TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Pleasant Grove quarterback Ahkhari Johnson passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the Hawks 63-28 win over Gilmer on Friday night.

“He’s just a great example of you reap what you sow,” said Pleasant Grove head coach Josh Gibson. “He puts a lot in, in a lot of different areas, and he gets a big payoff.” 

Once again the Hawks are off to a fast start. Over their last four games the Hawks offense is averaging 54 points per game and it all starts with Johnson.

“He leads by example, high integrity, high character kid with a strong work ethic and so now he can rally kids,” said Gibson. “He’s extremely humble so I think kids want to follow someone like that.”

Johnson was quick to give credit to the other guys on the offense and also said coach Gibson is easy to play for.

“(He’s a) down to earth guy, he’ll do anything for you. He loves this team and loves this place like no other,” said Johnson. “I’m sure he wouldn’t want to be nowhere else, that should really say it all, his love for everybody, it means everything.”

Johnson is committed to play for Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks. He feels like coach Gibson and the Hawks’ staff have given him the tools to succeed on the next level. 

“As long as you put it in your mind that you can do it, that’s what coach Gibson has done for me,” said Johnson. “He gave me the confidence and the work ethic I need to be able to go play at a place like that.”

Coach Gibson feels like Johnson is one of the best and most athletic football players he’s ever coached and it’s a bonus he plays the most important position on the field.

“There’s a lot of other good football players on this team,” said Gibson. “Just like in the NFL and college, when you got that guy at quarterback, he’s one of the most special ones you’re going to have a really good team.”

Johnson is now eligible for the Marketplace Chevy Athlete of the Year Award, which comes with a $2,500 scholarship. The Athlete of the Year Banquet will take place in May 2024.