MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas -- Pleasant Grove's football playoff journey came to an end at the hands of Gilmer.
The Hawks (8-6) fell behind early and failed to come back in a 36-15 loss to the Buckeyes (13-1) in a Region II-4A regional championship game at Sam Parker Field on Friday.
"I am proud of our program," Pleasant Grove head coach Josh Gibson said. "We were 1-3 when we played at Silsbee and we didn't have very many fans there. I told the team that some people have turned the lights out on us. I told them that we had to dig deep and build back. They stayed the course, stayed together and kept fighting. They played four rounds in the playoffs.
"Our seniors didn't win a game in middle school. What they have done in five years is special. It didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. We didn't get a couple of fourth-down conversions early in the game, which made it more difficult. We battled, they stopped us and that is a credit to Gilmer. They have a really good football team."
Senior Davion Stewart finished with a game-high 136 yards rushing on 17 carries and a touchdown for the Hawks. Teammate and sophomore Jaylen Boardley had 93 yards on 18 totes.
After breaking free on a 45-yard run, Stewart hit paydirt from 13 yards out for Pleasant Grove's first score of the game. The TD came with 52 seconds left in the third quarter and made the score 29-7.
Reese Elrod tackled the Buckeye running back in the end zone for a Hawk safety with 4:08 left in the game to make it 36-9. Quarterback Jarret Halter plunged into the end zone on a sneak for a touchdown with 1:28 left in the fourth. The 2-point conversion pass was incomplete.
Halter threw for 44 yards on 4-of-9 passing and had an interception. Torion Phillips had a pair of catches for 35 yards to lead Pleasant Grove.
Gilmer took a 22-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Parker Gilow caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Tennison to put the Buckeyes up, 7-0, with 10:54 to go in the first quarter.
Tennison found Gilow on a 19-yard TD pass and Michael Colbert run in the 2-point conversion to put Gilmer up, 15-0, with 11:52 in the second quarter.
Pleasant Grove put together a 49-yard drive, all on runs, and faced a 4th-and-6 from the Buckeyes' 16-yard line. A pass fell incomplete and the Hawks turned the ball over on downs with 4:15 left in the first quarter.
Down 15-0, Pleasant Grove started on its own 30-yard line and drove down to the Gilmer 4-yard line. Boardley powered the drive with 39 rushing yards on nine carries. The Hawks went for it on 4th-and-goal from the Buckeyes' 4-yard line and PG fumbled the ball. Gilmer recovered with 2:46 to go in the second quarter.
The Buckeyes play Celina in the Class 4A state semifinals next week. Celina shut out Aubrey, 34-0, Friday.