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December 5, 2009CUERO - Mark Reeve wasn't able to go anywhere this week without hearing about the explosiveness of Gilmer's offense.
The Cuero coach and his staff witnessed it first-hand while scouting the Buckeyes' 42-35 Class 3A, Division I quarterfinal win over Navasota.
"We were sitting in the stands and somebody said he didn't even know who their punter was because they've only punted five times," Reeve recalled.
Gilmer has been an offensive juggernaut, averaging 53.6 points a game and scoring more than 50 points in six games. Before its win over Navasota, Gilmer's smallest margin of victory was 18 points.
"This is by far the most athletic team we've played, no question," Reeve said. "They're probably three-deep receiver wise and three-deep secondary wise. They're loaded with skill kids."
The Gobblers (13-0) will get an up close look when they take on the top-ranked Buckeyes (13-0) in a semifinal game Saturday at 6 p.m. at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.
"They have nine guys back on the defensive side," Reeve said. "They're a football team that if you just look at the experience it would be like having our whole football team back from last year except for two kids. This is a bunch that has literally played together for three years."
Cuero is making its fifth semifinal appearance in the last six years. But the Gobblers began the season with only three starters returning on offense and one on defense.
"I think our kids have done phenomenal. I really do," Reeve said. "A lot of the guys who are starting for us in the secondary were either on the JV or hurt last year. It's the smallest defense we've had since we've been here."
The Gobblers will have to contain Gilmer quarterback Darian Godfrey, who has had success with his arm and legs.
Godfrey has completed 220 of 300 passes for 3,115 yards and 39 touchdowns with five interceptions. He has also rushed for 523 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Buckeyes have seven receivers with at least 17 catches for over 200 yards.
"Their offense, they execute very well," Cuero linebacker Tanner Hoffman said. "We're going to have to execute even better on defense. We cannot be making mental mistakes, we have to know the situation, get lined up right, and get stops on defense."
Cuero's offense will need to take advantage of every scoring opportunity.
The Gobblers are averaging 43.8 points per game and are coming off a 47-28 quarterfinal win over Ingleside.
Quarterback Tyler Arndt has completed 138 of 222 passes for 2,201 yards and 26 touchdowns with four interceptions. Running back Trent Jackson has rushed 257 times for 2,311 yards and 31 touchdowns.
"This is where you just have to be more mentally tough," Reeve said. "They've got a lot of guys who can run and they can play with experience or whatever. But one of the things we've told our kids this week is it's not about Gilmer. It's about the Gobblers playing our best football game, being together, and executing the best we can.
"Anytime that you get caught up, I don't care if you're on the picked to win side or the picked to lose side, if you start thinking about your opponent, I think there's a good possibility you have a chance of getting beat. I think a football game is a whole lot about mental toughness and believing in every situation that you have a chance to win and making the very most of that chance."
NOTES: Cuero will be the home team. The game will be broadcast on KBAR, 100.9 FM......Cuero and Brownwood are tied for the most overall wins by a Class 3A team at 645...Cuero has made 10 state final appearances and won state titles in 1973, 1974 and 1987. Gilmer has made four state final appearances and won the state title in 2004...The winner will advance to the state final against the winner of the Abilene Wylie-Lucas Lovejoy game scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Waco ISD Complex.