Aledo senior tailback Michael Jordan rushed for a game-high 126 yards and scored three touchdowns, and freshman tailback Jase McClellan added 111 yards on the ground to pace a 417-yard ground attack as the Bearcats rolled over the Azle Hornets, 69-0, Friday night in a District 6-5A contest at Bearcat Stadium.
The win raises the state-ranked No. 2 Bearcats’ record to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in 6-5A, while Azle drops to 1-2 in league play.
Aledo finished with 604 total yards, but the story of the game might have been the Bearcats’ defense. The Bearcats Black Shirts forced three turnovers and held Azle to 68 total yards, including just 14 total yards in the first half.
“How about that defense?” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “I am proud of our defense. They came ready to play, as did the entire team. All our guys can do is to come out here, be focused, and do the job every night no matter who we are playing.”
Azle highly-acclaimed freshman quarterback Ken Seals received constant harassment from the Bearcats’ front four and blitzing linebackers, and Wood said the defense executed its plan to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Seals was intercepted twice, sacked twice and completed just one of eight pass attempts in the first half.
“(Defensive tackle) Wes Harris got off the line better than I have ever seen him, and we wanted to pressure (Seals),” Wood said. “Seals is a ninth grader, and we felt like we wanted him to have (pressure) on is mind. You know, he was playing the Aledo Bearcats.
“But Seals will be a really, really good quarterback.”
Although the Bearcats scored 56 points in the first half, Azle’s defense accomplished a first this season against Aledo, keeping the Bearcats out of the end zone on its first drive of the game for the first time this season.
But after the Hornets pulled off a defensive positive, the Bearcats defense dominated the half. The Bearcats Black Shirts turned three turnovers into touchdowns, forced Azle to punt six times and held the Hornets to a mere 14 total yards in the first 24 minutes.
Aledo’s defense also accounted for the game’s first score when safety Wyatt Harris intercepted Seals’ first pass and rambled 25 yards to the end zone. Quinn Davis booted the extra point to give the ‘Cats a quick 7-0 lead.
“Ol’ Wyatt (Harris) has been wanting to get him another interception,” Wood said. “(Cornerback) Brannon Webb (three interceptions for the year) is ahead of him and he has been talking noise to (Harris).”
After scoring a zero on its initial drive, the Bearcats offense reached the end zone on seven of their following eight possessions.
Aledo quarterback Dillon Davis, who completed 10 of 15 passes in the first half for 169 yards, ended a 70-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown strike to Hunter Rosson, and with 6:41 left in the opening quarter Reed Vierling booted the extra point to increase the hosts’ lead to 14-0.
After forcing Azle three and out with a punt, the Aledo running game got involved as senior tailback Donnie Evans scored on a spectacular 42-yard run. On the TD run, Evans blasted through a big hole off right tackle, swiftly cut to the middle and down the left sideline, outrunning four defenders on his way to the end zone.
Quinn Davis added the PAT, and with 5:04 remaining the Bearcats’ lead grew to 21-0.
On its ensuing possession, Azle defensive back T.J. Buenrostro came up with an interception, but the Hornets could not move the ball on offense and were forced to punt.
The Bearcats stayed with the running game and found the end zone again. McClellan raced 47 yards on first down to move the ball to the Hornets’ 10. Evans carried for three yards on the next play before Michael Jordan took a handoff and bounced to the his right and down the sideline for a seven-yard touchdown.
Vierling added the PAT, and with 10:51 left in the second quarter the Bearcats increased their lead to 28-0.
The Bearcats forced consecutive turnovers that led to consecutive touchdowns.
Linebacker Will Trawick recovered a fumble at the Azle 23, and on the Bearcats’ first play Davis fired a 23-yard bullet to receiver Preston Jefferis in the back of the end zone with 9:20 remaining in the half. Quinn Davis booted the extra point as Aledo’s lead grew to 35-0.
An interception by defensive tackle James Williams off a deflection at the Azle 25 led to another score.
Davis began the drive with a quick out to receiver Logan Bridges on the right hash mark for a seven-yard gain, and on the next play Davis went to Bridges again, this time on the left side for a 13-yard gain to the Hornets’ 5.
Two plays later, Davis called his own number, faking a hand off and keeping for a five-yard TD run off right tackle. Vierling added the PAT, and with 7:27 remaining in the half the Bearcats enjoyed a 42-0 advantage.
The Bearcats defense forced Azle to punt on its following two possessions, and each punt led to an Aledo score.
The first of the two Aledo scores was all Jordan, who carried three times for 55 yards – including a 39-yard gain on first down – with the third carry a four-yard blast up the middle as the senior scored standing up. Quinn Davis added the PAT for a 49-0 lead.
The Bearcats closed the first-half scoring on a four-yard run by Evans with 41 seconds left in the half. The TD was set up by a 33-yard pass from Davis to Jefferis. Vierling booted the extra point as Aledo led 56-0 at the break.
Azle, which recorded just two first downs in the second half, punted on three of its four possessions. The lone exception was a missed field goal from 41 yards out.
The Bearcats scored a touchdown in each of the third and fourth quarters.
In the third period, Jordan scored his third TD of the game on a misdirection play from 23 yards out. The score capped a 10-play, 79-yard drive that saw Jordan carry the ball six times for 59 yards. The PAT kick failed as Aledo led 62-0.
The Bearcats closed the scoring in the fourth quarter on a four-yard blast off left tackle by tailback Will Greenwood. Vierling did the honors on the PAT to extend the lead to 69-0.
Coming in for Davis in the second half, quarterback Zane Hayden was two-for-two for 16 yards and added 82 yards on three carries, including a 64-yard run.
Rosson caught four passes for 72 yards, with Jefferis adding 72 yards on three catches. Bridges caught three passes for 25 yards, and Hayden Hyles added a pair of catches for 16 yards.
The Bearcats will continue District 6-5A play at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 against Eaton at Northwest ISD Stadium.
AHS notes: The Aledo Ladycats volleyball team swept Azle, 25-4, 25-11, 25-15 Friday night at the AHS gym. The Ladycats, 8-1 in district action, will play for a share of first place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at first-place Boswell.