110918- SHHS vs PHS

Action and scenes from the Spring HIll Panthers vs the Pittsburg Pirates football game on Friday, November 9, 2018 at Pirate Stadium in Pittsburg. (Courtney Case/News-Journal Photo)

PITTSBURG (10-3) VS. PLEASANT GROVE (11-2)

What: Class 4A DII Region II Regional Finals

Time: Tonight, 8 :30 p.m.

Stadium: Ford Center at The Star, Frisco

Last week: Pittsburg 34, Lorena 28; Pleasant Grove 56, Gilmer 28

Who’s next: Winner of tonight’s game faces the winner of Glen Rose vs Iowa Park in the Class 4A DII state semifinals.

Coaches

Pittsburg: Brad Baca (4th year, 31-15)

Pleasant Grove: Josh Gibson (5th year, 45-19)

WHEN PITTSBURG HAS THE BALL

Pittsburg: QB Jaylon Jimmerson, Sr., 6-0, 190 (186 of 300 passing, 62%, 2,371 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INT; 155 carries, 1,197 yards, 7.7 avg., 21 TDs) … RB Desmond Allen, Sr., 5-10, 210 (214 carries, 1,095 yards, 5.1 avg., 14 TDs) … WR Promous Morrison, Jr., 5-9, 176 (32 receptions, 343 yards, 26.4 avg., 4 TDs) … WR Ty Jordan, Sr., 6-0, 165 (15 receptions, 171 yards, 13.2 avg., 3 TDs) … WR Keithlen Griffin, Sr., 5-11, 175 (70 receptions, 1,073 yards, 15.3 avg., 10 TDs) … WR Keontae Burns, Sr., 6-3, 175 (53 receptions, 622 yards, 11.7 avg., 4 TDs)

Pleasant Grove: ILB Bladen Reaves, Sr., 6-0, 195 (112 tackles, 10 TFL, 6 QBP, 6 sacks) … FS Tyler Kelly (80 tackles, 5 INT) … MLB Nick Martin, Soph., 6-0, 175 (105 tackles, 10 QBP, 6.5 sacks) … DE Landon Jackson, Soph., 6-5, 222 (56 tackles, 15 TFL, 29 QBP, 6 sacks) … DE Marcus Burris, Soph., 6-5, 253 (62 tackles, 12 TFL, 19 QBP, 5 sacks)

Keys: Finding a way to contain Pittsburg’s Mr. Everything, Jaylon Jimmerson, will be the charge of the Pleasant Grove defense. Jimmerson is one of the most talented athletes in East Texas, if not the entire state. He’s the straw that stirs Coach Brad Baca’s offensive attack. Lethal on the edge and sound in the pocket, the Hawks must contain the elusive Jimmerson. Pleasant Grove is not without its studs on defense and can bring the heat as witnessed by 28.5 quarterback sacks thus far. Jimmerson has accounted for 3,568 yards in total offense and 42 TDs. Backfield mate Demond Allen joined Jimmerson in the 1,000-yard club last week against Lorena. Allen is a good ‘off’ for the Pirates when the focus centers on Jimmerson. PG really can bring it from the edge with sophomore defensive ends Landon Jackson and Marcus Burris. The duo has tallied 11 sacks combined and 48 pressures. If the Hawks slow the run game, Jimmerson will look to Keithlen Griffin, who has over grand receiving with 10 TDs. And you can never overlook ultra-talented Keontae Burns, who usually sees considerable rolled double coverage. Burns still has over 600 yards on 53 grabs.

WHEN PLEASANT GROVE HAS THE BALL

Pleasant Grove: QB Ben Harmon, Jr., 6-1, 185 (77 of 138 passing, 56%, 26 TDs, 2 INT; 81 carries, 340 yards, 4.2 avg., 9 TDs) … RB Bruce Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 187 (201 carries, 1,470 yards, 7.31 avg., 14 TDs) … RB James Wiggins, Sr., (171 carries, 1,123 yards, 6.57 avg., 10 TDs) … WR Jackson Cobb, Jr., 5-11, 160 (20 receptions, 401 yards, 20.1 avg., 5 TDs) … WR Kameron Woods, Sr., 6-3, 170 (10 receptions, 190 yards, 19.0 avg., 2 TDs) … WR Brett Walker, Sr., 6-0, 155 (17 receptions, 384 yards, 22.6 avg, 8 TDs)

Pittsburg: LB Mason Monts, Sr., 5-10, 175 (130 tackles, 13 TFL) … DB Jaylon Jimmerson, Sr., 6-0, 190 (87 tackles, 6 INT) … MLB Camryn Edney, Sr., 6-0, 208 (150 tackles, 27 TFL) … DE Kaderrion Bell, Sr., (75 tackles, 8 TFL, 5 sacks) … LB Antwon Robertson, Sr., 6-0, 200 (59 tackles, 13 TFL, 7 sacks) … LB Thailan Williams, Jr., 5-10, 185 (50 tackles, 5 TFL, 5 sacks)

Keys: The 8th ranked Hawks aren’t fancy, but they are efficient. Lining up in a Slot-T formation, PG uses speed, counters and misdirection to bewilder defenses. It worked to the tune of a state championship last year and has barely missed a beat this season. Pittsburg must stay disciplined in every way, or pay the price for unintended mistakes. Ben Harmon handles the controls at quarterback and has a pair of 1,000-yarders to work with in Bruce Garrett and James Wiggins. PG runs the ball on average 81 percent of the time. Maintaining lane integrity and fitting gaps will make or break the Pitt defense. The Hawks average 6.27 yards per rush, with Garrett’s 7.31 leading the way. Pitt has a trio of solid pass rushers with multiple sacks in Kaderrion Bell, Antwon Robertson and Thailan Williams. Problem is PG doesn’t go to the air a lot. But when Harmon does throw, it usually ends up in the school song being played. Going up top about 11 times per game, Harmon has 1,717 yards and 26 TDs. Jackson Cobb is top pass catcher for the Hawks with 402 yards on 20 receptions and 5 TDs.

Did you know: Tonight is a rematch of a Oct. 12 contest in which Pleasant Grove prevailed, 45-20. Since that evening eight weeks ago, Pittsburg has ran off six wins in a row. Pleasant Grove, meanwhile, is on a seven-game run of its own.

The late kick (8:30 p.m.) tonight is due to the Glen Rose and Iowa Park game immediately before. It’ll give both Pittsburg and Pleasant Grove a unique opportunity to see who they may play next week in the state semifinals.

GEORGE WHITLEY