Cox a star at whatever he does

Senior wideout Carson Cox and sophomore quarterback Ben Harmon celebrate in the final moments of a state championship win. Photo by Kevin Cook

Carson Cox was the leading receiver on Pleasant Grove’s 16-0 state championship team, amassing 842 yards and school-record 13 touchdowns on just 31 receptions.

Carson Cox

A pair of first-quarter TD receptions, of 90 and 60 yards, floored Gladewater early to give PG a district championship and its first undefeated regular season. A 30-yard TD reception, in which he outwrestled the defender for the ball, helped bury Aubrey in the area round. A 19-yard, first-quarter TD reception against Celina in the regional semifinal put the Hawks ahead to stay.

He tied a school record with a 31-yard TD against Melissa to help put the Hawks in the final four. In the state semifinal, he and quarterback Ben Harmon caught Graham in a blitz and connected for a 47-yard score.

In the championship game he got the Hawks a critical first down. On the next play, Harmon found T.J Cole running free at the 23. The big back sprinted to the pylon for the score to put Pleasant Grove up 14-6.

So what’s next for the all-state quality wideout? Baseball, at Wichita State.

Wait. What?

As it turns out, baseball is his first love and Cox is even faster patrolling centerfield without helmet and pads. Plus, he is a one-man offensive machine.

As a junior he hit .333, had a .444 on-base percentage, smacked 10 doubles, had a triple, knocked in 30 runs, scored 30, and stole 11 bases, which is a whole lot for a high school player.

“Carson is the type of player that loves to compete,” said Pleasant Grove baseball coach Riley Fincher. “He loves everything about the game of baseball.”

Cox, who plans to be a physical therapist, is an acknowledged gym rat.

“From the weight room, to practice, to the game, Carson is the guy that you want on your side because of the way he approaches every day,” Fincher said. “He is also one of the most humble people that you will ever be around. He leads by example and has been that way since the first day he stepped on campus.

The son of Billy and Lisa Cox, he started high school best known as the brother of Lisa, who went to Arkansas after winning state in the triple jump. Now there are two gold medals to hang in the family trophy case.

“I’m just excited to see what my future holds,” Cox said. “If I don’t get drafted into professional baseball, at least I’ll get a great education. It’s great to get my parents off the hook for paying for college.”

Pleasant Grove football coach and athletic director Josh Gibson will miss Cox, who came off the bench his sophomore year to quarterback the Hawks to the playoffs.

“Carson Cox has been one of the best leaders on this team for four years,” Gibson said. “He’s a freakish athlete that could play Division 1 baseball or football, and it is uncommon for many to get a chance at just one.

“The thing I love most about Carson is his temperament.  He’s a winner who everyone on this team enjoys being around.  He makes everyone better, coaches and players.”

Fincher said he expects Cox to be a key member of the Shocker baseball squad.

“Wichita State is getting a special talent,” he said. “His size, strength and speed, along with his talent and tireless work ethic will help him compete at the highest level next season at Wichita State.”

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A veteran journalist and educator, Bill Owney is a 1980 graduate of the University of Florida. Writing awards include APME honors for investigative reporting, the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Award for public service reporting and numerous awards for editorial, column and news writing. He served as publisher of the Atlanta Citizens Journal and Pittsburg Gazette when each paper won sweepstakes awards from the Texas Press and North and East Texas Press Associations. He spent 15 years as a public school teacher and is an adjunct professor of English at Texarkana College.


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