The Paris Wildcats entered Friday night’s matchup against Pleasant Grove with plenty of confidence and a 2-0 record while the Hawks were licking their wounds after a 52-41 home loss to Argyle. The Wildcats have continually closed the gap on the Hawks, but could not inch closer in this matchup. Pleasant Grove stonewalled Paris with its massive defensive line and forced the issue on the offensive line in a 35-7 win at Wildcat Stadium.
The Hawks D-line featured the likes of LSU commit Landon Jackson and his fellow high-profile teammates consistently generating a big push up front. The defensive line generated heavy pressure in the backfield and did not allow too many running lanes for Paris’ talented backs to burst through. The Hawk defense held Paris under 40 yards of offense in the game and PG got off to a quick start on offense.
Hawks running back Logan Johnson opened up scoring in the game with an 18-yard touchdown run up the middle with 3:42 left in the opening quarter. The successful point after attempt gave Pleasant Grove an early 7-0 lead and took the first 8:18 off the clock.
Pleasant Grove added another short rushing touchdown and PAT with 8:45 left in the second quarter, then tacked on seven more points following a 25-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Jackson. The scoring toss came on a 2nd and 23 play with 1:30 remaining before halftime, and the 21-0 score held up as the halftime count after Paris running back Jermaine Williams skillfully prevented another Pleasant Grove score late with an interception that he caught and returned to the Paris 35.
Division I recruit and star running back Nickolas Martin tacked on another score for his team when he found paydirt from eight yards out with 5:01 to go in the third.
Paris was able to get on the board with 2:14 left in the quarter when signal-caller Luke Hohenberger threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Gi’Taeus Young. Hohenberger rolled to his right, eluded a defender hot on his trail, and threw the strike to the front-right corner of the end zone to a diving Young, who followed his quarterback through the end zone as Hohenberger was scrambling. The touchdown and successful point after attempt trimmed Pleasant Grove’s lead to 28-7.
Paris seemed to be building momentum after recovering a PG fumble at their own 37 yard line on the Hawks’ ensuing drive, but Pleasant Grove again stymied the Wildcat offense and added an insurance touchdown in the fourth quarter to walk away with the 35-7 victory.
Paris senior linebackers Lain Atwood and Jalen Gray anchored the Wildcats’ defensive effort, finishing with 18 and 9 tackles, respectively. Head coach Steven Hohenberger was unavailable for comment after the game.
The Wildcats (2-1) aim to bounce back at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Midlothian Heritage.