GLADEWATER, Texas – Pleasant Grove could be facing its biggest mental challenges during the last four football seasons Thursday night against Bullard.
The Hawks lost last Friday in a showdown for the District 8-4A Division II championship at Gilmer. Pleasant Grove now enters bi-district play as a second seed for the first time in four years. The Hawks face the Bullard Panthers (6-4), a third seed from District 7-4A at Jack V. Murphy Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m.
“We’ve got to be positive; there’s no other way to handle last week’s disappointment if you want to grow,” said PG coach Josh Gibson. “We played good football last week in the first half, but only had three possessions in the second half. It wasn’t like we were going three-and-out, we just didn’t have the ball much. Gilmer converted two 11-play drives in a row.
“Bullard is a good football team. I think we match up with them well. They’re well coached. They run and spread on offense. Bullard has played two wing-t teams (Mexia and Brownsboro). We usually don’t know how a team is going to line up against us, but we saw those two games. We have an idea of what they might do on defense.”
Bullard quarterback a real threat
Junior quarterback Blake Blain is the key to the Panthers’ offense. Statistics through eight games have him 95 of 166 passing for 1,212 yards and 16 touchdowns. Blain is also the team’s leading rusher with 476 yards and 6 TDs. His favorite target is senior Connor Carson with 40 receptions for 484 yards and 5 TDs. Carson leads the Panthers’ defense with three interceptions. Senior John Engle leads with 59 tackles and 7 sacks.
“Our kids have responded well in practice this week,” said Gibson. “The defense had its best practice by far this week. The kids really want another shot at Gilmer.”
The winner of this game plays Glen Rose or Community. Gibson expects Glen Rose to win that game.
“Glen Rose is right up there with Gilmer and us,” said Gibson. “Mexia and Van are also good. It’s not going to be a cakewalk by any means in our region.”
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN Texarkana (94.1 FM). Bob Delgiorno and Greg Hogan will handle the play-by-play and color commentary.