TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - They don’t call the region Beast Texas for nothing.
It should be no surprise that Gilmer and Carthage are the last two teams standing in 4A DII competition. The Buckeyes and Bulldogs will play for the 4A DII state title game Friday at noon inside AT&T Stadium.
Gilmer has three state titles and are playing in their seventh state title game. Carthage is looking for a near record eighth state title in their ninth appearance.
”I watched my brothers grow up and play for state,” Gilmer wide receiver Dylan Fluellen said. “Now I am in that position. That is a great feeling. “
The two teams already met once this year with Carthage winning 42-14. The Buckeyes have won 10-straight games and have seen improvements.
”We cleaned up on the offensive side of the ball and have cleaned a lot up on the defensive side of the ball. We are rolling,” linebacker Jett Jones said.
The Bulldogs have erased that game from their memory. They know a lot has changed and will be ready for the buckeyes.
”They are disciplined,” Carthage quarterback Kai Horton said. “They want to win. They have a chip on their shoulder. We have to come out ready.”
”It is going to be a battle,” Carthage free safety Austin Morgan said. “We are not looking down on them. We are going to come out and give our best shot.”
Gilmer has the sixth ranked offense in 4A while Carthage is just ahead of them at fourth. The difference in the game could be the Carthage defense, ranked first in 4A. The Bulldogs are giving up just over a touchdown per game. The coaches are trying to block out all the hype from the outside and give their players a simple message.
”We don’t want to make this game where there is so much pressure they can’t just go play,” Gilmer head coach Alan Metzel said. “I think our guys are ready.”
”We are proud of our seven championships,” Carthage head coach Scott Surratt said. “We told the players now that we are not worried about any other championship but this one. We know we have a big task at hand to get eight. We are looking forward to the challenge and we wouldn’t have it any other way to have the pressure on us.“