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Aledo junior quarterback Matt Bishop eludes a defender while getting off a pass during the Bearcats' 20-3 victory over Stephenville Friday night in the season opener at Bearcat Stadium. Bishop ran for two touchdowns and passed for another while gaining 296 total yards.
Aledo junior quarterback Matt Bishop passed for 218 yards and a touchdown and gained a team-high 78 yards on the ground while scoring twice to lead the No. 2 Bearcats to a convincing 20-3 victory over the No. 4 Stephenville Yellowjackets Friday night in the season opener at Bearcat Stadium.
The Bearcats (1-0) will play next at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, at home against Weatherford.
The Bearcats gained 349 total yards, including 131 on the ground.
But while Stephenville concentrated on stopping Aledo junior all-state running back Johnathan Gray, the 'Jackets must have forgotten about Bishop.
Gray finished with 67 yards on 18 carries, and added four catches for 47 yards, including a 45-yard gain on a screen pass that saw Gray switch directions three times before being tackled at the Yellowjackets' 17 to set up a touchdown.
Bishop scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 27 yards, and he threw an eight-yard TD pass to junior receiver Michael Mann just before the first half ended.
The Bearcats defense allowed Stephenville to march down the field on several drives, but each time came up with a critical stop. The 'Jackets lone score was a 34-yard field goal by Blake Barnes midway through the third quarter.
"We have a bend but don't break type of defense," Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said. "We are going to attack up front, but we are a gap control defense. We are going to give up some yards, but when I talk to the defense and (defensive coordinator) Coach (Steve) Wood talks to the defense, we talk about not giving up touchdowns. That's what we did tonight."
Buchanan said he expected Stephenville to sell out on defense in an attempt to stop Gray, who still gained 114 all-purpose yards.
"We knew they would try and stop Johnathan. Why wouldn't they?" he said. "Even when we (Aledo offense) scrimmages our defense, they have one thing in mind - to stop Johnathan Gray. In the end, he is a pretty good running back who can make a lot of people miss."
Gray was instrumental in the Bearcats' first touchdown. Aledo took the opening kickoff and drove 84 yards on 10 plays to the Stephenville 1. On the next play, Bishop faked a handoff to Gray - which drew the entire Yellowjackets defense to the the left side of the line - and when Bishop kept the ball he walked into the end zone untouched off right tackle from the one with 7:47 left in the opening quarter.
Kevin Frantz booted the extra point to give the Bearcats a quick 7-0 lead.
Aledo put together a 15-play, 99-yard drive for a 14-0 lead, scoring just seconds before the first half ended. AHS needed to convert just one third down - on a 10-yard pass from Bishop to Michael Mann (who led AHS with 5 catches for 96 yards) - on the drive.
On the 15th play of the drive, Bishop threw a dart down the middle to Mann, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone with 28 seconds left in the opening half. Frantz added the extra point to give the Bearcats a 14-point cushion.
Stephenville took the second half kickoff and drove 13 plays to the Aledo 17 before settling on a 34-yard field goal to cut the Bearcats' lead to 14-3.
The Bearcats put the game away on perhaps the most spectacular play of the evening.
On third and 20 from the Stephenville 27, Bishop went back to pass but was heavily rushed by four Yellowjacket defenders. Bishop escaped his disintegrating pocket, and when he scrambled out of trouble saw nothing but open field.
Bishop scrambled to his right, dodged one would-be tackler, then cut to the middle of the field and out-ran three Stephenville defenders to the end zone with 1:08 left to play. The extra point attempt failed as Aledo led 20-3.
"Bishop is a great athlete," Buchanan said. "He can do good things with his legs."
Stephenville had two more possessions but never advanced the ball past the AHS 26.
For the complete story, and for more comments from Coach Buchanan and comments from the Bearcats, please see the Sept. 3 issue of The Community News.
Click the link below for video highlights of the home opener: