In an up-and-down the field offensive shootout that saw Aledo and Mansfield Legacy combine for 100 points and almost 1,000 total yards, the Bearcats outlasted the Broncos, 59-41, Friday night in a non-district shootout at Newsom Stadium.
Although the Bearcats led from start to finish – taking a quick 14-0 lead after their first two drives – Legacy and quarterback Kendall Catalon kept the Broncos in the game.
But each time the Broncos’ talented senior signal caller led his team into the end zone to cut the margin, Bearcats’ quarterback Dillon Davis and his offense would respond to match the score and keep Legacy at arms’ length.
Twice in the second half Catalon led TD drives to cut the AHS lead to 11 points, but after each Broncos score the ‘Cats responded with touchdown drives of 65 and 75 yards.
The Bearcats finished with 531 total yards, with Legacy racking up 421 total yards.
Returning to the grid iron for the first time this season was junior running back Donnie Evans, who led the Bearcats with 124 yards on 20 carries which included four touchdowns.
Freshman Jase McClellan added 100 yards on 16 totes, and Davis completed 10 of 14 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Preston Jefferis led all receivers with six catches for 150 yards and two scores.
With a “slim” 38-27 lead at the half, Davis directed perhaps the biggest drive of the game to begin the third quarter. Three running plays brought the ball to the Legacy 31 where the ‘Cats faced a first and 10.
Davis found Jefferis wide open down the middle of the field, and the senior gun slinger whipped a perfect spiral to Jefferis in stride for the TD.
“The safety rolled over to the other side and I knew I would be open,” Jefferis said. “Dillon just hit me with a perfect pass.”
Quinn Davis booted the extra point, and with 10:33 left in the third quarter Aledo increased its lead to 45-27.
Catalon followed with a 13-play, 78-yard drive that was capped by an impressive improvisation by Catalon, who scrambled out of the pocket to elude pressure and turned on the jets down the right sideline as he sprinted to the end zone with 4:21 left in the third.
Jacob Rowland added the PAT kick to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 45-34.
Not to be outdone, Davis led his team on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended on an eight-yard cutback touchdown run by Evans. The Bearcats converted three first downs on the drive, the first on a 10-yard run by Evans, the second on a Davis-to-Jefferis completion of 36 yards, and another on a nine-yard run by Evans.
The drive was concluded on an eight-yard run by Evans, who cut to his right to avoid a tackle and then sprinted across the goal line with 1:40 remaining in the third period.
Quinn Davis added the PAT to increase the AHS advantage to 52-34.
Legacy and Catalon responded 11-play, 75-yard drive, with Catalon and running back Kameron Session combining for all of the yardage. Session finished with 86 yards. The Broncos crossed the goal line on another spectacular scramble by Catalon, who twisted out of a tackle, and when he met resistance at the Aledo one-yard line, he leaped into the pile and fell over the goal line for a touchdown.
With 9:24 left in the fourth quarter, Rowland was true on the PAT to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 52-41.
Both teams went over on downs on their following possession.
With 2:33 left to play, Aledo had the ball first and 10 at the Legacy 15 after Catalon was sacked for a 21-yard loss on fourth down on a combination tackle by defensive tackle Wes Harris and defensive end Michael Arlt.
Two plays later, Evans produced his fourth TD of the game on a six-yard run. Quinn Davis added the extra point, and with 1:57 left to play Aledo held a comfortable 59-41 lead.
Legacy’s final drive ended when linebacker Rhett Harris intercepted a pass from new quarterback Daniel Manning.
“I am awfully proud of our offense and its ability to move the football,” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “Dillon is throwing well, and Preston and Donnie had big games along with our offensive line, which really makes the offense go.
“But we have a lot of work to do on defense concerning blown assignments. We also have to tackle better. But we did what we needed to do to win the game, and we will get ready for district play (two weeks from today).”
It was a wild first half that saw the teams combine for 65 points, including a five-touchdown first quarter.
The Bearcats found the end zone on its first three possessions.
Dillon Davis fired a four-yard touchdown pass to Logan Bridges, who caught the ball on a hook pattern, broke a tackle at the 10 and waltzed into the end zone just three minutes into the contest. The TD catch capped a five-play, 52-yard drive.
Quinn Davis booted the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.
Aledo went ahead 14-0 – getting the ball at the Legacy 26 after defensive tackle James Williams recovered a fumble – when Davis directed a short drive that ended on a touchdown pass to Hunter Rosson from 15 yards out. On the play, Davis bought time by scrambling to his left, and he fired to the back of the end to a wide-open Rosson. Quinn Davis added the PAT.
Legacy cut the lead in half on the ensuing possession. Session squirted from out of a pile and sprinted 40 yards to the end zone. With 6:07 left in the first quarter, Jacob Rowland booted the extra point to cut the lead to 14-7.
On the Bearcats’ third drive of the game, Evans carried five times for 38 yards, his fifth tote taking the ball down to the Legacy 16.
Davis followed with an 11-yard keeper, and Evans closed the drive on a five-yard touchdown run as senior tackle Chuck Filiaga cleared the way by taking out two Broncos’ defenders. Quinn Davis added the PAT, and with 2:23 left in the opening period the Bearcats stretched their lead to 21-7.
But resilient Legacy came back with a 75-yard, five-play TD drive that ended on a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kendall Catalon to receiver Troy Edwards with 58 seconds left in the first quarter. The PAT kick was wide as Legacy cut the Aledo lead to 21-13.
The Bearcats had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Quinn Davis on their first drive of the second quarter to increase the lead to 24-13.
On its next drive, Legacy cut the lead to 31-20 when Catalon twisted out of trouble from his disintegrating passing pocket, sprinted toward the middle, broke two tackles and leaped over another would-be tackler and across the goal line for a spectacular score.
Rowland added the extra point to shave the Bearcats’ lead to 31-20.
The Bearcats took little time to get the score back. On first down, Davis completed a seven-yard pass to Jefferis, and he ended the drive the same way – a 52-yard bomb to a streaking Jefferis, who easily beat single coverage down the left sideline for a touchdown.
With 3:41 left in the half, Quinn Davis’ PAT kick was true as Aledo extended its lead to 38-20.
Legacy closed the wild and wooly first half with a six-yard TD pass from Catalon to Edwards. The three-play drive was helped by an 89-yard kickoff return by Session. Rowland’s kick cut the Bearcats’ lead to 38-27, where it remained at the break.
The Bearcats gained 336 total yards in the first half, with Legacy finishing the opening half with 220 total yards.