PREVIEW: Red-Hot Gladewater Meets Reigning Champ Pleasant Grove
Gladewater Bears (3-0)
No. 3 Pleasant Grove Hawks (3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Hawk Stadium, Texarkana
- Gladewater: John Berry
- Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson
- Gladewater: at Winnsboro, Sept. 28
- Pleasant Grove: vs. Chapel Hill, Sept. 28
Players to watch
- RB Eli Carter, Soph., 5-10, 185 (67 carries, 762 yards, 6 TDs; 2 catches, 66 yards, TD)
- RB/DB Christian Holmes, Sr., 5-8, 150 (18 carries, 150 yards, 3 TDs)
- QB Tristan Holmes, Soph., 5-8, 155 (23 of 41, 460 yards, 5 TDs; 7 carries, 58 yards)
- RB AJ Harris, Sr., 5-9, 180 (23 carries, 128 yards, TD; 1 catch, 20 yards)
- WR/DB TC Minter, Sr., 6-2, 185 (15 catches, 299 yards, 4 TDs)
- FB/LB Rashaud Johnson, Sr., 5-8, 190 (7 carries, 27 yards, 3 TDs)
- DB/DE Keston Wilson, Sr., 5-10, 220 (3 carries, 7 yards, 2 TDs)
- OT David Bohanon, Sr., 6-2, 265
- DE Landon Jackson, Soph., 6-5, 222 (22 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 11 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- DT Marcus Burris, Soph., 6-4, 240 (16 tackles, 1 QB pressure, 1 forced fumble)
- QB Ben Harmon, Jr, 6-1, 185 (17 of 38, 377 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 13 carries, 97 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Bruce Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 187 (46 carries, 357 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jackson Cobb, Jr., 5-10, 155 (7 catches, 160 yards; 3 carries, 11 yards)
- CB Tyler Kelley, Sr., 5-7, 160 (21 tackles, 1 INT)
- RB James Wiggins, Sr. (36 carries, 219 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Shayne Nelson, Sr. (21 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB pressure)
Just the facts
- Gladewater and Pleasant Grove shared the same district in 4A Division II from 2014-17.
- Gladewater and Pleasant Grove have split the last four meetings.
- Gladewater is averaging 48 points and 539 yards per game -- 385.7 rushing and 153.3 passing.
- Bears sophomore running back Eli Carter has rushed for at least 239 yards in every game this season.
- Gladewater has allowed 24 points per game in 2018.
- Pleasant Grove is averaging 37.3 points and 392.3 yards per game -- 266.7 rushing and 125.6 passing.
- Hawks junior quarterback Ben Harmon is averaging 22.2 yards per completion.
- Pleasant Grove is allowing 23 points per game in 2018.
Key matchup: Gladewater rushing attack vs. Pleasant Grove defensive front. The Bears might have the best running game in all of East Texas with sophomore running back Eli Carter leading the way. The Bears' back comes into Friday's non-district clash against defending 4A Division II champ Pleasant Grove with 762 yards, which is second in the area, and six touchdowns. His 11.4 yards-per-carry average in Gladewater's wins over Spring Hill, Atlanta, and Center should strike fear into most defenses the Bears come into contact with in 2018. But Carter has plenty of impressive ball carriers around him, including fullback Rashaud Johnson, and running backs Christian Holmes and A.J. Harris, which have combined for 305 yards and seven touchdowns. The running game has allowed Gladewater's passing game to have big success, as quarterback Tristan Holmes is averaging 20 yards per completion.
Pleasant Grove's defense, following impressive performances the first two weeks against Paris and Henderson, hit a snag in its 49-35 win over Atlanta last Friday. The Hawks surrendered 446 yards off offense to the Rabbits, including a staggering 335 on the ground. Atlanta had success against Gladewater's defense in their Week 2 meeting, but nothing like what it enjoyed against PG last week. If Gladewater is able to move the ball on the ground at will against Pleasant Grove, the Hawks' 19-game winning streak could be in serious jeopardy.
Don't be surprised if: Both quarterbacks make a significant impact on the outcome of Friday's game. Holmes has made the most of his 41 passing attempts this season, passing for 460 yards and five touchdowns. Most of that production has gone to receiver TC Minter, who has 299 yards and four TD's on just 15 catches. Pleasant Grove junior quarterback Ben Harmon hasn't been quite as accurate as Holmes, but has been just as lethal in the big-play department. Of Harmon's 17 completions, five have gone for touchdowns, and he enters this week's game averaging an impressive 22 yards per completion. Neither team will divert from their primary game plan, which call for a heavy dose or rushing attempts, but expect big plays in the passing game to have a major say in the game's winner.