It’s no secret how Pleasant Grove won the Class 4A Division II state football championship Friday night at AT&T Stadium. The Hawks won it by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Wimberley came into the title game averaging nearly 200 yards on the ground. The Texans averaged 1.8 yard per carry, and was held to 37 net yards rushing by Pleasant Grove’s defense.
On the other side, the Hawks rushed for 397 yards, with senior Bruce Garrett adding to his record book with 254 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. He’ll leave Pleasant Grove next May having rewritten the school record book.
“We knew Pleasant Grove’s defensive front was going to be a tough load for us to handle,” said Wimberley coach Doug Warren. “They stuffed our run game. We couldn’t move the ball, so hats off to them.”
McCollum leaves AT&T Stadium impressed with PG
Texans’ senior quarterback Cooper McCollum had powerful words of praise for the Hawks’ defense, too.
“Those guys were some of the best I’ve played against in my four years,” said McCollum, who passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns at AT&T Stadium against the Hawks. They’re big, physical, and they were awesome. Their corners and safeties were quick. It was tough to execute with what they did on defense.”
The postgame press conference saw Pleasant Grove coach Josh Gibson introducing three seniors (Ben Harmon, Sergio Rodriguez, Garrett, and junior defensive ends Marcus Burris and Landon Jackson).
“It wasn’t easy picking who came in here with me,” said Gibson. “It was like picking favorites, but these guys here would be the first to tell you it takes everyone. These guys are just extra special on a football field. Prior to the game we had 48 tough hours together. When you’re a dad or mom, and you’re losing a senior who’s is going off to college and the world it hurts.
“We (coaching staff) are losing 21 seniors, who we have built great relationships with. I know it’s not ending here with these guys. They turned over every stone, and did everything we asked them to do.”
Gibson leaned on different Hawks at different times
Gibson noted how each player at the press conference had been a leader on the field at different times.
“I certainly didn’t have my best game tonight, but I believe I left everything on the field, just like everybody else on the team,” said Harmon, who threw more than 90 touchdown passes during the Hawks’ journey to three state championship games. “We had unfinished business after losing to Cuero last year.”
Garrett realized the game might be on his back because Harmon wasn’t 100 percent going into the title game. The Hawks’ all-state quarterback finished with only two completions in the contest, meaning little stage time for Rodriguez on offense. However, Rodriguez was extremely active on defense.
Now for the bad news. It’s bad news for Wimberley and others hoping to win in the 2020 playoffs, and play at AT&T Stadium.
Jackson and Burris will be two of the most recruited players in the United States next season. Division I schools from coast-to-coast have already offered both scholarships. Nick Martin, Logan Johnson, Gage Stivers, Torey Phillips, Alex Murphy, and Cameron Weekly are just a few who return in 2020 and will likely end up playing football at the next level.