Top 25 Games Of 2017: No. 20, Gladewater At Pleasant Grove
Every game is important in District 7-4A Division II, but the regular season finale between Gladewater and Pleasant Grove has the potential to decide who goes on to the playoffs and who stays home.
It's what we think will be the 20th-best game as we count down the top 25 games of the 2017 regular season.
The Nov. 10 contest at Hawk Stadium in Texarkana will be a rematch of last season's exciting matchup, which resulted in the Hawks leapfrogging the Bears for the coveted second seed out of arguably the state's best Class 4A Division II district.
Think about it. Gilmer, with three consecutive trips to the state semifinal round or better, plus Atlanta, Pittsburg and an improving Spring Hill program make up the rest of the league.
Every win is a massive step in the right direction and every loss enhances stress the season will end after Week 11.
Gladewater and Pleasant Grove got into Week 11 last season having secured playoff berths with one game to spare, but one or both of the squads could easily be fighting for postseason life this go-around if Atlanta or Spring Hill have better seasons than last year. There really isn't a lot of separation in the league year-to-year.
As far as the game itself, it should be a dream for fans of old school football.
Gladewater utilizes the I-formation and Pleasant Grove mostly operates from the Wing-T. The two sides will punish each other.
Lead running back Isaiah Davis is back for the Bears after a 1,283-yard junior campaign and will go toe-to-toe with linebacker and Texas Tech commit Xavier Benson. Pleasant Grove, which returns two important backs from last year's team in TJ Cole and Chauncey Martin, will have to endure an always-respected Gladewater front seven that spends its fall camp going full contact against its own physical offense.
It's safe to say there will be big hits and big runs in this one. It's also a good bet at least some playoff implications will be decided through the contest's course.