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Football: Texarkana Pleasant Grove remains unbeaten, cruises by Aubrey

FRISCO — Aubrey knew it had its hands full entering Friday afternoon's game against Texarkana Pleasant Grove.

The Eagles (12-0) came in unbeaten on the year and had played in only three games decided by fewer than 14 points.

Even so, the Chaparrals (8-4) got off to a picture-perfect start by marching 89 yards in 7:33 to open the game. Things derailed from there, though, as Pleasant Grove scored on all eight of its possessions en route to a 56-28 win in a Class 4A Division II area-round playoff game.

"I was proud of our efforts obviously," Aubrey coach Keith Ivy said. "They need to hold their heads high in the way they attacked it and got after it. Anytime you lose and your season is over, it's tough to stomach — but at the same time, I'm proud of them."

Aubrey took its time on the opening possession, following its game plan by chewing up as much clock as possible. Spencer Neumann put the finishing touches on the 16-play drive by carrying the ball into the end zone from two yards out on a fourth-and-goal for the Chaparrals.

Neumann finished with a team-high 129 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.

"We had it in our mind that we could beat them," Neumann said. "That first drive kind of showed that confidence. I was glad I was able to get in the end zone in my last game."

But things quickly went south for Aubrey.

Pleasant Grove's speed on both sides of the ball gave the team a clear advantage over the Chaparrals and enabled it to blow the game open in a hurry. The Hawks scored 28 in a row in the first half to take a 28-7 lead at the break.

By loading the box and going with a man-to-man look defensively, Pleasant Grove forced Aubrey to try to move the ball through the air while letting its talented defense make plays.

Caleb Porchia and Texas Tech commit Xavier Benson made life hard on Swarbrick after two early completions and as the Chaparrals had 11 consecutive incomplete passes at one point in the game.

"They were in man coverage with us, and we were having trouble getting open at times," Ivy said. "We missed a few throws and missed a few catches."

Pleasant Grove put speedy running back Chauncey Martin to work early before turning to quarterback Ben Harmon in the red zone. Martin rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries while Harmon completed all seven of his passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns.

"Melissa was fast, but this was the fastest team we've played overall," Ivy said. "They have a chance to make a deep, deep run."

The Hawks advance to take on Celina in a regional semifinal matchup next week while Aubrey exits the playoffs in the second round for the third straight year.

It was a disappointing end to the year for the Chaparrals, but the team showed a lot of perseverance after losing Division 1 commits Gatlin Grisso (Washington State) and Jordan Redfearn (North Texas) to knee injuries early in the season.

"The senior group has been special for us," Ivy said. "They've won more football games the last three years (23) than anybody in Aubrey's history. They had to fight through a lot of adversity this year, and they never let that get them down. Very proud of them."

Texarkana Pleas. Grove 56, Aubrey 28

Aubrey 7 0 7 14 -- 28
Tex. Pleas. Grove 14 14 14 14 -- 56


AU -- Spencer Neumann 2 run (Landon Stewart kick)

TP -- Carson Cox 11 pass from Ben Harmon (Dillon Williams kick)

TP -- Chauncey Martin 65 run (Dillon Williams kick)

TP -- Chauncey Martin 25 run (Dillon Williams kick)

TP -- Carson Cox 30 pass from Ben Harmon (Dillon Williams kick)

TP -- Bruce Garrett 34 run (Dillon Williams kick)

AU -- Spencer Neumann 4 run (Landon Stewart kick)

TP -- TJ Cole 72 run (Dillon Williams kick)

TP -- Luke Harmon 23 pass from Ben Harmon (Dillon Williams kick)

AU -- Pablo Vera 8 run (Landon Stewart kick)

TP -- Luke Harmon 2 run (Dillon Williams kick)

AU -- Sheldon Wingert 3 run (Landon Stewart kick)

Team Stats AU TP
First Downs 26 19
Rushing Yards 68-379 20-358
Passing Yards 44 155
Passing 3-16-1 7-7-0
Punts-Avg 2-41.00 0-0.00
Penalties 3-15 4-25
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-


INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing -- AU: Spencer Neumann 18-129, Pablo Vera 18-97, Sheldon Wingert 12-57, Brody Bounds 9-50, Will Dow 6-26, Taylor Swarbrick 3-13, Amos Perkins 2-7, TP: Chauncey Martin 7-157, TJ Cole 5-101, Bruce Garrett 3-78, Josh Roberts 3-26, Luke Harmon 1-2, Ben Harmon 1--6.

Passing -- AU: Taylor Swarbrick 3-16-1-44, TP: Ben Harmon 7-7-0-155.

Receiving -- AU: Will Dow 2-33, Grayson Larson 1-11, TP: Carson Cox 2-41, TJ Cole 1-38, Xavier Benson 2-35, Luke Harmon 1-23, Austin Toler 1-18.