Pleasant, Sunny Times Don’t Last When These Schools Tussle

by BoCarter | Posted on Saturday, November 30th, 2019

Image result for Pleasant Grove Sunnyvale football                                                               FRISCO, Texas – When Pleasant (Grove) and Sunny (vale) met in in the Texas UIL regional finals Friday night at The Star at Ford Center – home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys offices and practice complices – one might have expected a relaxing evening of civilized football.

Well, in this case it was a literal “slobber knocker” in the words of Texarkana Pleasant Grove head coach Josh Gibson as his Hawks outlasted Sunnyvale 49-28.

The two workingman squads entered the fracas with a combined 23-1 record and lived up to advance billing with tons of physical football and game-breaking plays.

Interestingly, these two opponents did not feature the Texas-sized quarterbacks who have become the rage in Lone Star State football in recent years.

In this case the 6-1 (maybe), 185-pound PGHS signal caller Ben Harmon and 5-10, 170-pound Sunnyvale quarterback Tripp Mcada gave up inches and pounds to many of their regional counterparts but did not lack toughness in this physical tussle.

“All the kids on both these teams fought hard,” Gibson noted, “and it is neat that we are one of eight teams remaining in our classification. This was one tough football game.”

For their part the two quarterbacks put up solid numbers against two of the top defenses in North and East Texas.

Harmon, who also handles punting duties for the Hawks and might sell popcorn at halftime, came out and completed his first three passes for 53 yards to spearhead an opening, 58-yard drive for the winners.

He ended the evening with 7-of-13 passing for 112 yards and was sacked three times to end with minus two net yards rushing but provided some tough inside running on his other three carries.

Mcada dodged a ferocious Pleasant Grove rush all evening but still completed 21-of-37 passes for 219 yards with a startling 13 catches for 170 yards by his younger brother Max Mcada. The sleight-of-hand quarterback also led both teams in rushing with 111 yards on 15 carries – a nifty 330 yards of total offense.

But that wasn’t quite enough to overcome a relentless PGHS offense, which helped the winners build a 28-7 halftime bulge, and two big-play defensive turnovers.

A 72-yard fumble return in the second quarter by Landon Jackson and a 58-yard pick-six interception by Antonio Watkins (who missed most of the early part of the season) were major difference makers as the SHS Raiders played from behind throughout the contest.

“We had a chance to go in at halftime leading 35-7,” Gibson related, “but we still had played good defense. In the second half it was hard to get Sunnyvale’s offense off the field, but we played tough when it was needed.

The winners used a 1-2 rushing punch of Bruce Garrett (101 yards) and K.J. Hicks (61 yards) to maintain ball control at critical times, and Pleasant Grove struck twice (the first time with Watkins’ TD return) to stretch its lead after Sunnyvale narrowed the gap to 35-21 with 2:43 left in the third quarter.

Pleasant Grove (now 12-1 overall) moves on to meet traditional East Texas powerhouse Gilmer at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in football-famed Longview while Sunnyvale closes one of its top seasonal efforts in school history at 12-1.

So Sunnyvale (where the sun almost always shines) and Pleasant Grove (where East Texas foliage blooms to please) can resume their pleasantries after a tooth-and-nail tussle on the high school gridiron.


-pick up agate-

Stats from Sunnyvale-Texarkana Pleasant Grove HS Football – Nov. 29, 2019

(Contact: Bo Carter 214-418-6132,




Texarkana Pleasant Grove 21 7 14 7  – 49

Sunnyvale 7 0 14 7 – 28


1st quarter:

PG – Sergio Rodriguez 30 pass from Ben Harmon (Anthony Mejia kick)

PG – K.J. Hicks 25 run (Mejia kick)

PG – Ben Harmon 1 run (Mejia kick)

SUN – Devin Sterling 4 run (Jake Messina kick)


2nd quarter:

PG – Landon Jackson 72 fumble return (Mejia kick)


3rd quarter:

SUN – Tripp Mcada 7 run (Messina kick)

PG – K.J. Hicks 6 run (Mejia kick)

SUN – Devin Sterling 1 run (Messina kick)

PG – Antonio Watkins 58 interception return (Messina kick)


4th quarter:

PG – Marcus Burris 19 pass from Ben Harmon (Mejia kick)

SUN – Tripp Mcada 29 run (Messina kick)

First Downs   14  19
Rushing Yards 39-178 31-152


Passing Yards 131 219
Passing   7-13-0  21-37-1


Punts-Avg  2-41.5+  5-33.6


Penalties  7-55  5-36

Fumbles-Lost  3-2  2-2



Rushing – PG – Bruce Garrett 14-101; K.J. Hicks 11-61; Logan Johnson 3-9; Nick Martin 3-9; Team 2-0; Ben Harmon 6-(-2). SUN – Tripp Mcada 15-111; Emmanuel Arinze 6-22; Alex Luna 5-9; Devin Sterling 3-5; Max Mcada 1-5; Noah McDill 1-(-1).


Passing – PG – Ben Harmon 7-13-0-131. SUN – Ronnie Mcada 21-37-1-219.


Receiving – PG – Logan Johnson 2-34; Sergio Rodriguez 1-30; Bruce Garrett 1-25; Marcus Burris 1-19; Dylan Hopkins 1-18; K.J. Hicks 1-5. SUN – Max Mcada 13-170; Ashton Wright 1-21; Noah McDill 2-16; Alex Luna 1-7; Will Van Vessem 4-5.



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