By Bill Owney
In a game neither side was willing to lose, Gilmer edged Pleasant Grove, 33-30, in junior varsity action Thursday at Hawk Stadium.
Five times, the Buckeyes’ powerful offense drove for touchdowns, and five times PG found a way to answer. The game ended with the Hawks in Gilmer territory, desperately trying to hit one more big play.
“We fought to the end,” said coach Wacey Forga. “They never quit playing.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Gilmer scored on the first play of the second. Nick Martin gathered in the ensuing kickoff, slashed through a hole and sprinted down the right sideline to make it a 7-6 contest.
It was 14-6 when Antonio Watkins took a jet sweep around the right side to make it 14-12. Gilmer stopped the two-point try, and that would prove decisive, despite a pair of blocked PAT kicks by the Hawks’ Shane Nelson
The Buckeyes drove the length of the field and were in the position to open their lead when Javen Daniels wrestled the ball away from the receiver in the end zone to kill the drive with 36 seconds left in the half.
The Buckeyes scored again on the first possession of the second half, but Nelson’s blocked kick held their lead to 20-12.
Pleasant Grove answered with a drive capped by a 36-yard TD pass from Dylan Hopkins to Graycon Taylor. The game marked the first action of the season for Hopkins, injured in a preseason scrimmage with Carthage.
“Coming back from an injury like that, to be out that long, our quarterback did a fine job,” coach Forca said. “He threw some nice passes.”
Thanks in part to a 27-yard scoring run on a counter play by Watkins, the Hawks closed it to 33-30 in the final minute. The defense held and gave the ball back to the offense with 11 seconds to play, but time ran out on the young Hawks.
Gilmer 0 14 13 6 – 33
PG 0 12 6 12 – 30