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TEXARKANA, Texas — People can talk stats, but what about character?

Character is not mentioned very often when talking about high school football. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think."

At Pleasant Grove, a team motto is 'Heart and Soul'. Head football coach Josh Gibson and the coaching staff work diligently on developing the players' character.

Senior offensive lineman Connor Stanfill was awarded the Chicken Express/Dave Campbell's Texas Football Community Unsung Hero award. The award is given to a player who is exemplary on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

"Connor is an impact player and leads by example," Gibson said. "He is one of our best linemen. He is a great student and is a teacher and coach's dream. Connor is respectful, does things the right way and is productive.

"What makes Connor special is his heart. He has a serving heart and is always serving our community and at church. He impacts others in positive ways."

The Hawks are 7-1 so far this season and are 2-0 in District 6-4A, Div. II. Senior quarterback Ben Harmon is the most vocal leader for Pleasant Grove.

"Ben has been our best vocal leader since he has been here," Gibson said. "He is different and special. And we have a ton of kids are that 100 percent vested. Ben is just a lot more vocal than some of the others.

"His work ethic, vestment and his loyalty to the program are his best attributes. Ben is a loyal friend, loyal to our coaches and he is loyal and diligent in his work."

Growth was high on Coach Gibson's season goals list. Gibson has seen the players developing into positive young men, both personally and spiritually.

"Our goal at the beginning of the year was to grow as much as we could and to make an impact in our school and community," Gibson said. "We've done a better job of doing that than we ever have before. We are constantly holding ourselves accountable. We are constantly trying to do things better.

"I am most proud of the growth we've had with our coaches and our players. I think our personal and spiritual growth has been pretty special."

Pleasant Grove has 15 coaches on its coaching staff. Justin Gibson is the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, while Clint Fuller is the defensive coordinator.

Other coaches are Andy Allen, Alec Bryant, Craig Collvins, Jonathan Darby, Riley Fincher, Brett Hutson, Peyton Lee, Nathan Mahar, Dwight McCowan, Steve Morris, Yancarlo Palacios, Kevin Reaves and Ty Taylor.

"We've had good coach in the past couple of year, but I believe our staff has gotten better," Gibson said. "We are getting a very high quality man and a very high quality coach at the same time. They are making an impact to grow kids, and they are very good football coaches. Our staff is special."

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