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No. 1 Bearcats bury Rider, 72-13

Aledo defenders Wyatt Harris (25) and Cullen Johnson (14) take down a Rider ball carrier during the Bearcats' 72-13 win over Rider Thursday night in a bi-district playoff game. Photo by Karen Towery

Scoring on their first nine possessions, the Class 5A state-ranked No. 1 Aledo Bearcats rolled over Wichita Falls Rider, 72-13, Thursday night in a bi-district game at Rough Rider Stadium in Saginaw.

The Bearcats will advance to the area round and face Grapevine. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 at Midlothian.

“I thought we played well,” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “But I want to set the record straight – we weren’t happy with last week (a 35-26 win over Boswell). I am not in any way taking anything away from Boswell – you have to give Boswell credit –  but we had a score to settle tonight and we came out ready to play.

“We coached them hard all week, and our kids came out focused and hungry. Our offense was on fire, and scoring touchdowns on the first nine possessions is something to be proud of. Best part was we got to play a lot of kids, including freshmen and sophomores.”

Senior defensive end Colt Ellison echoed Wood, saying the defense was not happy about last week’s performance despite the win.

“I have to admit we weren’t as focused as we needed to be against Boswell,” Ellison said. “Tonight, we came out focused and ready to play, and it showed.”

An interception by linebacker Jake Mclendon set up the first Aledo touchdown.

The drive was comprised of six running plays, with sophomore quarterback Jake Bishop doing the honors on a 13-yard keeper for a touchdown. Jase McClellan rushed for 49 yards on three carries during the drive, including a 33-yard gain.

Cole Daniels booted the extra point to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead with 8:26 remaining in the opening quarter.

After forcing a Rider punt, Aledo scored again on its next possession. Aledo mixed pass and run on the seven-play drive, that ended on a 26-yard pass from Bishop to Tre Owens with 4:30 left in the opening period.

On the TD play, Bishop’s passing pocket collapsed, and he began to scramble. But Bishop suddenly pulled up, spotted Owens wide open on the left sideline, and hit Owens in stride as he raced untouched to the end zone. Bishop completed passes of 12 yards twice in the drive. Daniels added the PAT to extend the lead to 14-0.

Rider used the big play to get on the board on the Raiders’ ensuing possession. Quarterback Jorge Vargas fired a pass to receiver Samuel Manuel, who sprinted 35 yards after catching the pass to the Aledo 1.

On the next play, running back Brandon Bolton blasted into a pile off right tackle and crossed the goal line to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 14-6 with 2:42 left in the first quarter. The PAT failed.

Aledo wasted little time in getting the score back, using four running plays to find the end zone. McClellan ended the four-play, 53-yard drive with a 20-yard TD run off left tackle. With 1:44 left in the first period, Daniels added the PAT for a 21-6 lead.

Another interception by Mclendon set up the Bearcats’ fourth touchdown. With the ball at Rider’s 18, receiver Hunter Rosson scooted 13 yards to the Rider 5 on a reverse. On the next play, McClellan raced untouched to the end zone down the right side, and Daniels’ kick increased the Aledo lead to 28-6 with 1:17 left in the first quarter.

Remarkably, the Bearcats scored again before the opening period ended.  Lineman Christian Duncan intercepted a screen pass and rambled down to the Raiders’ 9. On first and goal, McClellan went off right tackle, made a spin move at the 3 and waltzed into the end zone with seven ticks left on the clock.

Daniels’ PAT extended the lead to 35-6.

After forcing Rider to punt, the Bearcats reached the end zone for the sixth time in as many drives. Bishop found receiver Money Parks wide open in the middle, and the sophomore cradled the pass and sprinted to the end zone to complete a 31-yard play. Daniels’ PAT extended the lead to 42-6 with 9:47 left in the half.

Rider punted on its ensuing drive, and the Bearcats reached pay dirt for the seventh time in seven possessions. McClellan ended the two-play drive with an 82-yard sprint down the left sideline where he outraced six Rider defenders to the end zone. Daniels’ kick with eight minutes left in the half extended the lead to 49-6.

Aledo added two more TDs before the half ended. The first came on a 64-yard pass from Bishop to Rosson to end a one-play drive, and the second on another one-play drive – a 54-yard sprint to pay dirt by Owens for a 63-6 lead (Daniels had the PAT on Rosson’s score and Will Turner booted the extra point after Owens’ score.)

Aledo had nine possessions to this point, and scored a touchdown on all nine. Reserve Collin Johnson intercepted a Vargas pass as Aledo forced four turnovers in the opening half.

Using mainly sub-varsity players, the 10th Aledo drive stalled but not after freshman tailback JoJo Earl rushed four times for 34 yards.

McClellan finished the first half with 187 yards on 11 carries and four touchdowns.

Rider scored first in the third quarter on a 78-yard Vargas pas to receiver Jake Edgemon. Colsen Welch kicked the PAT to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 63-13.

In the third quarter, Earle scored his first-ever varsity touchdown.He took a handoff and sprinted down the right sideline, and broke two tackles near the goal line before diving in end zone. With 5:33 left in the third period, Jack Phillips kicked the extra point for a 70-13 lead.

Aledo took a 72-13 lead when on a punt Rider snapped the ball out of the end zone with 3:03 remaining in the third period.

There was no scoring in the fourth quarter.


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