Aledo scored early and often as the Bearcats cruised past the Bentonville Tigers, 51-14, Saturday afternoon at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport as part of the city’s annual “Battle on the Border” series.
The win raises the Bearcats record to 2-0.
Aledo scored on four of its first five drives.
The Bearcats reached the end zone twice in the opening quarter. The first score was set up by an interception by Collin Johnson, who brought the ball to the Bentonville 24.
It took just five plays to reach the end zone. On third and four from the Tigers’ 5, quarterback Jake Bishop threw a bullet to receiver Jo Jo Earle, who cradled the ball while diving at the back of the end zone.
Harper Smith booted the extra point as Aledo quickly went in front, 7-0.
After forcing Bentonville to punt on the Tiger’s ensuing series, the Bearcats put together a 4-play, 32-yard drive that ended on a 9-yard touchdown run by Jase McClellan. Smith added the extra point, and with 5:58 remaining in the opening quarter the Bearcats held a 14-0 lead.
Aledo started another TD drive late in the first quarter. Bishop completed two passes to receiver Mylan Hayhurst, the first for 12 yards and the second for 15 yards to bring the ball to the BHS 21 as the period ended.
A 21-yard carry by McClellan followed, and on the next play, Tre Owens blasted into the end zone from nine yards out with 9:25 left in the first half. Smith added the extra point to increase the AHS advantage to 21-0.
A fumble recovery by Ryan Anderson on the Tigers’ ensuing possessions led to a 24-yard field goal by Smith as Aledo’s cushion grew to 24-0.
On its next possession Bentonville reached the end zone, and did so on a crafty trick play. Quarterback Easton Hughes handed the ball off to running back Preston Crawford, who after taking two steps stopped and pitched the ball back to Hughes. Hughes threw down field to wide-open receiver Dylan Smith for a 40-yard touchdown with 7:34 left in the half.
Sam Younger kicked the extra point to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 24-7.
The Bearcats followed with their longest drive of the half. Aledo marched 77 yards on 10 plays, capped by a 15-yard TD run by McClellan. McClellan would end the first half with 76 yards on 13 carries. Bishop completed two passes to Hayhurst in the drive, both converting on third down.
Smith’s PAT attempt sailed wide, and with 2:46 left in the half Aledo led 30-7.
The ‘Cats closed the first-half scoring on a 62-yard long bomb from Bishop to Earle with 30 ticks left on the clock. Smith’s PAT gave the Bearcats a 37-7 lead, where it remained at the half.
Aledo gained 282 total yards in the first half. Bishop completed seven of 10 passes for 150 yards, and Hayhurst caught four passes for 48 yards. The Bearcat Black Shirts held Bentonville to just 97 total yards in the first half.
Bishop and Earle completed a “hat trick” in the third quarter. With the ball at his own 35, Bishop threw a high, deep pass down the right side. Earle leaped and caught the areal, broke a tackle at the BHS 35 and sprinted down the sideline, reaching the end zone after a crushing block by receiver Hampton Fay which allowed Earle to waltz into the end zone. It was Earle’s third TD reception of the contest.
With 3:27 remaining in the third quarter, Smith added the PAT to extend the Bearcats’ lead to 44-7.
Bentonville put together a touchdown drive on its ensuing series, scoring as the third quarter expired on a three-yard run by Crawford. Younger added the PAT to cut the Aledo lead to 44-14 after three quarters.
With 5:18 left to play the Bearcats closed the scoring on a three-yard TD run by Avery Jackson, with Micco Little adding the extra point for a 51-14 lead.
McClellan finished with 104 yards on 17 carries, with Bishop completing 10 of 14 passes for 237 yards. Earle and Hayhurst each finished with four catches, with Earle gaining 152 yards with three touchdowns, and Hayhurst finishing with 48 yards.
The Bearcats will begin District 5-5A play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Burleson Centennial at Burleson ISD Stadium.