CLASS 4A DIVISION II
Region II Semifinal

Pleasant Grove Hawks (6-6)

vs.

Celina Bobcats (10-2)

2 p.m. Friday
Mesquite Memorial Stadium

 

Coaches

  • Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson
  • Celina: Bill Elliott

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Winner faces Gilmer or Jasper, Class 4A Division II quarterfinal

 

Playmakers

Pleasant Grove

  • RB Logan Wesley, Sr., 5-7, 190 (205 carries, 844 yards, 12 TDs; 9 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD)
  • QB T.J. Cole, Jr., 6-0, 200 (34 of 93, 568 yards, 8 TDs, 6 INTs; 99 carries, 427 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Keshawn Jones, Sr., 5-9, 161 (103 carries, 671 yards, 5 TDs; 7 catches, 143 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR/LB Xavier Benson, Jr., 6-3, 200 (9 catches, 122 yards, 2 TDs; 89 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 4 forced fumble, 3 recoveries, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
  • S Chauncey Martin, Jr., 5-11, 170 (70 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • LB Bobby Cooks, Sr. (61 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU)
  • RB Josh Roberts, Jr., 6-1, 180 (69 carries, 544 yards, 5 TDs)
  • S Tyler Allen, Jr., 6-1, 190 (18 tackles, 1 for loss, 3 INTs, 6 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)

 

Celina

  • QB Conner Pingleton, Sr., 6-0, 180 (62 of 137, 1,323 yards, 18 TDs, 11 INTs; 66 carries, 301 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB John Franklin, Sr., 6-0, 190 (154 carries, 1,322 yards, 17 TDs; 30 catches, 602 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Ismael Ortiz, Jr., 5-6 150 (20 catches, 226 yards, 3 TDs; 72 carries, 597 yards, 10 TDs)
  • OL Luke Melton, Sr., 6-3, 310
  • OL Hayden Reed, Sr., 6-4, 305
  • LB Hayden Shortes, Sr., 5-11, 185
  • FB Ryan Nebeker, Soph., 5-11, 160 (42 carries, 402 yards, 5 TDs)
  • SB Christian Rivas, Sr., 5-9, 185 (28 catches, 367 yards, 4 TDs; 16 carries, 97 yards, 2 TDs)

 

Just the facts

  • Pleasant Grove is averaging 25.8 points and 287.3 yards per game -- 225.7 rushing and 61.5 passing.
  • The Hawks have won five consecutive games after beginning the year 1-6.
  • Pleasant Grove has not won more than six games in a season since 2009.
  • The six wins the Hawks have, have come against teams with a combined record of 30-36 (.455).
  • Celina is averaging 49.9 points and 407.9 yards per game -- 256.5 rushing and 151.4 passing.
  • The Bobcats have won eight state championships, and played in 11 title games, including last year's 22-3 loss to West Orange-Stark.
  • Celina and Pleasant Grove share one common opponent -- Gladewater. Pleasant Grove defeated the Bears, 40-23, in Week 11, while Celina won against Gladewater, 44-41, last week.
  • Celina's two losses came in Week 1 and Week 3 to Princeton (42-27) and Argyle (43-14), respectively.

 

Pleasant Grove RB Keshawn Jones. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Celina rushing attack vs. Pleasant Grove defensive front. The Bobcats' offense has been rolling all season long, averaging almost 50 points per contest, and the running game has been a staple. Option No. 1 on the offensive side of the ball is senior running back John Franklin, who is closing in on 2,000 yards from scrimmage this season. He constitutes nearly 40 percent of the Bobcats' offensive production on the year, and will undoubtedly be the primary focus for the Pleasant Grove defense.

The Hawks are into the third round of the playoffs despite an offense that averages less than 30 points and 300 yards per game. Pleasant Grove has been relying on its defense during its current five-game winning streak. Over the last five weeks, PG is surrendering an average of 16.4 points per game. Even in its district-opening loss to Gilmer, the Hawks limited the Buckeyes to a season-low 31 points and 424 yards, which is well below Gilmer's season average.

Don't be surprised if: Pleasant Grove isn't intimidated by the tradition-rich Celina program, or scared by the moment. The Hawks lost six of their first seven games, forcing them into a must-win mode for the remainder of the season. Essentially, Pleasant Grove has played in and won five consecutive elimination games, and is used to playing with its back against the wall. Celina is the unquestioned favorite coming into the game, but Pleasant Grove pulled off an upset of similar caliber the final week of the regular season by defeating Gladewater, 40-23.