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Prep Football: No. 3 Pleasant Grove cruises past Frisco Memorial, 63-21

September 15, 2023 at 11:30 p.m.
Pleasant Grove's Torion Philips attempts to catch a pass against Frisco Memorial on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Hawk Stadium in Texarkana, Texas. (Photo by JD for the Texarkana Gazette)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- Firing on all cylinders, No. 3 Pleasant Grove cruised to a 63-21 win over a tenacious but outgunned Frisco Memorial on Friday night at Hawk Stadium.

On a night when everybody got into the act, PG scored on its first eight possessions while senior quarterback Ahkhari Johnson took it easy. Four different receivers caught five touchdown passes and three running backs ran for four more scores.

"The O-line had a great game," said Johnson, whose one incompletion was a dropped ball. "I just sat back and went through my progressions. We're clicking."

It was a complete reversal from a week earlier when lackluster play forced the Hawks to rally from a 21-7 first-half deficit before knocking off Midland Christian 45-26. Head coach Josh Gibson wanted his team's attention and got it.

"Our Wednesday practice and walk-through were the best we've had in five years," he said, referring to PG's last state championship team. "Everything was right tonight, even the way we ran on and ran off the field.

"Little things become big things," Gibson said. "I think we've got something special going on now."

Pleasant Grove moved to 4-0 and will host Paris next week before a bye week followed by district play.

The outcome of this one was clear in the first 11 seconds. Memorial fumbled the first snap from scrimmage and a flock of Hawk linemen jumped on the ball at the 22. On the next play, Johnson dropped back, looked around for a moment, and hit Jackson Gibson at the flag. It was Gibson's fourth TD catch of the season.

Frisco quarterback Damarion McPherson drove his team downfield, thanks in large part to a 44-yard run. The Warriors got as far as the Hawk 12 before McPherson, under intense pressure, lofted an endzone pass that was intercepted by Walker Wright.

Johnson and the offense took nine plays to march 97 yards. Landon West had receptions of 32 and 25 yards and Jaylon Boardley had several good runs to set up a four-yard Johnso-to-KJ Reader pass to make it 14-0 midway through the first period.

It was 14-7 moments later after McPherson scrambled for a 65-yard score.

Wright came in to take a series under center and completed his one pass, a 22-yard scoring strike to Boardley.

Pleasant Grove poured it on in the second quarter, building a 49-7 halftime lead. Johnson threw TD passes of 7 and 36 yards to KJ Reader. Kaden McFadden had a 76-yard TD run.

With 18 seconds left in the half, the Warriors attempted a 43-yard field goal. It was blocked and Boardley returned it 41 yards to the Memorial 32. One play later, the senior back took a handoff from Wright, broke through a huge hole on the left side, found a seam, was gang-tackled at the 10 but carried three defenders into the endzone.

It was 56-7 22 seconds into the third quarter. Johnson found Gibson behind the secondary for 69 yards to the Memorial 11. Nick Bells took it in from there.

The big win allowed PG coaches to substitute freely.

"We even had kids playing out of position so they could get into the game," Gibson said. "They deserve it for all the hard work they do."

Print Headline: No. 3 Pleasant Grove cruises past Frisco Memorial


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