Darrell Bush scored on a 2-yard run late in the third quarter, and Gilmer held on late as Spring Hill scored but failed on a two-point conversion attempt to give the Buckeyes a 20-18 win in the District 6-4A Division II opener for both teams at Panther Stadium.
Gilmer improves to 4-3 on the year, while Spring Hill drops to 2-5.
It marked the second year in a row the Panthers fell by two points to the Buckeyes. A year ago, Gilmer — which has now won 12 in a row in the series — notched a 44-42 win.
Spring Hill took an early 6-0 lead when Gage White capped a short, two-play, 6-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run at the 7:31 mark of the opening period. The touchdown was set up by a bad snap on a Gilmer punt attempt.
Gilmer took a brief lead two minutes later, moving 61 yards in six plays and scoring on a 4-yard run by Larry Montgomery. The PAT gave the visiting Buckeyes a 7-6 lead.
With 1:07 to play in the quarter, White scored his second touchdown of the night with a 7-yard run. The scoring drive was set up by a 37-yard run from Brady Powers on the first play and a pass interference penalty on the Buckeyes.
Gilmer went back in front with 1:49 to play in the half on Mason Hurt’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Tra Fluellen to make it a 13-12 contest.
That was the score at the break after Spring Hill’s Efren Barcenas came up short on a 57-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Gilmer scored late in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Darrell Bush to extend the lead to 20-12, but the Panthers weren’t finished.
Zach Henry’s second interception of the night set Spring Hill up at midfield, and the Panthers took advantage by scoring on a 38-yard pass from White to Morgan Bradford with 8:29 to play. The try for two failed, however, and Gilmer held on for the victory.
Spring Hill will visit Liberty-Eylau, and Gilmer hosts Pleasant Grove on Friday.