‘Air Gibson’ unleases Ben Harmon in Hawks’ lopsided win over Gilmer


ALLEN, Texas – Remember “Air Coryell” of the San Diego Chargers. Let us introduce Pleasant Grove’s pass-happy coach Josh Gibson, and his young gunslinger Ben Harmon.

Pleasant Grove’s junior quarterback Harmon threw a school-record five touchdown passes Friday at Allen High School’s Eagles Stadium, surviving two lightning delays, rain and the Gilmer Buckeyes, 56-28.

Ben Harmon
Pleasant Grove and Gilmer players scramble for a wet football during Friday’s playoff game at Eagles Stadium in Allen, Texas.

The Hawks improve to 11-2 on the season. They started Friday’s Region II-4A Division II semifinal in November and finished in December (after midnight). PG will play district rival Pittsburg in the regional championship game next week. The Pirates rallied to edge Lorena, 34-28.

Harmon completed 12 of 14 passes for 257 yards, while the Hawks’ slot-t offense piled up more than 300 yards on the ground. Junior Bruce Garrett led the running game with 178 yards on 18 carries. Garrett’s lone touchdown coming in the second quarter on a 16-yard run that put PG on top 28-14 at intermission.

In 29 games, Harmon has now thrown 54 touchdown passes the past two seasons.

Ben Harmon
Pleasant Grove defensive back Sergio Rodriguez knocks the ball loose from a Gilmer receiver.

Second half delayed two hours by lightning

The halftime break was nearly two hours long. A 57-yard run by Garrett set up Harmon’s third touchdown pass to Sergio Rodriguez It was his second TD of the game, making it 35-14. Gilmer’s Trey Fluellen caught a 57-yard scoring pass late in the third quarter to make it 35-20.

Pleasant Grove put the contest out of reach in the final eight minutes. James Wiggins scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge. Junior Braden Hlavinka and Brett Walker caught scoring passes during a two-minute stretch inside the five-minute mark.

The Hawks scored on their first four possessions of the game after lightning delayed the start by 30 minutes. It was three-and-out for the Buckeyes on their first possession. It took PG five plays to go 62 yards for the game’s first points, a 10-yard pass from Harmon to Bladen Reaves.

Ryan Pickelman hauled in a 9-yard touchdown pass with 2:18 left in the opening period. Dillon Williams converted the second of his eight PATs to make it 14-0.

Gilmer scored on its next two possessions, but the Hawks answered quickly each time. Rodriguez caught a 43-yard pass to set up a 23-yard scoring run by Wiggins with 9:27 left in the half.

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