TEXARKANA, Texas — The road to a state title begins today.
Pleasant Grove (9-1) hosts Nevada Community (5-5) in a Class 4A, Div. II bi-district football playoff game at 7:30 p.m. at Hawk Stadium.
"The biggest thing going for Nevada Community is that they have a new coach that has built up their program," Hawks' head coach Josh Gibson said. "They've had two playoff berths and a five-hundred record. The past two years have been two of their best years in school history. The coach has done a good job of creating excitement and a winning culture."
Pleasant Grove won a coin flip against the Braves for home-field advantage.
"I am really excited for our kids and community to get a playoff game at home," Gibson. "It's awesome to not have to travel. It gives our seniors a chance to go out and play on their home field again."
The Hawks won the state championship in 2017 and were runner-up in 2018. Pleasant Grove looks to reach the state title game for the third consecutive year.
Senior Bruce Garrett is the Hawks' leading rusher with 992 yards on 125 carries and 11 rushing touchdowns. Garrett leads Pleasant Grove in points scored with 84.
Senior Hawk quarterback Ben Harmon has thrown for 1,127 yards on 51-of-101 passing and 17 TDs. Harmon's top target has been senior Sergio Rodriguez, who has snagged 21 passes for 641 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"Our biggest focus is always going to be on us," Gibson said. "We make sure that we go through the practice and preparation part as diligently and with as much effort as we can. Our goal is to grow and get better than we were the week before."
Rodriguez leads PG with three interceptions, while teammate Dylan Hopkins is the top tackler with 77 stops. Defensive ends Landon Jackson and Marcus Burris excel at applying pressure in the backfield. The Braves' offense is centered around the run.
"They will get in the I-Formation, play physical and try to go downhill," Gibson said. "They play a clock management type of game."
The winner will play either Rusk (3-7) or Salado (7-3) in the area round next week.