PG #1 Seed in Playoffs; Prepares for Spring Hill
The Pleasant Grove Hawks will be the #1 seed from their district in the playoffs, but first they have business to finish in Longview against Spring Hill.
The Hawks secured the top spot by beating Pittsburgh, Gilmer, and Liberty-Eylau in district play. But they want to finish the regular season with a victory.
Before we look at Friday nights game, lets look back at last weeks come from behind victory over the cross-town Leopards.
The Hawks dug themselves a huge hole, with three turnovers and a 21-0 deficit at halftime. PG Head Coach Josh Gibson says,"It was definitely a tale of two halves. We didn't play well the first half. We didn't play fast and we committed too many mistakes. The second half was awesome. Our kids were resilient and played with their hearts. The comeback was unbelievable. The Hawks outscored the Leopards 35 to 7 in that second half to claim the 35-28 victory.
In this reporters view there were three key moments that led to the Hawk comeback. First they stopped L-E from scoring late in the 1st half, when the Leopards were about to take a four touchdown lead. A missed field goal left the deficit where it was. The second key moment was the start of the second half, when L-E took the opening kickoff and started driving again for a score. Once again the Hawk defense rose up and forced a punt, leaving the deficit where it was. The last key moment was in the 4th, after the Leopards scored on a long pass play after two Hawk defenders collided near midfield, Kickoff returner Bruce Garrett ran that back for a TD, and the Hawks never looked back. Exciting stuff!!!
Coach Gibson had this to say, "There are ups and downs in football. The team that doesn't let those big or low moments dictate their attitude and effort, always has a better chance at a sine, a comeback, etc. We maintained our composure and handled those big and low moments very well.
One thing these Hawks have is a very loyal and boisterous fan base. Everyone in the crowd was deterred by the big halftime deficit and it was extremely loud throughout the entire second half. Gibson is thankful for the community support, "Our fans were awesome...the best in the state. It's obvious how much they believe in our program and support our kiddos. That was one of the loudest games I've been a part of."
The Hawks were missing some key members, particularly on offense, due to injuries. The next man up theme worked well though in that second half. Coach Gibson said they had a lot of kids step up, "I can't say enough about Will Cullipher's performance. He didn't just get us through a game, but he helped dictate the outcome with his physical running. He played hard and didn't make any mistakes."
Now it's on the road to take on Spring Hill. Coach Gibson says they lost to both Gilmer and Liberty-Eylau by just 2 points, so they have a good team. "They play very hard and do a great job of staying in games. They've had two weeks to prepare for us with their off week being last week."
Gibson says despite the Hawks having already secured the #1 seed in the playoffs, this game is important to them, "We want to continue to grow and get better. With the exception of the first half, we've gotten better and better each of the last five weeks. I believe our football is yet to come. Hopefully we play our best game this Friday night."
Good luck to the Hawks this Friday night and in the playoffs that will soon begin for the defending Texas State Champions, we continue to be proud of Coach Gibson, his staff, and the players who represent Pleasant Grove and the entire community so well!!!