PREVIEW: Gilmer Gets No. 8 Pleasant Grove At Home on Friday
DISTRICT 6-4A DIVISION II
No. 8 Pleasant Grove Hawks (5-2, 1-0)
Gilmer Buckeyes (4-3, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gilmer
- Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Pleasant Grove: vs. Liberty-Eylau, Oct. 26
- Gilmer: at Pittsburg, Oct. 26
Players to watch
- TE/DE Landon Jackson, Soph., 6-5, 222 (6 catches, 112 yards, 1 TD; 32 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 sacks, 20 QB pressures, 4 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles)
- DT Marcus Burris, Soph., 6-4, 240 (18 tackles, 6 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- QB Ben Harmon, Jr., 6-1, 185 (41 of 80, 898 yards, 13 TDs, 1 INT; 47 carries, 237 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB Bruce Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 187 (94 carries, 721 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB James Wiggins, Sr. (105 carries, 688 yards, 6 TDs)
- DB Tyler Kelley, Sr., 5-7, 160 (25 tackles, 1 QB pressures, 3 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD)
- WR Jackson Cobb, Jr., 5-10, 155 (17 catches, 287 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Shayne Nelson, Sr. (26 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT)
- QB Mason Hurt, Soph., 6-0, 150 (84 of 167, 1,146 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs; 8 carries, 20 yards)
- RB Darryl Bush, Jr. (98 carries, 560 yards, 11 TDs; 12 catches, 93 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/DB Tra Fluellen, Sr., 6-3, 185 (36 catches, 614 yards, 5 TDs; 3 carries, 15 yards; 10 tackles, 1 PBU)
- DL Ronnie McPherson, Sr. (27 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- DL Abel Euceda, Sr. (35 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 4 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- OL Devon King, Jr., 6-3, 330
- WR/LB Dylan Fluellen, Soph., 6-2, 165 (16 catches, 310 yards, 2 TDs; 10 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack)
- QB Cade Camp, Sr., 6-3, 200 (43 of 76, 655 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs)
Just the facts
- Pleasant Grove defeated Gilmer, 41-38, last season to give the Buckeyes their first home loss in district since 2001.
- Gilmer's three regular-season losses are its most since 2010.
- Pleasant Grove is averaging 37.7 points and 421.7 yards per game -- 292.3 rushing and 129.4 passing.
- Hawks junior quarterback Ben Harmon is averaging 21.9 yards per completion.
- Pleasant Grove is allowing 23 points per game, has 13.5 sacks, and has forced 19 turnovers -- 11 interceptions and eight fumbles.
- Gilmer is averaging 33.9 points and 416.6 yards per game -- 159.3 rushing and 257.3 passing.
- Buckeyes senior receiver Tra Fluellen is averaging 17.1 yards per catch.
- Gilmer is allowing 34.9 points per game, has 12 sacks, and has forced four turnovers -- no interceptions and four fumbles.
Key matchup: Pleasant Grove rushing attack vs. Gilmer defensive front. The Hawks' offense is predicated on bleeding the clock, by taking every second off the play clock before snapping and moving the chains 10 yards at a time. It's been an effective strategy the last couple of seasons for Pleasant Grove, which was won 21 of its last 23 games, including the 2017 4A Division II state championship. This season, Pleasant Grove's Wing-T rushing attack is averaging a little less than 300 yards per game, and it's been three players that have done most of the heavy lifting. Running backs Bruce Garrett and James Wiggins and quarterback Ben Harmon have combined for 1,646 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. As a team, Pleasant Grove is averaging 6.5 yards per rushing attempt, which matches up perfectly with that it is trying to accomplish on offense.
It's been an uncharacteristically up-and-down season for Gilmer, which rebounded from a rare three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins, including last week's 20-18 win over Spring Hill in the district opener. For the season, the Buckeyes are allowing almost 35 points per game, but in the last two weeks, Gilmer has allowed a total of 18 points. It's that kind of defense that will give Gilmer a chance of avenging last year's loss to Pleasant Grove, which was the Buckeyes' first district loss at home since 2001.
Don't be surprised if: Gilmer tries to get the ball out of quarterback Mason Hurt's hands quick to prevent Pleasant Grove's pass-rush from having a major impact. Hawks sophomore defensive end Landon Jackson is one of the nation's highest-rated recruits in the 2021 class, and enters Friday's game with four sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 20 quarterback pressures. Quick tosses to receivers, or screen passes to running backs could be a big weapon for Gilmer's offense, which must take advantage of every possession it gets Friday night.