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Bearcats win 80th consecutive district game with 56-20 victory over Cleburne

Aledo quarterback Jake Bishop sprints into the secondary during the Bearcats' 56-20 win over Cleburne Friday night at Yellow Jacket Stadium. Photo by Howard Hurd

Aledo tailback Jase McClellan scored four touchdowns to lead the No. 1 Bearcats to a convincing 56-20 victory over Cleburne Friday night in a District 5-5A, Division II game at Yellow Jacket Stadium.

The win – Aledo’s state-record 80th consecutive district win – raises the Bearcats’ 5-5A mark to 5-0 and 7-0 overall.

Aledo scored on its first drive of the game, the 15th consecutive full possession the Bearcats had scored a touchdown.

McClellan scored his first touchdown of the game on the drive, crashing over left tackle and into the end zone from a yard out.

Harper Smith booted the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.

A sack by Aledo defensive end Colt Ellison on third down forced a Cleburne punt on the Yellow Jackets next possession.

A holding call on the Bearcats forced a third-and-18 situation on the AHS 18, and quarterback Jake Bishop’s screen pass was picked off by Cleburne linebacker Gibson Beyer, who returned it 15 yards for a touchdown with 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Trenton Jonsson kicked the extra point to tie the contest, 7-7.

After forcing Cleburne to punt, it appeared Tre Owens ran the punt back 68 yards for a touchdown. But officials ruled holding on AHS, which moved the ball back to the AHS 39.

Unruffled, Bishop engineered a nine-play, 61-yard rive ending on a 25-yard touchdown run by McClellan. On the play, McClellan darted to the right sideline and raced untouched into the end zone.

The only pass in the drive was a 12-yard pass from Bishop to receiver Hampton Fay. Bishop rushed three times in the drive for 20 yards, including a two-yard keeper on fourth and one from the CHS 25.

With 7:02 left in the first half, Smith added the PAT to give the Bearcats a 14-7 lead.

Cleburne was forced to punt again, and this time there was no holding call as Owens ran the punt back 50 yards to set up the offense at the CHS 15.

It was all McClellan from that point. The big junior carried for 3, 9 and 2 yards to move the ball to the hosts’ 1. On the next play, McClellan carried the pack over the goal line up the middle, and Smith’s kick with 3:13 left in the half increased the Bearcats’ lead to 21-7.

On its ensuing possession, Cleburne gained three yards and was forced to punt from its own 14. But the snap skipped off the soggy turf as the Yellow Jackets punter fumbled the ball, and Aledo recovered at the CHS 2.

Two plays later, McClellan bullied his way into the end zone off left tackle for his fourth TD of the half. With 1:04 remaining in the half, the extra-point kick was blocked, leaving the Bearcats with a 27-7 lead which it remained at the half.

McClellan rushed 16 times in the opening half for 63 yards and four scores.

Aledo scored on its first possession of the second half when tailback Avery Jackson went untouched down the left side and scored on a 34-yard run. Smith’s extended the AHS advantage to 34-7.

On Cleburne’s first possession of the second half, the Bearcats forced a punt and found the end zone again, and again Jackson did the honors, this time from 8 yards out with 7:53 left in the third period.

The PAT failed as Aledo increased its lead to 40-7.

On its following drive, Cleburne used a 43-yard pass completion from quarterback Gunner Hammond to receiver Isaak Cunningham to set up a touchdown. The pass brought the ball to the Aledo 10, and Hammond kept for nine yards on the next play.

On second and goal from the 1, running back Jack Reynolds plowed over from a yard out to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 40-13. The PAT failed.

Aledo added to its lead when Smith kicked a 32-yard field with 9:06 left to play that extended the lead to 43-13.

After forcing Cleburne out on downs, the Bearcats had possession at the CHS 25. Jackson took over from there, carrying for 4 yards and again for 25 to bring the ball to the CHS 1. On the next play, Jackson carried up the middle and into the end zone to push the lead to 49-13.

The PAT was blocked.

The Bearcats got the ball back on Cleburne’s next possession when Preston Crawford blocked a Yellow Jackets punt to set up the Aledo offense at the CHS 23.

Aledo added another score with 2:32 left to play when Fay, now playing quarterback, walked into the end zone from two yards out down the left side, and Smith’s kick increased the lead to 56-13.

Cleburne ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 56-20.

Aledo ran out the remainder of the clock to stay in first place in District 5-5A.

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