ARLINGTON, Texas – It was somewhat amusing to hear someone from Cuero say the Gobblers would have shut out Pleasant Grove if not for junior running back Bruce Garrett.
The Hawks could counter they’d be 4A Division II state champions again if senior Jordan Whittington hadn’t scored six touchdowns and rushed for 334 yards in Friday’s 40-28 win over Pleasant Grove at AT&T Stadium.
Whittington was better than advertised, taking home both the Offensive MVP Award and the Defensive MVP honor. In addition to running all over the Hawks’ decorated defense, he caught three passes for 43 yards. Whittington led both teams with 11 tackles to win the defensive award.
”Jordan’s performance on a stage at this level was truly outstanding,” said Cuero coach Travis Reeve. “It’s even more special coming against a class program like Pleasant Grove. Coach (Josh) Gibson told me after the game that nobody had shut them down offensively in the second half like we did today.”
Gibson echoed those words at his postgame interview.
Cuero star best PG coach has faced
”No. 3 (Jordan Whittington) is without a doubt the best player I’ve coached against,” said Gibson. “It wasn’t just Whittington either. Their offensive line created some gaps, and nobody’s defense has shut us down like Cuero did in the final half.”
Pleasant Grove (13-3) piled up 271 yards in the first half, while building a 21-7 lead. It ended up being 21-20 at halftime as the Cobblers scored twice in the final 3:03.
Whittington, who is committed to the University of Texas, scored on a 54-yard run at the 3:03 mark, and again on a 26-yard reception with no time on the clock. The latter score was delayed when instant-replay showed the ball moving when he hit the ground. The officials added two seconds to the clock, and Whittington hauled in a scoring pass on the same play.
”That momentum probably carried over to the second half, but you’ve got to give Coach Reeve and his staff credit for the adjustments they made,” said Gibson. “We didn’t lose this game, Cuero won it. We had a great season. This was a young team, and they accomplished more than some folks expected. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
PG’s Garrett was an MVP candidate
If not for Whittington’s incredible performance, PG’s Garrett might have taken home MVP honors. The Hawks’ speedy back scored all three of his touchdowns, and rushed for 191 yards in the first half. He was held to a minus 5 yards in the third quarter, finishing the game with 208. Garrett is the first back in Pleasant Grove history to surpass the 2,000 mark with 2,004 yards.
Pleasant Grove had only 86 yards in the second half, 64 coming on the Hawks’ final scoring drive. Quarterback Ben Harmon plunged over on first-and-goal from the 1 with 4:37 left in the game.
The Gobblers recovered the ensuing onside kick. Five straight carries by Whittington resulted in a 20-yard TD with 1:40 remaining.
Whittington’s touchdown runs were 69, 54, 1, 12 and 20. Cuero literally beat the Hawks at their own game by controlling the ball the final two quarters. The Gobblers ran 64 plays to PG’s 49. The Hawks only had one possession in the third quarter, which netted minus five yards.
Senior linebacker Braden Reaves finished his schoolboy career with 10 tackles. Tyler Kelley, Jamie Lewis and Ryan Pickelman had seven tackles each.
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