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Pleasant Grove Earns First Title 41-21

West Orange-Stark's 40 Game Win Streak Ends

AT&T Stadium - The 2017 Class 4A DII State Championship was a matchup that featured the two-time defending champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs (13-0) and the Texarkana Pleasant Grove Hawks (15-0.)  This marked the third straight year to be in the title game for Coach Cornel Thompson's Mustangs and the first appearance in the top game for Coach Josh Gibson's Hawks.

Texarkana Pleasant Grove scored on the first play from scrimmage as they surprised the Mustang defense with a pass. Ben Harmon hit receiver TJ Cole for a 75 yard strike to take the lead 7-0 with just 10 seconds gone in the game. The Hawk offense and defensive lines are must bigger than the Mustangs. That size showed on West Orange-Stark's first possession as they were shut down and had to punt.   Pleasant Grove went 3 and out on their next possession and West Orange-Stark responded. They got a 3 yard touchdown run by Kayven Cooper (20 rushing touchdowns during the season). The extra point was no good making the score 7-6. Pleasant Grove who is not normally a passing team went to the air again as Harmon and Cole connected again on a 34 yard score to make the score 14-6.    The Mustangs had the ball as the quarter ended but would have to punt early in the 2nd quarter.  For the 1st quarter, Pleasant Grove ran 14 plays for 148 yards while WOS ran 12 plays for 57 yards.

After a Hawk punt, WOS threw a  pass that was intercepted by Pleasant Grove defensive back Cameron Wells at the Hawk 40 yard line.   The Mustang defense held though and after a good punt return, had the ball at the Hawk 47 yard line.   West Orange-Stark lined up to punt after 3 plays and ran a fake.  The fake netted a 39 yard gain BUT it was called back by a penalty. They then punted the ball. The teams traded 3 and outs on their next possessions.   A 22 yard punt return by Pleasant Grove gave them the ball at their own 48 with 3:36 left until half. TJ Cole scored his 3rd touchdown of the game with a 6 yard run to make the score 21-6 with just 1:04 left. The Mustangs went to a wide open passing attack but could not move the ball far enough down the field as the half ended.

West Orange-Stark started with the ball to open the 2nd half. They scored a touchdown on a long pass play BUT it was called back by a penalty. They then went for it on a 4th down play at their own 45 and made it. They were then forced to go for it on a 4th down play at the Pleasant Grove 27 but did not convert. To this point, WOS was 0 for 8 on 3rd down and now 3 of 4 on 4th down. The teams traded punts and Pleasant Grove had the ball in WOS territory as the quarter ended. The Mustangs were held to 45 yards in the quarter.

The Hawks were able to cash in on their drive when Bruce Garrett ran it in from 4 yards out to up the Hawk lead to 28-6.  West Orange-Stark stayed with their passing game and got a 44 yard scoring pass from Chaka Watson to receiver Jarron Morris. Morris also scored on the 2 point conversion on a play from the swinging gate formation.  That cut the Hawk lead to 28-14.  Pleasant Grove went 3 and out and WOS took over at their own 39 with 6:48 and the momentum had switched to the Mustang side. West Orange-Stark move quickly down the field and scored when Blake Robinson caught a 3 yard pass to make the score 28-21. Pleasant Grove took over with 4:35 remaining in the game. On a 3rd and 5 play, they threw a pass to Xavier Benson for 28 yards and a key first down with 3:11 left.   An 11 yard run on the next play gave the Hawks a first down with 2:08 remaining. The Mustang defense held and the Hawks tried a 39 yard field goal but it was no good. WOS took over at their own 22 with 28 seconds left. Pleasant Grove defensive back Benson intercepted a pass though and scored from 22 yards out to seal the victory. The Mustangs got the ball once more and their pass on the last play of the game was intercepted by Pleasant Grove defensive back Aaron Harmon who returned it for 44 yards and a score to make the final 41-21.

Pleasant Grove won their first ever championship in their first ever championship game. West Orange-Stark played in their 8th state championship game and are now 4-4 in title games. This was West Orange-Starks 4th consecutive state championship game and are they were back to back champions.  WOS  40 game winning streak is also now over.

Offensive MVP:  TJ Cole (188 total yards and 3 touchdowns)

Defensive MVP: Caleb Porchia (broke school record this year for most tackles in a season)  11 tackles 2 sacks

Attendance: 20,851

Pleasant Grove14702041
Pleasant GroveWOS
13First Downs11
111Rushing Yds43
248Passing Yds240
359Total Yds283

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