Full tilt was in full effect for the Pleasant Grove Hawks.
Behind dominating performances on both sides of the ball, Pleasant Grove is heading to its third-straight trip to the state semifinals with a 55-21 win over Gilmer on Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
With the win, Pleasant Grove (13-1) claims the Class 4A, Division II, Region II championship and heads to the state’s final four to take on Greenwood, which moved to 14-0 on the season with a 36-33 win over Iowa Park.
Gilmer, in the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2016, concludes its season at 10-4.
Pleasant Grove got a number of two-way performances throughout the night and used its efficient and misdirecting ground game with its dominant defense from the start.
The Hawks scored with 46 seconds left in the second quarter, a touchdown that sparked 28 unanswered points for Pleasant Grove, which runs it win streak to four games over the Buckeyes including wins in district action and the postseason the past two seasons.
After a 0-0 first quarter, the two teams combined for 42 points in the second quarter.
Pleasant Grove finished with 461 yards on 58 carries and added 68 through the air. In the first quarter, the Hawks ran 24 plays to three from Gilmer, a margin that jumped to 45-17 in favor of PG at halftime. The Hawks had a 19:08 to 4:52 advantage in time of possession in the first half.
KJ Hicks led the charge on the ground, finishing with 177 rushing yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns on top of a strong night at safety.
Nick Martin had an interception, a few bone-crushing hits and added 68 rushing yards with a touchdown. Bruce Garrett also hit triple digits with 120 yards on 20 carries, including a three-yard score.
Junior standout Landon Jackson, on top of terrorizing the Buckeye offense along with Marcus Burris, hauled in a five-yard touchdown catch from his tight end role from quarterback Ben Harmon.
To cap the two-way night, Sergio Rodriguez picked off two passes, returning one 45 yards to the house, and had three catches for 50 yards from Harmon, including a 25-yard score.
Gilmer finished with 305 yards of total offense — 194 coming in the second half — with 148 on the ground and 157 through the air. The Buckeyes finished 1-of-10 on third-down conversions and 2-of-4 on fourth down attempts.
Darrell Bush turned in a spirited night for the Buckeyes with several second-effort runs. The senior finished with 119 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns and hauled in two passes for 36 yards.
Sophomore Brandon Tennison, making his second-straight start in place of junior Mason Hurt, finished with 157 passing yards, with 63 going to Eddie Ray and a 31-yard touchdown pass to Marshae Spraglin.
The Buckeyes got an interception from Jaydon Griffin and a fumble recovery from Brycen Jimmerson.
Griffin’s pick on the Hawks’ first possession came up empty on the scoreboard after the PG defense forced a three-and-out.
Pleasant Grove then went on the march, going 99 yards on 16 plays on a scoring drive that chewed up 7:03 off the clock. Harmon hit Jackson on fourth down to put Pleasant Grove on the board on the first snap of the second quarter.
On Gilmer’s second snap of the frame, Bush went 63 yards straight up the gut.
Hicks scored on a five-yard run in response and Rodriguez housed the third snap of Gilmer’s next possession for a 21-7 PG lead.
Pleasant Grove’s second and final turnover led to points for the Buckyes with Bush taking it in 16 yards for a 21-14 ballgame.
Martin notched his first score with 46 seconds left in halftime to put Pleasant Grove up 28-14.
After Gilmer fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, both sides of the ball went into a frenzy for the Hawks to pull away with a 20-0 scoreline in the third quarter.