Paced by 604 yards of total offense, including 374 yards on the ground, the state-ranked No. 1 Aledo Bearcats used a 41-point run to come from behind and defeat the Northwest Texans, 61-27,
Friday night in a key District 6-5A match up at Northwest ISD Stadium.
The win raises the Bearcats’ record to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in district play, while Northwest drops to 8-1 and 5-1. The win also clinches a share of the district title, the ninth in a row for Aledo.
The Bearcats will conclude district play at home Friday (Nov. 4) against Boswell (5-1 in 6-5A). A win would give Aledo the outright district championship.
The Bearcats trailed 24-20 with 4:59 left in the first half but scored 41 unanswered points to put the game away. Included in the scoring flurry was a three-touchdown run in the final 2:09 of
the half. The Aledo defense, which yielded 24 first-half points, shut out the Texans until Northwest kicked a field goal with just more than a minute left in the game.
But the turning point of the game may have occurred just before the half ended when Aledo linebacker Rhett Harris scored on an interception return to turn a 10-point game into a 41-24 Aledo
advantage at the break.
Northwest never recovered from Harris’ pick-six.
“This was a good football team we came back to beat,” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “I was proud of our defense. We made some adjustments at halftime and started playing fast like we
did not do in the first half. Our kids got their feet under them and got their confidence back.
“Getting on that (21-point) roll before the half ended, and Rhett Harris’ touchdown before halftime was just huge. I knew our offense would put up some points, and I don’t want to take anything away from Northwest, but we are good on offense. The offense is playing at an extremely high level.
“It feels good to grab a share of the district title, and we will enjoy this one tonight and get ready for Boswell next week.”
Junior tailback Donnie Evans led the Bearcats with 174 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns, while senior tailback Michael Jordan added 77 yards and a score, and freshman tailback Jase McClellan finished with 48 yards. Senior quarterback Dillon Davis rushed for 80 yards on six totes and reached the end zone once.
Davis completed 15 of 24 passes for 230 yards and three TDs, Logan Bridges led the ‘Cats with five catches for 51 yards, while Hunter Rosson caught three passes for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Bearcats received the opening kickoff and wasted little time in taking a quick lead. Davis began the six-play, 70-yard drive with a 10-yard sideline pass to Logan Peterson. Jordan followed with three straight carries totaling 25 yards before Davis found receiver Preston Jefferis for a 30-yard catch and run to the NW 5. On the pass play, Jefferis caught the ball at the NW 15 and dragged three defenders to the 5.
On the next play, Jordan crashed over the goal line from five yards out courtesy of a clearing block from James Williams, a defensive tackle who plays fullback in short-yardage situations. Quinn Davis booted the extra point to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead.
Aledo got the ball back on Northwest’s initial possession when NWHS quarterback Prince Mavula completed a pass to Gavin Holmes, who fumbled after the catch and the ball was recovered by Aledo sophomore cornerback Brannon Webb at the hosts’ 23.
After Evans carried for four yards on first down, his number was called again, and the junior went untouched through a huge hole off left tackle for 19 yards and a touchdown. Reed Vierling booted the extra point, and with 9:00 left in the opening period the Bearcats led 14-0.
On its next possession Northwest found the end zone for the first time. Running back Syrus Moore closed the drive on a 59-yard touchdown run where the senior broke three tackles down the right sideline. Charles Cannon booted the extra point to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 14-7.
Later in the opening quarter Northwest defensive back Emmanuel Ogunwolu intercepted a Davis pass, and the turnover led to a 26-yard field goal by Cannon to cut Aledo’s lead to 14-10 with 3:29 remaining in the first period.
After forcing the Bearcats to punt, the Texans took their first lead of the game when Mavula fired a 17-yard TD pass to receiver Leo Saldana with 1:49 left in the half. Cannon added the PAT as Northwest took a 17-14 lead.
The Bearcat responded with their longest march of the half as Davis engineered a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended on a twisting and turning 22-yard touchdown run by Evans. On the TD run, Evans began his journey sprinting to his right, but when he ran into several Northwest defenders, he immediately reversed his field. Evans found running room down the left sideline and had one man to beat.
But that defender was eliminated by a crunching block by Davis as Evans sprinted to the end zone. With 6:45 left in the half, the PAT was blocked as Aledo held a 20-17 advantage.
Unruffled, Northwest came storming back and reached the end zone on a 15-yard pass from Mavula to Holmes to complete a six-play, 70-yard drive. A big play in the drive was a 55-yard pass completion by Mavula to Holmes. Cannon added the PAT, and with 4:59 remaining in the half Northwest took the lead back, 24-20.
Aledo continued the seesaw nature of the second quarter and countered with an eight-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. Jordan began the drive with two carries covering 13 yards, and Davis completed a pair of passes to Logan Bridges – the second for 19 yards to the NW 35.
Two plays later, Davis called his own number and scampered 17 yards on an option keeper to the NW 18. On the next play, Davis sent a swing pass to the left side and in the backfield to Bridges, who out-sprinted the Texans’ secondary to the end zone for an 18-yard score.
Vierling added the extra point, and with 2:09 left in the half the Bearcats regained the lead, 27-24.
Aledo forced Northwest to punt, and the offense put together a quick three-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Rosson, who easily beat single coverage down the right sideline. With 51 seconds left in the half, Quinn Davis added the PAT to extend the Bearcats’ lead to 34-24.
Remarkably, the scoring was not finished in the first half.
After completing passes of seven and five yards, Mavula threw a quick sideline pass that was intercepted by Harris, who raced 55 yards down the sideline and into the end zone for a stunning score. Vierling added the PAT as Aledo led 41-24 at the half.
The Bearcats scored on their first possession of the second half. Aledo used five consecutive running plays to travel 62 yards, with the final carry of the drive a 40-yard keeper from Davis through the heart of the Northwest defense. But again the PAT was blocked, leaving the Bearcats with a 47-24 lead.
Aledo added another TD on its next drive when Davis and Rosson hooked up for a 41-yard touchdown. Rosson ran a simple hook route to the left side, and he slipped his single defender with a spin move and waltzed to the end zone to complete the scoring play with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Vierling followed with the extra point to extend the Bearcats’ advantage to 54-24.
Evans scored his third TD of the game on the Bearcats’ next drive on a 55-yard run. The play looked dead when Evans ran into a pile. But like a magician in cleats he appeared from the pile, broke three tackles and sprinted to the end zone. Quinn Davis’ PAT boot increased the Bearcats’ lead to 61-24.
Cannon closed the scoring with a 32-yard field goal in the game’s last minute.