In a game that was delayed three hours due to thunderstorms and lightning, the state-ranked No. 1 Aledo Bearcats held off the South Oak Cliff Bears, 28-14, Friday night in a Class 5A, Division II, Region II regional semifinal at Midlothian ISD Stadium.
The Bearcats (13-0) will advance to the regional finals and face No. 9 Frisco Reedy.
With a one-touchdown lead, Aledo put the game away with two TD drives in the second half.
The first came on Aledo’s first possession of the second half. Aledo got great field when defensive end Will Greenwood recovered a SOC fumble at the Bearcats’ 33.
Quarterback Jake Bishop threw an 8-yard pass to receiver Jo Jo Earle and ran the ball three times to bring the ball to the SOC 21. Tailback Jase McClellan took over from there with runs of eight and two yards before Bishop gained four yards on a keeper to the SOC 7.
After a delay of game penalty on the Bears, McClellan rushed untouched into the end zone from three yards out with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter. Harper Smith booted the extra point to increase the Bearcats’ lead to 21-7.
After the Bearcats defense forced a SOC punt, the Bearcats put the game away with a 12-play, 53-yard drive for a three-touchdown lead. McClellan carried eight times for 34 yards in the drive, scoring on a one-yard blast off right tackle.
Smith’s PAT extended the Bearcats’ lead to 28-7.
SOC closed the scoring when quarterback Sean Simms threw a perfect pass to receiver Donjaz Dunn to compete an 82-yard touchdown, with Antonio Loya adding the extra point to cut the lead to 28-14.
SOC’s last drive ended on a pair of incomplete passes at the AHS 9.
Bishop took a knee to run out the remainder of the clock as the Bearcats advance to the regional finals for the sixth consecutive year.
McClellan finished with 143 yards on 34 carries, and Aledo held a time of possession advantage of 35:32 to 12:28.
The game looked like it would be tied at 7 at the half. The Bears had stopped the Bearcats at their own 49, forcing a punt late in the first half.
But SOC fumbled the punt – which was recovered by Max Lucas – and with 32 seconds left in the second quarter Aledo was back in business at the Bears’ 12.
After Aledo was called for a holding, two plays later Bishop drilled a 17-yard touchdown pass to Earle in the back of the end one with 14 ticks on the clock. Harper Smith booted the extra point to give the Bearcats a 14-7 lead, where it remained at the half.
McClellan carried 17 times for 75 yards in the first half, and Bishop completed two passes for 23 yards. SOC gained 126 total yards in the opening half.
Aledo began the game with a classic, throw-back drive for a score. Using all running plays, the Bearcats drove 75 yards on 12 plays. Aledo converted three third downs in the drive, with Bishop using his feet for gains of 10 and six yards to convert two of them, the last carry which brought the ball to the SOC 17.
On the next play, Earle – lined up in the wildcat formation – took a direct snap and sped 17 yards down the right sideline and into the end zone to end a drive that took 6:09 off the clock.
Smith added the PAT kick to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead before the Bears touched the ball.
SOC came back with a nine-play drive that stalled on the AHS 14-yard line. But Loya’s 31-yard field goal attempt sailed wide as AHS kept its 7-0 lead.
The Bears’ defense forced the Bearcats to punt on Aledo’s next two possessions, and after the second stop SOC put together a four-play, 66-yard drive that ended on a 39-yard sprint up the middle on a Simms’ keeper.
Loya booted the extra point as the Bears tied the game, 7-7.