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Aledo junior running back Johnathan Gray (32) puts a move on Weatherford defender Austin Vanhoutan Friday night during the Bearcats' 48-13 win over Weatherford at Bearcat Stadium. Gray led all rushers with 210 yards and five touchdowns.
Aledo junior all-state running back Johnathan Gray rushed for 210 yards and scored five touchdowns as the Class 4A No. 2 Bearcats cruised to a 48-13 victory over Weatherford Friday night at Bearcat Stadium.
The win avenges the Bearcats' one point loss at Weatherford last year - the only loss of 2009 for the state champions.
Aledo raises its record to 2-0 with the win. The Bearcats will play next against Class 4A No. 1 Lake Travis on Friday, Sept. 10, in a match up of the top-ranked teams in the state in 4A. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Lake Travis.
Weatherford used its triple-option offense - paced by quarterback Trooper Reynolds - to march 75 yards to take a 6-0 lead. Reynolds carried on option keepers on all four plays of the drive and scored on an 11-yard run. The TD was set up by a 58-yard scamper by Reynolds. The PAT failed.
However, the Bearcats regrouped after the drive and forced Weatherford to punt on its next five drives. The 'Roos did not reach the end zone again until late in the fourth quarter.
Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said the defense made a few slight adjustments after the 'Roos first TD drive.
"We lined up wrong (on Weatherford's first drive)," he said. "Both of our safeties lined up on the same side of the field and (Reynolds) broke the long run. Other than that, I thought the defense played really well. (Defensive back) Dayne Davis (who missed the opener due to injury) was back and did well. After that first drive our defense stuck to their responsibilities.
"We played very hard tonight, and the kids came out and did what they needed to do. Our guys are good football players and they came ready to play tonight."
Gray scored three touchdowns in the first half on runs of 33, eight and one yard. The junior carried 16 times in the first half for 146 yards. In the second half, Gray added 64 yards while scoring on touchdown runs of three and 13 yards.
“The offensive line fought hard and drove them back,” Gray said. “And our receivers and our tight end gave me key blocks downfield.”
Junior quarterback Matt Bishop also had a solid game, completing seven of 11 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown – a 65-yard pass to Michael Mann. Mann finished with a pair of catches for a game-high 72 yards. Junior receiver Todd Christian caught three passes for 23 yards.
Senior quarterback Clay Wooten also got into the touchdown act when he threw an 18-yard TD strike to junior receiver Preston Bartley to close the scoring.
“Our receivers ran good routes and got open,” Buchanan said. “But one reason Johnathan had a good night was because (senior tight end) Justin Breshears had a great night blocking.
“I talked to him one time, and right after that he came back with a couple of pancakes that sprung Johnathan on some big plays. And what can you say about Johnathan? He is probably one of the best backs in the nation. He showed great vision and great acceleration.”
After Weatherford opened the scoring, Gray scored his first touchdown on a 33-yard run with Mann providing the big block down field. Aledo took a 14-6 lead on Mann’s 65-yard touchdown grab, and on AHS’ next drive, Gray scored on an eight-yard run off right tackle to complete an eight-play, 61-yard drive.
Aledo closed the first-half scoring on a TD set up by a spectacular run by Bishop. With the ball at the Weatherford 11, Bishop scrambled away from pressure down the right sideline, and at the three-yard line leaped over a pair of ‘Roos defenders before being pushed out at the 1.
On the next play, Gray, behind a full-house backfield that included Jace Vincent and Rob Blowers, bullied his way over the goal line to increase the Bearcats’ lead to 28-6.
All four Aledo touchdowns in the first half were capped off by PAT kicks by Kevin Frantz.
At the beginning of the second half, Bearcats sophomore linebacker Gunner Johnson recovered a Weatherford fumble at the Kangaroos’ five-yard line. After a Weatherford offside penalty, Gray sprinted around right end for three yards for a touchdown that gave the hosts a 34-6 lead with 11:26 left in the third quarter. The PAT failed on a bobbled snap.
Aledo extended its lead to 41-6 when Gray finished off a seven-play, 36-yard drive on a 13-yard run off right tackle. Garrett Ellis booted the PAT.
Weatherford cut the Bearcats’ lead to 41-13 when Reynolds threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Dane Perkins.
The final score of the game came on Wooten’s 18-yard TD pass to Bartley to complete an eight-play, 72-yard drive.