GILMER â€” The 11th-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes made a goal-line stand in the final minute of play to come away with a 20-14 victory over No. 4 Kilgore and the District of Doom (16-3A) championship on Friday night at Buckeye Stadium.
Protecting home field was exactly what the Buckeyes did as Kilgoreâ€™s Cooper Coldironâ€™s four-and-5 pass attempt to Cornelius Bell fell incomplete in the end zone with 45 seconds left to play.
Gilmerâ€™s Tanner Barr took a knee on the final play and the Bucks secured their 11th district crown in 12 years under coach Jeff Traylor.
Gilmer improves to 9-1 (6-0) and will face Canton on Thursday in Tyler. Kilgoreâ€™s bi-district matchup will be against Athens in Whitehouse on Friday.
Barr threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Patrick Finch and the Buckeyes got a 5-yard run by Jamel Jackson and field goals of 22 and 29 yards from Pablin Olivares.
Kilgoreâ€™s points came on a 40-yard Kevrin Justice run and a 2-yard by Bell.
Gilmer out-gained Kilgore in total yardage 310-277. The Buckeyes gained 183 yards on the ground and 127 through the air as Barr completed 14 of 29 passes. He did suffer one interception by Kilgoreâ€™s Hector Peralez. Kilgore finished with 107 yards on the ground and 127 through the air as Coldiron was 10 of 18 passing for 127 yards.
Gilmerâ€™s final touchdown came with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter on Jacksonâ€™s run, giving the Buckeyes a 20-7 lead. Kilgore answered though, with Bell scoring on a 2-yard run with 5.8 seconds left in the period.
Kilgoreâ€™s defense, ranked as one of the best in the East Texas, gave its offense a chance coming down the stretch. Kilgore drove the ball 63 yards on its final possession of the game. The Bulldogs got big runs from Austin Jordan of 11 yards; and 6, 3, and 7 by Coldiron, as well as a 21-yard completion from Coldiron to Aaron Foy. The big completion gave Kilgore the ball at the Gilmer 10-yard line. Coldiron rushed for seven, then lost two after Benny Colbert did not gain anything on the first-down carry. Coldironâ€™s 2-yard loss moved the ball back to the 5 where the Bulldogs faced fourth-and-5.
Gilmerâ€™s Devondrick Dixon led the Buckeyes with 96 yards rushing. Barr added 44.
Kilgoreâ€™s leading rusher was Justice with 65 yards on 7 carries. Coldiron finished with 45 and Jordan 44.