PG Magical Season-Coach Josh Gibson Says Thank You
As we all know by now, the Pleasant Grove Hawks finished off a perfect season with a championship win over two time defending champs West Orange Stark.
Before we look back on that game, which I was very excited to witness at AT&T Stadium(Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Coach Gibson talked about the season and the community support.
He said, " Our community support has been unreal all year. However, I was taken back on Friday. We filled the bottom section, the middle section, and the third level at AT&T. To see it from the field was special for our team. There was no doubt that we had over 50% more fans than a tradition-laden powerhouse that has been there four years in a row. HAWK NATION FANS are #1. The championship is so much more special because we get to share it with every person that came to support us. We love you guys and appreciate you so much!
Coach Gibson also talked about his fellow coaches and players and again is very thankful. "This journey has been special. I believe God has used us to help each other grow, and there has been a ton of growth within our program. I'm more proud of WHO WE ARE than our 16-0 record. These kids are extremely special to me. They poured into each other relationally and worked their tails off. Our coaches have made a huge impact in our players lives and I'm thankful for their efforts..proud of their efforts. We are truly BLESSED at PG. A lot of people saw it last Friday, but I see it every day.
Looking back at the game itself. Pleasant Grove won the toss and Coach Gibson says the kids wanted the ball, which shows the confidence they have in our team and the fact that we wanted to make a statement early.
And that they did with a brilliant play call by Gibson on the first snap from center. I asked him about the pass play that went for six. "The play call was something we came up with over the weekend. West Orange Stark puts everyone in the box to stop the run and we wanted to "counter" their plan, hold them accountable and soften them up a bit. This particular play was off of our jet sweep that we ran a lot last week. We drew it up for TJ because has has great hands and we figured they might not account for him out of the backfield. It worked to perfection. Great play fake, great routes by TJ and great throw by Ben."
The offense put up 28 points of the 41 scored by the Hawks. The Hawks actually ranked in the Top 8 in the state on point production. Gibson says that is pretty special for a ball control, run-oriented football team. " WOS was holding opponents to 7.5 points a game. To score.28 points against them speaks volumes about our offensive attack. Ending up with 41 as a team really lets people know how great PG football truly is.
Defensively the Hawks kept a very talented Quarterback in check most of the night. Gibson was not surprised by his unit, saying"We have the best defense in the state. We showed that Friday. We have shut down 3 of the best offenses in the state the last three games and we did it again on Friday while battling injuries and sickness. We were short-handed but the kids rallied together and had another magical game.
The Hawks truly dominated WOS most of the night, but a couple of 4th quarter touchdowns by the defending champs temporarily had the game in the balance. I asked Coach Gibson how nervous he was at that point. "I wasn't nervous. A little concerned, but I knew our kids would respond. The have rallied back from adversity during big games this year. We did it again Friday."
The game was sealed basically by a tremendous drive by the PG offense that started with about 4 minutes to play and did not end until less than 30 seconds was left on the clock. It included a huge third down pass play. Coach Gibson talked about the drive and the play. "We knew the offense could win the game if we drained the clock. The drive was special. Ben and Xavier connection on the third down play was huge too. Xavier told me before th game that he wanted opportunities to put the team on his back. He made play after play and had a special night!
The game was definitely sealed with not one but two pick sixes in the last few seconds of the game. Coach Gibson sums it up this way, " Xavier is a play-maker and he sealed the game with an extremely athletic play. His pick six was extremely special and for him to be the one to do it was a story-book ending due to his investment in our program. He makes big plays because he works so hard."
"For Aaron Harmon to make the pick six on the last play of the game was extremely special. We couldn't have won the championship, without Aaron and Luke coming out for football this year. They are both so athletic and smart. Everyone was fired up for Aaron.. he deserved it!"
We want to say congratulations again to Coach Josh Gibson, his coaching staff, and all the players on a perfect season and a state championship. But more importantly making us proud of who they are and how they came together for something special and how they so impressively represented our community.
Now it's time for this football family to go their separate ways. Some may have played their last football game. Others will go on to continue playing the game at the collegiate level.
For some it will be on to other sports at PG, whether it be basketball or baseball.
But come next August some of these same players and others who will be moving up will come together as a family again to play this great game.
However something will be different, something will be new. You see for the first time ever these Hawks next season will come back as Defending State Champions of the State of Texas. Now that's got a good ring to it!!!
Happy New Year!!!!