Texarkana Pleasant Grove Defense Shuts Down Graham To Propel Hawks To State Title Game

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Photo: Sara Carpenter/TexasHSFootball

FRISCO, Texas — If defense wins championships, then Texarkana Pleasant Grove definitely spruced up their resume for their bid at a state title with a 45-14 victory over Graham from The Star in Frisco in the Class 4A DII State Semifinals.

With the strength of their defense on full display from the opening whistle, Pleasant Grove dominated Graham and had an answer for every offensive effort they put forth. The Hawks defense finished with a team total of five sacks and nearly pitched a shutout as the limited a potent Graham offense the entire night.

Sara Carpenter/TexasHSFootball

They would force two consecutive three-and-outs on Graham’s opening drive and their offense would soon get to clicking right after.

Fullback Bruce Garrett, who scored on runs of 15 and 85 yards, respectively, gave Pleasant Grove their first points of the game in the first quarter at the 6:01 marker.

“We’ve been dreaming about this for a long time and now it’s happening,” the sophomore exclaimed after the game. “It’s amazing and a great feeling.”

Sara Carpenter/TexasHSFootball

Looking to hasten the offensive scoring production against a potent Graham squad, Pleasant Grove turned to TJ Cole who pitched in two rushing touchdowns on back-to-back Pleasant Grove drives to have them up to an early 21-0 lead.

“We have such a good offensive line, they always make sure they get their pancakes,” Garrett continued. “They always take care of business every time we get the ball.”

Though the offense proved to be proficient, the defense was overbearing for the Steers to handle. Pleasant Grove forced five punts and got a takeaway thanks to the secondary instinct of Tyler Kelly within the first half.

The Hawks entered the half with a 28-0 lead after Carson Cox scored on a 53-yard touchdown reception prior to the half.

Sara Carpenter/TexasHSFootball

The rest of the game saw Pleasant Grove put the final touches on the night and Head Coach Josh Gibson was thankful for his team’s performance on the night that will have them playing in the 4A DII State Championship for the first time in program history.

“We played a really good football game and executed well on defense and offense,” Gibson said after the game. “I’m just so proud of our kids and we are blessed to do this and I’m thankful for them.”

Pleasant Grove will play the Class 4A Division II state title game3 p.m next Friday at AT&T Stadium. They await the winner of West Orange-Stark and Wimberley, who face off Friday night in Katy.

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