Courtesy of PG Hawks Sports
Two very familiar foes hook up Friday night in Longview to decide the Class 4A Division II Regional Championship.
The Pleasant Grove Hawks face the Gilmer Buckeyes at Lobo Stadium Friday night at 7PM. The two district rivals met earlier this season at Hawk Stadium with PG coming out on top 37-24.
Before we break down the big game, let’s look back at last weekends big victory over previously unbeaten Sunnyvale.
The Hawks scored quickly and added another quick score to jump out ahead and never trailed. PG Head Football Coach Josh Gibson talked about the beginning and the game itself. “I think we got off to a really good start and then Sunnyvale settled down and played really well. We had a chance to go up 42-14 and a 70 yard TD was called back. Two plays later we fumble and they advanced the ball to the 1 yard line and punched it in the next play. The game was 35-21 and was a big momentum swing, but we were able to answer and score again to make it 42-12. I think our kids did a good job of playing through the “low” times during the game.”
Defensively the Hawks Landon Jackson and Quinn Bingham both scored touchdowns. Jackson on a fumble scoop and score and Bingham on a pick six. Gibson says both plays were critical in the win, “Both players made huge plays which gave us significant momentum at the time. It was great to see them both score defensive TD’s too…those are hard to come by. BIG MOMENTS!!!”
Now we turn our attention to the Region Championship Game against Gilmer. Gibson tells us what the formula is for another Hawks victory over the Buckeyes. We asked him what it would take to win. “The same thing it took the first time. Same two teams, both great programs and really good. We have to play a “clean” game. Can’t have penalties, turnovers, or give up big plays. Those things, along with playing extremely physical will dictate the outcome of the game.”
Gibson also has know doubt that Pleasant Grove fans will show up in big numbers. “Hawk Nation fans are the best. We had twice as many fans as Sunnyvale this past week and had to drive a lot longer to “The Star”. Same deal with the 3 playoff games before. Our fans will be there and they will be LOUD & PROUD.”
Since the 2017 season these Hawks have been accustomed to long runs in the playoffs. This is something that does not go unnoticed by Coach Gibson. “It’s an awesome feeling to be going to the 4th round Regional Championship for the third year in a row. Not many programs can say they’ve done that….probably less than 2% of current teams playing. Really proud of our players.”
Since 2017, Pleasant Grove has won a State Championship with a perfect record, finished second in the state, and now vying to at least get back to the State Semi-Final next week. Great job Coach Gibson, assistant coaches, players, and all of Hawk Nation.
This game will be a football war, make no mistake about it. Two true heavyweights battling on the gridiron. It should be a very close hard fought game.
But there is something about this team, similar to the 2017 Championship team. You just feel they are not going to be denied. Coach Gibson, and that core of senior players who have been together since 7th grade are on a mission. A mission that really won’t be complete until they are gathered around the State Championship Trophy in the middle of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on the evening of Friday December 20th.