In the 2016 season opener at Mustang-Panther Stadium in Grapevine, the Aledo Bearcats and Colleyville Heritage Panthers staged a fast-paced and entertaining contest that saw the two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense and 77 points as Aledo came out on top with the help of a last-minute interception to secure a 41-36 victory.
This year, the venue has flipped. The Bearcats and Panthers will open the season again in a much-anticipated matchup with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff today (Friday, Sept. 1) at Bearcat Stadium.
Bearcats sophomore quarterback Jake Bishop will make his first start on varsity for Aledo. His brothers, Matt and Luke, combined for five state championships at quarterback for Aledo.
“The kids trust Jake,” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “They have seen him push himself in the offseason so they know they can count on him to go work and prepare, and I think there is just a lot of faith in his will to go win. Everybody just doesn’t have that.
“It doesn’t matter if he is playing horseshoes or playing H-O-R-S-E on the basketball court or Monopoly at home, Jake is one of those that is going to compete and do whatever he can to win. The guys know that, and they want a guy like that back there touching the ball on every snap.”
Heritage will have a new starting quarterback this year as well, and could possibly play two QBs tonight. Senior Landry French took most of the first-team snaps last week in the Panthers’ scrimmage, with senior Jagger LaRoe the likely backup.
But the Panthers’ strength is at wide receiver with senior Ke’Von Ahmad and junior Kam Brown. Ahmad had a big game last year against the Bearcats, catching seven passes for 106 yards while scoring three touchdowns.
“Heritage has some talent out wide,” Wood said. “Same guys, Ahmad and Brown, that we saw last year. Ahmad is very explosive, and he is as talented as anyone you would ever see. I think he ran a 10.4, 10.5 in the 100 meters. He can go. Not only is he fast, but he is a good route runner, has great hands and he competes for balls.
““We have got to contain their speed, particularly the speed of their wide outs. We need to get them on the ground and not let them big-play us. The tempo, speed of their offense is very fast. They snap the ball fast; they get the line fast. It is a big first game, and we need to get the calls right on defense and keep our heads and wits about us when things are going very, very fast.”
For a more comprehensive advance on the game see The Community News, available at retailers in East Parker County, or The Community News office, 203 Pecan Drive, Aledo.
The game will be blogged live on The Community News web site and Facebook page.