GILMER, Texas (KETK) – For 18 years, Alan Metzel has manned the sidelines as an assistant for the Gilmer Buckeyes.
This season, he’s the head coach.
“It brings to mind that I’m excited to be a part of this, it brings to mind Jeff Traylor, and all that he’s accomplished, what Matt Turner did while he was the head coach here,” said Metzel. “The standard is set high, and I recognize that and I’m excited to step in and be that person.”
It also helps when you’ve got a senior class, who understands the standards and history which built this program. The Buckeyes are ranked number five in the Class 4A Division 2 preseason poll.
“It motivates us to go harder, we all want to win state, that’s always the goal in Gilmer,” said senior quarterback and receiver Mason Hurt. “Everyone wants it, and if you don’t people are disappointed about it, but it drives us harder.”
Gilmer returns five starters on offense, and six on defense from a 2019 squad that was 10-4, and reached the state quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion and district foe Pleasant Grove.
“We just got to stay focused, keep our mind on track,” said senior receiver and safety Dylan Fluellen.
“They’re going to provide a lot of leadership for us, they’ve been in big games they’ve played on a big stage and had to make plays and so that’s going to bode well for us this year,” said Metzel.
The future of sports for the rest of the year is still unsure, but in Gilmer, they’re focusing on what they can control, preparing to put on one of the best shows you can find, on a Friday night in East Texas.
“It’s always been special, I was a waterboy and ballboy from when I was young so I grew up wanting to do this,” said Hurt. “It’s different, I don’t know what it is, but it’s special.”
“It’s what we do, it’s what I’ve done my whole career, and to get to have the opportunity to be in this position it’s quite the honor,” said Metzel. “It’s humbling but it revs you up, it gets you excited, it keeps that fire burning inside so I can’t wait to get this thing going.”
The Buckeyes will kick off the 2020 season at old rival Gladewater, on Thursday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Jack V. Murphy Stadium, “The Murph.”
Metzel is planning to have his team host Terrell for a scrimmage on Friday August 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Jeff Traylor Stadium.