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By Tony Eierdam (Video by Dominic Genetti)
Aledo junior running back Johnathan Gray rushed for 232 yards on 20 carries and reached the end zone five times to pace an offensive attack of 591 total yards as the state-ranked No. 1 Bearcats had little trouble in a 64-0 victory over the Keller Timber Creek Falcons Friday night at Bearcat Stadium on Homecoming Night.
The win - in the District 5-4A opener for both teams - raises the Bearcats overall record to 4-0.
Aledo rushed for 342 yards and threw for 249. Junior quarterback Matt Bishop completed nine of 15 passes for 203 yards with a pair of touchdown passes. Bishop also rushed for a TD. Senior signal caller Clay Wooten completed his only pass attempt in the fourth quarter - a 46-yard touchdown strike to junior receiver Preston Bartley.
(STORY CONTINUES AFTER VIDEO)
But the Bearcats' defense was what most impressed Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan. The Falcons gained just 12 yards of total offense and just one first down (on a penalty) in the first half, and Timber Creek gained 107 total yards for the game.
"I was very happy with our defense," Buchanan said. "I was impressed with the entire defensive unit - first group and second group. (Senior linebacker) Hunter Powell came in there with the second group and made some big hits, and I thought the defensive front of (senior defensive tackles) Danny Edwards and Cody Brooks did a good job inside of standing the offensive linemen up and not letting them gain yards inside."
The Bearcats were ball hawks in the secondary as defensive backs James Place and Conner Bradham each pulled down two interceptions. Bradham had a pair of pick offs in the first half, and both of Place's interceptions came in the second half.
"Conner, James and Dayne Davis made some great plays in the secondary," Buchanan said. "And not only in pass coverage, but they also came up to the line of scrimmage and made plays (in run defense). As a unit, we played really well defensively."
Gray scored all five of his touchdowns in the first half as the Bearcats built a 41-0 lead at the break. He reached the end zone the first time on a 39-yard sprint through a huge hole off right tackle on Aledo's opening drive.
On the Bearcats ensuing possession, Gray capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run off right tackle. Kevin Frantz booted the extra point as AHS led 13-0.
The Bearcats struggled on offense on their next two possessions, but with 8:14 left in the half, Bishop scored on a one-yard run after pulling down a high snap in shotgun formation and scrambling around left end for the touchdown. Frantz added the extra point for a 20-0 lead.
Gray closed the first half scoring with TD runs of 10, 11 and 29 yards. The Bearcats used three different kickers for the PAT's as Tanner Linn, Frantz and Garrett Ellis each booted an extra point to give AHS a 41-0 cushion at the half. Aledo gained 342 total yards in the first 24 minutes, including 210 on the ground.
Aledo scored on its first drive of the second half as Bishop and junior receiver Michael Mann hooked up on a 29-yard touchdown pass play. Mann, covered by two Falcon defensive backs, leaped into the air and caught Bishop's pinpoint pass between the two defenders in the end zone for a 47-0 lead.
The Bearcats increased their lead to 50-0 with 3:22 left in the third quarter on a 37-yard field goal by Frantz, also the starting right guard.
With the second offense now in the game the Bearcats continued to score. Junior running back Ben Jopling blasted up the middle for 61 yards and a touchdown, and Wooten fired his touchdown pass to Bartley with 5:54 left to play. Linn and Ellis each kicked an extra point following the two touchdowns.
For the complete story, and for more comments from Coach Buchanan and the Bearcat players, please see the Oct. 1 issue of The Community News.