When state-ranked No. 1 Aledo and Boswell met in District 6-5A play in the league finale almost a month ago, the Bearcats defeated the Pioneers by 25 points, but to a man admitted they did not play their best against the Pioneers.
The Bearcats turned the ball over four times in the first half, had an interception returned for a touchdown, and the defense allowed three long runs, something, in addition to giving up 24 points, head coach Steve Wood and the defensive coaches have constantly reminded the unit since that game.
Apparently, the Bearcats had heard enough, and they wanted to make amends for their previous effort.
Facing district rival Boswell in a Class 5A, Division II regional final (state quarterfinal) late Friday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the Bearcats punched their ticket to the state semifinals after a convincing 42-14 victory over the Pioneers.
The Bearcats (14-0) will face Mesquite Poteet (11-3) in a Class 5A state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9 at The Star in Frisco.
“We came ready to play,” Wood said. “We didn’t feel like we gave them our best shot the last time. But give Boswell credit, they played hard and they are good on defense. They gave us some problems. It wasn’t like we ran up and down the field on them.
“I think our defense came to play tonight, and we didn’t have as many turnovers or silly penalties like we did the last time we played them.
“I am proud of our kids, and we will celebrate tonight and get ready for the (state) semifinals.”
The Bearcats shut out Boswell in the first half and scored three times to take a comfortable 21-0 lead at the half.
After forcing two Boswell punts, the Bearcats reached the end zone on their second possession of the contest. Playing tough defense, Boswell forced the Bearcats into a third and 16 from the Aledo 29. Quarterback Dillon Davis threw down the middle and deep for speedy receiver Logan Bridges, but the ball sailed over the senior’s head.
However, Boswell was penalized for pass interference to keep the drive alive. Three plays later Aledo was facing a third and three, and freshman tailback Jase McClellan gained 10 yards off right tackle to move the chains.
After negative yardage on first down, Davis lofted a perfect spiral into the waiting arms of receiver Hunter Rosson. The junior caught the pass in stride down the right sideline at about the 10 where he beat single coverage to complete a 40-yard touchdown play.
“I always seem to get single coverage because of Bridge (Logan Bridges) and Preston (Jefferis),” Rosson said. “Bridge is so fast and Preston is another threat, so they have to leave me in single coverage. Dillon threw a perfect pass.”
Quinn Davis kicked the extra point, and with 1:26 remaining in the opening period the Bearcats took a 7-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter Boswell faced a fourth and one from the Aledo 40. Boswell running back Damon Williams took a handoff off right tackle, but he was stuffed by the Bearcat Black Shirts as AHS took over at its own 40.
Aledo followed with a nine-play, 60-yard drive that was capped by an 18-yard sprint to pay dirt by senior tailback Michael Jordan. McClellan converted a pair of first downs on the drive – of two and one yards – on a pair of gritty runs. Davis completed three passes on the drive, including an eight yard completion to receiver Hayden Hyles to push the ball into Pioneer territory.
On Jordan’s TD sprint, McClellan had the big block on the edge to spring his teammate to daylight. Reed Vierling booted the extra point, and with 4:53 left in the opening half the Bearcats extended their lead to 14-0.
An athletic play by sophomore defensive end Colt Ellison set up the next Aledo touchdown. On the play, Boswell freshman quarterback Brayden Thomas sent a quick pass over the middle, but Ellison leaped high and gobbled the pass before advancing 11 yards to the Pioneers’ 19.
On first down, Davis feathered a pass down the middle to Rosson, and once again he easily beat single coverage while catching the ball in stride to complete a 19-yard scoring play with 4:05 remaining in the half.
Quinn Davis added the PAT to increase the Bearcats’ cushion to 21-0, where it remained at the half.
Aledo recorded 168 total yards in the first half while limiting Boswell to 69 total yards.
Aledo wasted little time in adding to its lead to begin the second half. Receiving the second-half kickoff, the Bearcats reached Boswell territory on their first play. Taking a direct snap, Rosson faked a hand off to McClellan and sprinted 58 yards to the BHS nine-yard line.
Two plays later, McClellan took a hand off and raced down the left sideline. After sprinting past five defenders, McClellan faked another would-be tackler out at the two before dancing into the end zone with 10:52 left in the third quarter.
Vierling tacked on the PAT to extend the Aledo lead to 28-0.
On Boswell’s ensuing possession, the Bearcat Black Shirts set up the next Aledo score when Rhett Harris picked up a lateral pass at the Boswell 12.
It took just three running plays for the ‘Cats to find the end zone again. After two runs netted seven yards, junior tailback Donnie Evans slid off a block by James “Big Game” Williams and carried over the goal line from five yards out.
Quinn Davis added the PAT, and with 9:00 left in the third period the Bearcats’ lead grew to 35-0.
The game stayed scoreless until the final 3:32 of the contest when the teams combined for three touchdowns.
Boswell finally got on the board when Thomas completed a perfectly-placed fade pass to Breshun Berry from seven yards out with 3:32 remaining in the game. Jackson Counts booted the extra point to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 35-7.
Bearcat Nation got a glimpse of the future on Aledo’s ensuing possession. Freshman quarterback Jake Bishop – the third brother of the Bishop clan – put on his version of Johnny Football as he raced 66 yards on a keeper down the left sideline and into the end zone.
Vierling tacked on the PAT to increase the AHS advantage to 42-7.
Boswell closed the scoring when senior running back Damon Williams scored on a 35-yard TD run. Counts’ kick left the score at 42-14.
Boswell managed to keep the Bearcats under 500 total yards for the first time this season. Aledo had gained more than 500 total yards in 13 consecutive games.
The Bearcats’ defense held Boswell to 230 total yards.
“We had something to prove tonight,” senior defensive tackle Wes Harris said. “We did not like the way we played the last time we played Boswell, and tonight was much better. It feels great to reach the state semifinals again.”