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Aledo junior running back Johnathan Gray rushed for 211 yards and scored four touchdowns, and junior quarterback Matt Bishop completed 17 of 22 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns to lead the state-ranked No. 1 Bearcats to a convincing 62-21 victory over Springtown Friday night in a District 5-4A contest at Springtown.
The win raises the Bearcats record to 2-0 in district play and 5-0 overall.
The Bearcats rolled up 471 yards of total offense despite having two starting offensive linemen - Mike Wilson and Ryan Gonsoulin - out with injuries. Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said replacements Brad Evetts and Hayden Lambert filled in well.
"Brad and Hayden did good jobs on the left side," he said. "I felt like the entire offensive line played well, and we did a good job moving the ball."
The Bearcats defense also pitched in. Springtown did not get on the scoreboard until the 1:29 mark of the third quarter with the game well out of hand, and the Aledo defense got into the scoring act on an interception return for a touchdown by senior Cameron Cunningham.
"The defense really got after them in the first half," Buchanan said. "The guys were running to the football and played their scheme well. Coach (Steve) Wood had a good defensive scheme and the defense responded."
Aledo built a 42-0 lead at the break, with Gray scoring three of his four TDs in the opening half. The all-state running back used a stiff-arm to get free on a 52-yard touchdown run with 5:57 left in the opening period. Kevin Frantz booted the extra point to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead.
Gray reached the end zone again on Aledo's next possession. The touchdown was set up by a 52-yard punt return by Cunningham to the Springtown 1. Behind crunching blocks on the right side from guard Frantz and tackle Latham Johnson, Gray - on the second play of the short drive - slipped into the end zone from two yards out, and Frantz's kick increased the AHS advantage to 14-0.
The Bearcats found the end zone again on their ensuing possession. Gray capped a 57-yard drive with a seven-yard run on the left side on his fifth straight carry. The blocking on the play was so effective that Gray literally walked into the end zone with 11:34 remaining in the half. Frantz booted the extra point to extend the visitors' lead to 21-0.
Later in the second quarter, Springtown senior quarterback Caden Cowan's sideline pass was intercepted by Cunningham, who sprinted untouched down the right side for a 40-yard score. Frantz tacked on the PAT as Aledo led 35-0.
The Bearcats closed the first-half scoring when Bishop tossed a pass to the left sideline to tight end Justin Breshears. The senior outran four Springtown defenders on his way to a 42-yard touchdown with 2:00 left in the half. Garrett Ellis booted the extra point to increase the AHS lead to 42-0.
In the third period, senior linebacker Rob Blowers appeared to have scored on a 20-yard interception return, but the touchdown was nullified as officials ruled a roughing the passer penalty on AHS. Springtown, however, failed to capitalize on the penalty and was forced to punt.
On Aledo's ensuing possession, Bishop completed four passes - three of which went to junior Michael Mann for a total of 22 yards - to move the ball to the Springtown 18. Two plays later, Bishop found Breshears in the end zone for a five-yard score, and Ellis' kick increased the Bearcats' lead to 49-0.
Springtown fought back and scored on its next three possessions on TD passes by Cowan of 55 and 51 yards and a four-yard run by Cameron DauenHauer to cut the Bearcats' lead to 49-21.
But Aledo responded with 40-yard touchdown run by Gray and a 32-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Clay Wooten to sophomore receiver Shea Wood to close the scoring.
For the complete story, and for more comments from Coach Buchanan and from the Bearcats, please see the Oct. 8 issue of The Community News.