Pleasant Grove was missing four key seniors Friday night on Senior Night at Hawk Stadium, including record-setting running back Bruce Garrett.
The Hawks didn’t skip a beat in routing Spring Hill, 63-21, to win their third consecutive district championship.
Pleasant Grove scored touchdown on its first six possessions of the game in building a 49-21 lead at halftime. Head coach Josh Gibson started clearing his bench midway into the third quarter after Shayne Nelson’s 1-yard scoring run made it, 56-21. The playoff-bound Panthers (3-5, 1-2) did not score in the second half.
Injury sidelines Garrett on Senior Night
“Bruce wanted to have his Senior Night, but he didn’t get to have it,” said Gibson. “We could have pushed him, and played him, but it wouldn’t have been good. He’ll be ready to go in two weeks. So many kids stepped up tonight, especially Nick Martin, Bruce’s backup. In fact, we had six or seven backs who looked real good.”
Martin carried the ball 12 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first 13 minutes of the game. He was also the Hawks’ leading tackler.
Spring Hill started the game on fire, needing only four plays to go 65 yards for the game’s first points. Senior quarterback Gage White completed three passes on the drive, including the final 14 to sophomore Jay Rockwell with 11:12 left in the first quarter.
The Hawks answered in 74 seconds with Martin scoring on a 5-yard run.
Hawks’ giant ends team up on fumble recovery
Junior defensive end Marcus Burris caught a fumble in mid-air when teammate Landon Jackson crashed into White. Martin put the Hawks on top for good with 8:16 left in the opening period with his second 5-yard TD run. Pleasant Grove made it 21-7 four minutes later on a 25-yard run by senior K.J. Hicks, who finished the game with 85 yards on six carries.
Pleasant Grove pounded out 552 total yards, 467 coming on the ground. The Hawks limited Spring Hill to 185 total yards, most coming on two plays. White completed 9 of 25 passes for 113 yards with two interceptions.
“These seniors are a special group, the winningest in school history,” said Gibson. “They’re as good as any group I’ve ever been around, and they’ve got special parents. I’m very thankful for them.”
Gibson has a pretty good idea who will be replacing senior quarterback Ben Harmon in 2020. Sophomore Jalen Woodside took over in the third quarter. Facing a third-and-long situation, Woodside responded with a 63-yard touchdown pass to senior Sergio Rodriguez for the game’s final touchdown.
The celebrating started prior to the game when major leaguer Michael Wacha had his schoolboy number (38) retired.