TEXARKANA — In a game between two quality teams, it’s often just a matter of who blinks first.
Friday night at Hawk Stadium, it was the hometown Hawks that made the key mistake.
A chop block late in the third quarter did something the Carthage Bulldogs were having a hard time doing — stopping the Pleasant Grove offense.
But once the No. 2 Bulldogs got the stop, they scored 21 unanswered points to take a 35-14 in a battle of two of Class 4A’s best in front of a homecoming crowd of close to 7,000.
The Bulldogs remained undefeated and improve to 5-0 as they get ready for next week’s district opener at Van. The Hawks, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A Division II, fall to 5-1.
Carthage ended up forcing a punt after the 15-yard penalty, but the Pleasant Grove punt had the backed up on their own 9.
They responded with a 13-play drive that lulled the Hawks to sleep. Kai Horton hooked up with Kel Williams on a 42-yard touchdown pass and the Bulldogs had their first lead of the game with 11:21 left.
The defense came up with another stop and took over at their own 38 midway through the fourth.
The Bulldogs pounded their way to a 5-yard Rayvon Ingram touchdown to increase the lead to 28-14 with 3:34 left.
The Hawks would fumble the kickoff and the Bulldogs recovered at the 38-yard line.
Two Jaden Thomas runs made the score 35-14 as he went over from the 3.
Carthage finished with 365 yards of total offense — 151 on the ground and 214 in the air.
They also got a touchdown from a usual combination — Horton and Kelvontay Dixon. But this time it Dixon that did the passing and Horton ran the ball in for a 12-yard touchdown.
Dixon also opened the scoring on a 36-yard pass from Horton.