TEXARKANA, Texas -- Pleasant Grove advanced to the area round of the football playoffs as it rolled past Canton, 49-21, in a Class 4A, Division II bi-district playoff game at Hawk Stadium on Thursday.
"We played a really good game," Hawks head coach Josh Gibson said. "Many different players stepped up with big-time hits, creating turnovers and big runs. Canton had scored an average of 53 points per game over their last four games. It was awesome to shut them down with our defense in the second half. I am really proud of our kids."
Jaylen Boardley was the game's leading rusher with 144 yards on eight carries and a touchdown for Pleasant Grove. Ahkhari Johnson, playing in his first game since the season opener, rushed the ball 10 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns for the Hawks.
Johnson scored on a 19-yard run with 5:58 to go in the third quarter to put Pleasant Grove up, 28-14. On the ensuing Eagles drive, Reese Elrod put pressure on the quarterback, forced him to throw backwards and Kaden McFadden scooped up the fumble for a 2-yard touchdown. The score padded the Hawks' lead, 35-14.
"Reese played with a lot of passion," Gibson said. "It is important to him and his teammates. He wanted to come out here, make plans and try to extend his senior year. The seniors did that and I am just fired up for him, the seniors and all of the kids."
Pleasant Grove outscored Canton in the third quarter, 14-0.
RJ Collins hit paydirt from eight yards out and the Hawks put the game out of reach as they took a 42-14 lead with 2:44 to go in the game.
Justus Petree took the ensuing kickoff back for 89 yards for the Eagles to make it 42-21. McFadden returned an attempted onside kick back 47 yards for Pleasant Grove to lock in the victory, 49-21, with 2:20 left to play.
Pleasant Grove took a 21-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Colin Manning, on his first carry of the game, broke free and sped down the field for a 39-yard touchdown run to put the Hawks up, 21-14, with 5:39 to go in the second quarter. Boardley help setup the score when he rushed for 24 yards on the first play of the drive.
Shaw had a 15-yard TD run to knot the game at 14-all for the Eagles with 7:28 to play until the half.
Johnson ran the ball for 36 yards on the first play from scrimmage for Pleasant Grove. The long trot set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Johnson to give the Hawks an early lead, 7-0.
Boardley broke multiple tackles and blazed down the field on a 61-yard touchdown run to put PG up, 14-0, with 7:57 to go in the first quarter.
Canton responded when Shaw grabbed a 32-yard pass from Jason Brisbois to make it, 14-7, with 4:05 left in the first.