Gilmer falls in state title game for 2nd straight year, loses to China Spring 31-7

Friday Football Fever

ARLINGTON, Texas (KETK) – The Gilmer Buckeyes were defeated Friday afternoon 31-7 by China Spring in the 2021 UIL 4A-Division II State Championship game.

It was the second consecutive year the Buckeyes lost in the title game after losing to Carthage last year 70-14.

The game started off slow with Gilmer burning more than seven minutes off the clock with an 18-play drive to move down inside China Spring’s 10-yard-line. However, a 25-yard field goal bounced off the left upright.

The Cougars quickly drove into Buckeye territory but a timely sack by Gilmer pushed them to a difficult 49-yard field goal attempt, which fell short.

After both teams traded punts, Gilmer finally got on the board thanks to several carries by running back Ashton Haynes. He finished off the drive with a two-yard touchdown to make it 7-0.

The Cougars answered quickly though thanks to the legs of Major Bowden. They powered through on a six-play drive to knot it up at 7-7 with two minutes remaining in the half.

The Buckeyes turned on their two-minute offense and managed to get down to the five-yard-line with six seconds remaining in the half. However, the momentum took a huge shift when China Spring blocked a field goal and returned it back 85 yards to take a 14-7 lead at the half.

The Cougars started with the ball in the third quarter. Bowden rushed on six of their eight plays and put them inside the Gilmer 10. But the Buckeye defense held strong and limited them to a 22-yard field goal to make the score 17-7.

Gilmer was looking to respond and picked up a first down inside Cougar territory, but it was called back. A subsequent delay of game penalty made it a 3rd and 22. They could not convert and had to punt it away with four minutes left in the third.

The Cougars were held to a three-and-out, but Gilmer was stuffed at midfield on 4th and 1 near the end of the third quarter. China Spring took advantage in 7 plays, with Bowden running untouched up the middle from 14 yards out for his second score to push the lead to 24-7 with eight minutes left.

Gilmer was stuffed on 4th down again in their own territory. Bowden sealed the game by accounting for all the China Springs yards on a seven-play drive. He ran a QB sneak from two yards out to ice the title at 31-7 with under five minutes left.

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