A combination of too many mistakes and lots of talent was too much for the Guntersville Wildcats to overcome as they fell to Pleasant Grove 42-21 Friday.
The Spartans traveled to Guntersville for a second round Class 5A playoff game with a 9-2 record and ranked No. 3 in Class 5A. The Wildcats were 10-0 and ranked No. 5, but the undefeated season came to an end as Pleasant Grove will move on and face Alexandria in the quarter finals next week.
To begin the game, the Spartans marched right down the field and scored in just three minutes. Guntersville would put together a drive of its own and marched the ball all the way to the Pleasant Grove one-yard line. However, a Logan Pate fumble gave the Spartans the ball back near their own goal line. In just nine plays, the Spartans scored again. A missed extra point put the score at 13-0.
Guntersville seemed to have every reason to start thinking the game was getting away, but the Wildcats stayed the course. Guntersville scored two unanswered touchdowns to take the lead 14-13 near the half. Pleasant Grove would score once more going into halftime, convert the two-point conversion and went into the locker room with a 21-14 lead.
The first drive of the second half seemed crucial for the Wildcats. Yes, the Wildcats only trailed by a touchdown but it was clear that lots of points were going to be needed to win. Guntersville drove the ball close to the red zone but turned the ball over on downs. The Spartans offense scored just seven plays later.
A couple Guntersville turnovers allowed Pleasant Grove to extend its lead to a comfortable margin. Cole McCarty completed 22 of 33 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Pate ran for 100 yards on 20 carries, Jack Harris had 74 yards receiving and a touchdown and Cooper Davidson also had a receiving touchdown.
For the Spartans, quarterback Zyquez Perryman threw for 192 yards, one touchdown and had a rushing touchdown. Pleasant Grove rushed for a total of 284 yards for a total of 476 yards. One stat line the Spartans won’t like following the Guntersville game is the penalties. Pleasant Grove was flagged 19 times for 195 yards.
Pleasant Grove will now travel to Alexandria to take on the Valley Cubs in a quarterfinal matchup. Alexandria beat Parker last week 32-21.
After the game, Guntersville head coach Lace Reese spoke about the 2020 team and specifically the 10 seniors.
“You can’t say enough about these seniors and what all they’ve accomplished this year,” he said. “They have done an excellent job of leading all year long. We’ve had more seniors before, but I don’t know if we’ve ever had a group better than this one. They’ve had a great career and I’m proud of the way they fought against Pleasant Grove. I’m really proud of the whole team’s effort. Pleasant Grove is a very talented team and we wish them the best of luck the rest of the way.”