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Late, long drive lifts No. 1 Aledo Bearcats to 38-14 win over Mesquite Poteet in state semifinals

Aledo freshman tailback Jase McClellan (9) gets loose during the first half of the Bearcats' 38-14 victory over Mesquite Poteet Friday night in a Class 5A, Division II state semifinal game at the Ford Center in Frisco. McClellan finished with a game-high 216 yards rushing. Photo by Karen Towery.

No. 1 Aledo used a 14-play, 94-yard drive to break open a close game as the Bearcats defeated Mesquite Poteet, 38-14, Friday night in a Class 5A, Division II state semifinal game in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

The win advances the Bearcats to the Class 5A, Division II state championship game. Aledo will face Corpus Christie Calallen at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“How about that drive?” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “Our offensive line has gotten it done all year, and I am so proud of them. And how about that 14-year-old running back (freshman tailback Jase McClellan)? He was a horse tonight.”

The 14-play TD drive began at the AHS six-yard line. McClellan carried nine times in the first 10 plays of the drive, accumulating 74 yards, his longest runs from 16 and 19 yards. With the ball at the Poteet 15, tailback Donnie Evans carried twice for eight yards, and the drive concluded on a two-yard quarterback sneak by senior Dillon Davis for the TD.

Vierling tacked on the PAT, and with 5:45 left to play Aledo enjoyed a 31-14 lead. McClellan would finish with a game-high 230 yards rushing.

The drive that sealed the contest took 6:21 off the clock and left Poteet with little time to launch a comeback. Poteet fumbled the ball on its next drive as defensive end Michael Arlt sacked quarterback Kaleb Fletcher to force the fumble, and defensive lineman Christian Duncan scooped up the loose ball and rambled 57 yards to the Poteet 9.

Three plays later, senior tailback Michael Jordan scored from five yards out, running into a pile and driving the pile backwards into the end zone with 2:58 left to play. Quinn Davis added the PAT to extend the Bearcats’ lead to 38-14.

Poteet’s final drive was sealed by an interception by Evans, who actually started the game at safety, replacing injured senior Logan Childs.

“That (Poteet) is a good football team,” Wood said. “I am not lying when I tell you I was worried. But we got on a roll (in the second half) and had that long drive. I like the way we reacted to adversity early in the game, and a lot of that has to do with our senior leadership.

“I am proud of our guys. It is unbelievable that we are back in the state championship game. I am very fortunate to have great football players and great coaches.”

An interception by linebacker Wyatt Harris set up the first Bearcats’ score.

Davis completed a six-yard pass to senior receiver Logan Bridges on first down, and from there Davis called freshman McClellan’s number on four consecutive plays.

McClellan carried twice for 10 yards before ripping a 52-yard gain on the left sideline to bring the ball to the Poteet three-yard line. On the next play, McClellan followed a block by James Williams and scooted for three yards and a touchdown.

Quinn Davis booted the extra point as Aledo led 7-0 early in the opening period.

Early in the second quarter Poteet tied the game when quarterback Kaleb Fletcher sent a deep, high pass down the left sideline for receiver Da’Miachael Smith – who beat single coverage – and his catch and run resulted in a 78-yard touchdown.

Angel Sevier booted the extra point, and with 9:19 remaining in the second period the game was tied, 7-7.

On Aledo’s ensuing series, on first down, Davis was sacked and fumbled, and hustling defensive end Kid Dickerson scooped up the ball, momentarily lost it but recovered and rambled into the end zone for a touchdown.

Sivier added the extra point to give the Pirates a 14-7 lead.

Aledo wasted little time in tying the game. Davis connected with Jefferis for seven yards, and McClellan followed with runs of 10 and 21 yards to move the pigskin to the Pirates’ 27. Two plays later, Davis sent a deep pass down the right side to receiver Hunter Rosson, who beat single coverage and caught the 32-yard touchdown pass in the end zone.

Reed Vierling booted the extra point, and with 6:42 left in the half the score was tied, 14-14.

The Bearcats caught a huge break just before the half ended. Linebacker Will Trawick recovered a Poteet fumble at the Pirates 38 with 52 seconds remaining. Two plays later Davis completed another touchdown pass to Jefferis, this time for 38 yards.

On the TD play, Davis sent a high pass to the left numerals, and the 6-5 Jefferis had to leap to make the catch around the Poteet 20. But two defenders covering Jefferis both went for the ball and collided as the big senior waltzed to the end zone for the score.

Quinn Davis added the PAT to give the ‘Cats a 21-14 lead.

Poteet had a chance to score before the half and moved the ball on three plays to the Aledo 24. The big play was a 25-yard pass from Fletcher to Char’karrious Corbin. But on the final play of the half the Pirates were called for holding with two seconds left as Aledo went into the locker room with a seven-point cushion.

Aledo recorded 284 yards of total offense in the first half, including 168 yards through the air as Davis completed five of nine passes with two touchdowns. McClellan rushed for 102 yards in the first half.

Poteet finished the first half with 287 total yards.

The Bearcats began the second-half scoring with a 38-yard field goal by Quinn Davis for a 24-14 advantage. The drive began at the Aledo 28, and McClellan carried the ball seven times for 35 yards, but was stopped on a third and one to force the field goal with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

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