FRISCO, Texas—Pleasant Grove and Pittsburg meet in the regional final/state quarterfinal for the second time in nine years today.
The Hawks, the defending Class 4A, Division II state champions, and the Pirates clash at 8:30 p.m. at the Ford Center at the Star for a berth in next week's state semifinal.
PG (11-2) is riding a seven-game win streak, starting with a 45-20 win over Pitt at the beginning of district play on Oct. 12. The Pirates (10-3) have won six straight.
"Pittsburg is a dangerous team; they have weapons on both sides of the ball," Pleasant Grove head coach Josh Gibson said. "Jaylon Jimmerson, Keontae Burns and Keithlen Griffin are three of the best athletes in our district, and they play both sides of the ball.
"Pittsburg has been running the ball more lately and having a lot of success doing it. They've been playing really good defense too."
Pittsburg beat Lorena, 34-28, last week, and the Hawks defeated Gilmer, 56-28.
The Pirates and PG met in the 2009 regional finals in Longview. Pitt got the better of Pleasant Grove, 55-34, with a late surge on a wet, cold night at Lobo Stadium. Pittsburg also won the regular-season meeting in 2009, 42-25.
This year, at the Star, weather won't be a factor, as it has been in the past two playoff rounds for Pleasant Grove.
"The Star is the best venue to play high school football at in the nation; we are lucky to be there," Gibson said. "We like it more than AT&T (Stadium in Arlington) because you can fill it up more with fans and the locker rooms are tailored to high school teams. With the bad weather we've experienced this year, as well as cold and rainy weather for this Friday, we are excited and fortunate to be indoors."
Bruce Garrett is the leading scorer for the Hawks with 16 TDs, and James Wiggins adds 11 scores. Garrett has rushed 201 times for 1,470 yards, and Wiggins has 171 carries for 1,123 yards. Placekicker Dillon Williams has kicked 63 PATs and seven field goals for 84 points this season.
Quarterback Ben Harmon is the third-leading rusher with 81 totes for 340 yards and nine touchdowns, and he has connected on 79 of 140 passes for 1,717 yards, 26 TDs and only two interceptions.
Kamren Woods leads the team in takeaways with six interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries. Tyler Kelley has five interceptions and Ryan Pickelman four. Caleb Hemphill leads the team with three fumble recoveries.
Bladen Reaves has 112 tackles to pace the PG defense, Nick Martin adds 105 and Hemphill 93.
"We can't beat ourselves. We cannot turn the ball over or have penalties," Gibson said. "On defense, we have to stop the run and cannot give up the big play in the passing game. We must win the special teams battle as well."
The game will be broadcast on KTRG, 94.1 FM, starting at 7 p.m. with a pregame.