CLASS 4A DIVISION II
REGION II CHAMPIONSHIP

Pleasant Grove Hawks (13-0)

vs.

Melissa Cardinals (12-1)

7 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Paris

 

Coaches

  • Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson
  • Melissa: Seth Stinton

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner faces either Bushland or Graham, state semifinals

 

Playmakers

Pleasant Grove

  • WR/LB Xavier Benson, Sr., 6-3, 200 (14 catches, 388 yards, 5 TDs; 91 tackles, 11 for loss, 4 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 1 INT, 5 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 2 blocked kicks; committed to Texas Tech)
  • RB/DB Chauncey Martin, Sr., 6-0, 192 (82 carries, 898 yards, 13 TDs; 59 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • RB TJ Cole, Sr., 6-0, 200 (187 carries, 1,393 yards, 18 TDs; 16 catches, 283 yards, 3 TDs)
  • LB Caleb Porchia, Sr., 6-0, 210 (162 tackles, 14 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 5 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • QB Ben Harmon, Soph., 6-1, 180 (68 of 108, 1,587 yards, 24 TDs, 6 INTs; 59 carries, 158 yards, 4 TDs)
  • WR Carson Cox, Sr., 6-3, 185 (24 catches, 662 yards, 11 TDs)
  • RB Bruce Garrett, Soph., 5-10, 178 (87 caries, 783 yards, 7 TDs; 3 catches, 38 yards)
  • DL Landon Jackson, Fr., 6-5, 195 (81 tackles, 24 for loss, 9 sacks, 11 QB pressures, 1 INT, 6 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 blocked kick)

 

Melissa

  • QB Brendon Lewis, Soph., 6-3, 190 (150 of 223, 3,099 yards, 36 TDs, 9 INTs; 124 carries, 1,105 yards, 14 TDs)
  • RB/LB Ja'Bray Young, Soph., 5-10, 200 (150 carries, 1,440 yards, 19 TDs; 3 catches, 100 yards; 59 tackles, 12 for loss, 2 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD)
  • WR Kennedy Lewis, Jr., 6-4, 195 (52 catches, 1,173 yards, 11 TDs)
  • ATH Tate Whittington, Sr., 6-2, 210 (39 catches, 675 yards, 11 TDs; 92 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • RB Breelyn Armstrong, Sr., 5-8, 195 (98 carries, 699 yards, 6 TDs; 4 catches, 59 yards)
  • WR/DB Cole McGraw, Sr., 6-3, 180 (23 catches, 355 yards, 3 TDs; 65 tackles, 1 for loss, 6 INTs, 8 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • DL Collin O'Neal, Jr., 6-1, 210 (75 tackles, 17 for loss, 5 sacks, 26 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 blocked kick)
  • DL Marvin Jordan, Sr., 6-0, 200 (70 tackles, 15 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 10 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 defensive TD)

 

Just the facts

  • Pleasant Grove is averaging 42.6 points and 423.5 yards per game -- 301.4 rushing and 122.1 passing.
  • Pleasant Grove's average margin of victory this season is 26.3 points.
  • Pleasant Grove sophomore quarterback Ben Harmon is averaging 23.3 yards per completion. And 24 of his 68 completions have gone for touchdowns.
  • Pleasant Grove is allowing 16.3 points per game, and has forced 22 turnovers -- nine interceptions and 13 fumbles.
  • Melissa is averaging 45.5 points and 550.1 yards per game -- 305.7 rushing and 244.4 passing.
  • Melissa has won 12 consecutive games since a 21-14 loss to Argyle Liberty Christian in Week 1.
  • Melissa sophomore quarterback Brendon Lewis is averaging 323.4 yards of offense per game.
  • Melissa is allowing 23.7 points per game, and has forced 35 turnovers -- 21 interceptions and 14 fumbles. The Cardinals have four defensive touchdowns.

 

Key matchup: Pleasant Grove rushing attack vs. Melissa defensive front. The bulk of Pleasant Grove's offensive production comes from its running game. The three headed-monster of backs TJ Cole, Chauncey Martin, and Bruce Garrett ignite an offense that averages almost 43 points per game. The trio has combined for more than 3,000 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns, and an average of 236.5 yards per game. While the running game can be explosive at times, it's most effective as a game-shortening agent. The longer the Hawks possess the ball, the less likely an opposing offense can do damage, and PG's opponent this week can afflict some serious damage.

Pleasant Grove RB TJ Cole. (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Melissa brings in an offense that averages more than 550 yards per game. The Cardinals are led by a sophomore duo of dual-threat quarterback Brendon Lewis and running back Ja'Bray Young. Lewis has accounted for 50 touchdowns passing and rushing, and has totaled 4,204 yards of offense by himself. Young serves as the battering-ram, punishing defenses in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He enters Friday's regional championship game with more than 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.

Pleasant Grove's district mate Gilmer thought it had Melissa's offense solved, but that was before the Cardinals erupted for 35 points and 400 yards in the second half of their 35-23 win. In order for the Hawks to tame Melissa's high-powered offense, they must play keep-away with time-consuming drives that end in touchdowns, and hope the defense can come away with a stop or two.

Don't be surprised if: Pleasant Grove takes advantage of a few one-on-one matchups down the field with its passing game. The Hawks run the football more than 80 percent of the time, but sophomore quarterback Ben Harmon is about as efficient as it gets through the air. He comes in completing 63 percent of his throws, averages 23 yards per completion, and has 24 touchdown passes on only 68 completions. Receiver Carson Cox is the go-to guy with 662 yards and 11 TD's on only 24 receptions. Melissa will almost always be in an eight-man front to stop the run, so expect single coverage on Pleasant Grove's receivers for most of the night.