CLASS 4A DIVISION II
State Championship

No. 5 Cuero Gobblers (14-1)

vs.

No. 8 Pleasant Grove Hawks (13-2)

11 a.m. Friday
AT&T Stadium, Arlington

Coaches

  • Cuero: Travis Reeve
  • Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson

Road to Arlington

Cuero

  • Bi-district: def. Pearsall, 66-12
  • Area: def. Rio Hondo, 56-0
  • Regional semifinals: def. Corpus Christi West Oso, 59-20
  • Quarterfinals: def. Geronimo Navarro, 48-23
  • Semifinals: def. Silsbee, 29-24

Pleasant Grove

Players to watch

Cuero

  • WR/DB Jordan Whittington, Sr., 6-1, 185 (46 catches, 905 yards, 12 TDs; 31 carries, 512 yards, 9 TDs; 52 tackles, 3 for loss, 5 iNTs, 2 PBUs; committed to Texas)
  • QB Michael Barta, Sr., 6-2, 200 (104 of 155, 2,098 yards, 25 TDs, 7 INTs)
  • RB Chance Albrecht, Sr., 6-0, 200 (190 carries, 1,524 yards, 30 TDs)
  • RB Keiran Grant, Sr., 5-11, 175 (164 carries, 1,410 yards, 25 TDs; committed to Army)
  • WR/DB Deandre Lang, Sr., 5-8, 155 (31 catches, 602 yards, 8 TDs; 11 tackles, 4 INTs, 4 PBUs)
  • DL Trey Moore, Sr., 6-2, 215 (82 tackles, 20 for loss, 7 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DB Austin Schwarz, Soph., 5-7, 145 (77 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • DE Justin Ficklen, Sr., 5-10, 185 (52 tackles, 12 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 blocked punts)
  • LB Lester Denby, Sr. (79 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
  • WR Devin Whittington, Sr. (24 catches, 494 yards, 2 TDs)

Pleasant Grove

  • RB Bruce Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 187 (243 carries, 1,796 yards, 17 TDs; 4 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD)
  • QB Ben Harmon, Jr., 6-1, 185 (86 of 156, 1,936 yards, 30 TDs, 5 INTs; 88 carries, 388 yards, 10 TDs)
  • WR Jackson Cobb, Jr., 5-11, 160 (25 catches, 558 yards, 8 TDs; 9 carries, 38 yards)
  • RB James Wiggins, Sr., 5-10, 180 (192 carries, 1,243 yards, 10 TDs; 3 catches, 52 yards, 1 TD)
  • DT Marcus Burris, Soph., 6-5, 253 (75 tackles, 12 for loss, 5 sacks, 23 QB pressures, 8 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • LB Bladen Reaves, Sr., 6-0, 195 (130 tackles, 12 for loss, 6 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
  • FS Tyler Kelley, Sr., 5-7, 150 (92 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 5 INTs, 5 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 defensive TDs)
  • WR Brett Walker, Sr., 6-0, 155 (18 catches, 386 yards, 9 TDs)
  • CB Kam Woods, Sr., 6-3, 170 (44 tackles, 1 for loss, 6 INTs, 25 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 blocked kicks, 1 defensive TD)
  • LB Nick Martin, Soph., 6-0, 178 (128 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 17 QB pressures, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)

Just the facts

  • Cuero is averaging 50.5 points and 406.2 yards per game -- 251.7 rushing and 154.5 passing.
  • Cuero senior Jordan Whittington has accounted for 1,417 yards of offense and 21 touchdowns.
  • Cuero running backs Chance Albrecht and Kieran Grant have combined for 2,934 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns.
  • The cumulative record of Cuero's opponents is 87-78 (.527).
  • Cuero is allowing 16.7 points per game, has 19 sacks, and has forced 27 turnovers -- 17 interceptions and 10 fumbles.
  • Pleasant Grove is averaging 38.9 points and 426 yards per game -- 294.3 rushing and 131.7 passing.
  • Pleasant Grove quarterback Ben Harmon is averaging 22.5 yards per completion.
  • Hawks running backs Bruce Garrett and James Wiggins have combined for 3,039 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns.
  • The cumulative record of Pleasant Grove's opponents is 96-69 (.582).
  • Pleasant Grove is allowing 19.3 points per game, has 29.5 sacks, and has forced 29 turnovers -- 17 interceptions and 12 fumbles.
Pleasant Grove RB Bruce Garrett. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Pleasant Grove rushing attack vs. Cuero defensive front. The Hawks' Wing-T offense has been difficult on opposing defenses for the better part of two seasons, and is the biggest reason PG is playing for its second consecutive state championship. Junior Bruce Garrett and senior James Wiggins have combined for more than 3,000 rushing yards this season and 27 touchdowns, and the duo is averaging a robust 6.9 yards per carry. When the Hawks are able to run the ball effectively, it's hard for opponents to have a big impact on offense themselves.

Pleasant Grove RB James Wiggins. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Cuero has one of the most explosive offenses in the state, as the Gobblers enter Friday's title game averaging more than 50 points per game. Cuero has a 2,000-yard passer, two receivers that have combined for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, and a running back duo that has accumulated 2,934 yards and 55 touchdowns. Cuero has so many weapons on offense that it's imperative for Pleasant Grove's offense to control the clock as much as possible. The fewer offensive possessions the Gobblers have, the less chance Cuero has of reaching its season average in points.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's title game is high-scoring. Few teams have been able to stop the offenses of both Pleasant Grove and Cuero this season, and so it seems unlikely that will be the case this week. With PG's penchant for draining the clock with long possessions, it's important that Cuero makes the most of every possession it gets. The Gobblers can't afford to have any turnovers or drives that end without points. Pleasant Grove can shorten games with ease, and Cuero must guard against having to play from behind against a Hawks offense that can dominate time of possession.