field. He’s an excellent high school football player.
The senior captains an offense that is disciplined and lulls opponents into false assumptions.
“They kind of get you to sleep or they’ll throw deep ball, deep ball, deep ball, and then screen and that screen will go for 30, 40 yards,” Gibson explained. “They’ve always been good in their screen game. They’re as talented as they can get on that side of the ball.”
Gilmer also plays a very physical defense that Gibson expects to give Pleasant Grove challenges.
Said Gibson: “One of the things you have to do if you’re going to play good defense is pursue the football and play physical, and that’s been their brand and that’s why they have a few rings on their hand right now.”
The “big atmosphere” of Jeff Traylor Stadium
Not only is Gilmer’s football stadium named after one of the winningest coaches in East Texas, but also the venue has not seen a Buckeyes loss to a district opponent since 2003.
“You’re going in with the team of that caliber, a program of that caliber,” Gibson said, “you find the last district home loss they had, it was before 2003. That’s about as far back as you can check records. But they don’t lose at home. They don’t lose at home to district teams in forever.”
Traylor led the Buckeyes to five state title game appearances with three wins while compiling a 175-26 record and 14-straight playoff appearances. Now, Traylor is an assistant head coach at SMU.
Said Gibson: “Three years out of high school football and he’s already the top assistant at a Div. I school. That’s pretty special. He’s a really good football coach. He’s a great person and a good friend to me and a lot of coaches out here in East Texas.”
Listen to the Hawks go for a win in Gilmer with Chuck Zach and David Boston on the call on 94.1 FM ESPN Texarkana with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and pregame at 6:30 p.m.