Written by SportsDayDFW.com
3A power Gilmer gets payback with 42-21 win over nemesis Argyle in 3A regional semifinals
3A power knocks out team that eliminated it the last two years
MESQUITE — Perennial Class 3A power Gilmer doesn’t have many boxes left to check. But it added another milestone to its list with a 42-21 victory over Argyle in a regional semifinal Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Gilmer (12-1) advanced to meet District 16-3A rival Henderson in the Division II Region II final at 7 p.m. Friday at Longview’s Lobo Stadium.
Gilmer had been eliminated from the playoffs the last two seasons by Argyle, which reached the 3A Division II state final last season. In the last 13 seasons, Gilmer has won two state titles and been in another state final under 13-year coach Jeff Traylor.
“We’ve gone this season from being a bad team, to a good team to a pretty good one that’s hot,” Traylor said. “We have tremendous respect for what Argyle has done. It was just our time.”
Gilmer steadily took control in the second half. Junior quarterback Tanner Barr broke up the middle for a 54-yard touchdown run on Gilmer’s second play of the second half to take a 21-7 lead. Argyle (11-2) tried to gain momentum by going for it on fourth-and-1 at its 45. Led by senior tackle Xavier Fluellen and junior linebacker Josh Walker (a Texas A&M pledge), Gilmer stuffed Argyle to set up another scoring drive.
Fluellen was one of a handful of senior starters who’d started in previous losses to Argyle. With his uniform (No. 99) ripping just before game time, he switched to an unusual defensive lineman No. 13.
“He’s an all-state player who’s been held so much this year his jersey had tears in it,” Traylor said. “He ripped apart trying to put it on. I’m so proud of our seniors. They haven’t gotten a lot of credit the last couple years, but they’ve meant a lot to this program.”
After the fourth-down stop, Gilmer took a 27-7 after Barr avoided pressure to flip a pass to speedy sophomore running back Kris Boyd, who scored on a 22-yard play. Argyle’s multi-talented junior, Ian Sadler, scored on a 5-yard run to pull within 27-14 late in the third quarter.
With a fourth-and-6 at the Argyle 16 and a sore-legged kicker, Gilmer made it 35-14 on a 16-yard touchdown catch by junior Jaidon Parrish from Barr.
Gilmer, whose only loss was to Plano Prestonwood Christian, rebounded after falling behind 7-0 after an opening-drive fumble led to a quick Argyle score.
“It’s not an ideal start,” Traylor said. “But I’ve been at this a long time. That was early, and we had a long game to play.”