MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas -- Pleasant Grove's Black Hawk defense shut out Quinlan Ford in the second half as the Hawks defeated the Panthers, 17-7, in a Class 4A, Division II regional semifinal varsity football playoff game at Sam Parker Field on the campus of Mount Pleasant High School on Friday.
"We stayed together and that was big," Pleasant Grove head coach Josh Gibson said. "We didn't move the ball as well as we wanted to. Our defense played extremely physical and sound; they didn't give up big plays. They rallied together and played their keys.
"This is an offense that scores a ton of points. I couldn't be more proud on what we just accomplished in holding them to 7 (points). It is a special win."
The stingy Hawk defense held Quinlan Ford (12-1) to 235 rushing yards, 260.1 yards lower than the Panthers' average of 495.1 yards per game. Pleasant Grove (8-5) also held Quinlan Ford to just 7 points. The Panthers came in with an average of 49.1.
Jaylen Boardley scored on a 21-yard run with 4:43 to go in the fourth quarter to give the Hawks a 17-7 lead. Boardley finished with a game-high 105 yards rushing on 15 carries. Ahkhari Johnson was the second-leading PG rusher with 74 yards on seven totes and a TD.
Senior Davion Stewart, a Hawk running back, got most of his carries in the second half. Stewart made many hard-nosed runs to help keep the clock and the chains moving. He finished with 50 yards on eight attempts.
"I am hoping that we can go further," Stewart said. "It is going by fast, and I want to soak it all in before the season is over. I just trusted my teammates (while running the football) and I tried to seize the moment."
Pleasant Grove finished with 275 yards of offense, 240 rushing and 35 passing. Quinlan Ford attempted just one pass, which was incomplete.
The Hawks recovered three fumbles in the game, while the Panthers made two interceptions and recovered a fumble.
Kaiden Roden scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to give the Panthers an early 7-0 lead with 4:21 in the first quarter. It would be the last time that Quinlan Ford would score.
Pleasant Grove quickly responded when quarterback Johnson worked his way to the outside and sped down the field 58 yards for a TD to knot the game at 7-all with 3:42 left in the first.
The Hawks capped a 12-play drive in 5:57 with an Enrique Rios 21-yard field goal to take a 10-7 advantage with 1:11 left until halftime.
Roden had 95 yards of rushing on 20 carries, while teammate Jadonavan Williams led the Panthers with 102 yards on 19 totes.
Pleasant Grove (8-5) plays Gilmer (12-1) at Mount Pleasant's Sam Parker Field at 7 p.m. Friday in a Class 4A, Division II regional final/state quarterfinal playoff matchup.
Gilmer defeated previously unbeaten Van, 56-35, Friday.
The Buckeyes and Hawks are both from District 8-4A and the pair finished 1-2 in the league standings. Gilmer defeated Pleasant Grove, 55-14, in the regular-season matchup.