Ninth-Ranked Gladewater Earns 41-21 Victory Over Pleasant Grove
[By Tony Kirk, Special to ETSN.fm]
GLADEWATER -- The ninth-ranked Gladewater Bears ran past the Pleasant Grove Hawks, 41-21, Friday night at Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium.
Gladewater piled up 297 yards on the ground with Justice Centers going for 112. Bears quarterback Nick Canaguier was 7 of 11 for 136 yards.
The Bears (7-1, 3-0 in District 6-4A Division II), who are in the driver’s seat for the district championship, will take on the Spring Hill Panthers next Friday night. Pleasant Grove (5-3, 1-2), meanwhile, returns home to face Center next week.
Gladewater took a 13-0 lead into halftime after a pair of Centers touchdown runs in the second quarter. The first came from 2 yards out capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with 8:43 to go in the second quarter. Centers’ second came from 4 yards out, but the two-point conversion attempt failed as Daylon Mack mishandled the shotgun snap.
Pleasant Grove squandered three first-half possessions inside Gladewater’s 30-yard line. One ended on a missed field goal, another on a DeVuntay Walker fumble, and a third on downs.
Darnell McKnight started the scoring for Gladewater in the second half with a 12-yard touchdown, which finished off an 11-play, 70-yard drive and gave the Bears a 20-0 lead with 7:45 remaining in the third.
Four minutes later, Pleasant Grove got on the board with a 3-yard Walker touchdown run.
Centers answered two plays later with a 65-yard TD scamper for the Bears. Mack punched in the two-point conversion to push the lead back out to three scores, 28-7.
Ty Everett’s 46-yard kick return set up a short field for the Hawks. Connor Lemmerhirt’s 19-yard reception from Jacob Smith got the ball down to Gladewater’s 18. Everett’s jet sweep from there made it 28-14 with 10:14 remaining in the fourth.
Hunter Hatfield then blocked a Bears punt, positioning Smith for a 15-yard TD run that cut Gladewater's lead to 28-21. But the Bears responded with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that finished with Daryl Polk dashing in from 12 yards out for six.
A late Hawks' comeback was thwarted when Smith was hit, forcing an interception that defensive lineman Mick Carmona returned 60 yards for the final Bears' touchdown.