Taking care of business, the state-ranked No. 1 Aledo Bearcats cruised past the Seagoville Dragons, 48-13, in a Class 5A bi-district playoff game Thursday night at Bearcat Stadium.
The Bearcats (11-0) will advance to the area round and face the winner of Friday’s Kaufman/Lucas Lovejoy opening-round playoff game. Tentatively, the kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 at Pennington Field no matter the opponent.
“The kids came ready to play,” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “That is what matters. It is not about the opponent, it is about us being ready. Honestly, it has been that way for the last few weeks, and they are a mature group that has stayed focused.
“We are glad to be playing one more week. We are going to enjoy this and get back to work.”
The Bearcats scored on their first five possessions of the first half, and it was the Jake Bishop to Hampton Fay show.
The junior quarterback threw three touchdown passes to the sophomore receiver – who is also the backup signal caller – as Fay caught six passes for 147 yards in the opening half.
But it was junior tailback Jase McClellan who put the ‘Cats on the board first. On the touchdown play from the Seagoville 13, McClellan darted to his right, but smartly slowed down to wait for receiver Jordan Montes to lay the block that gave McClellan a passageway to pay dirt.
Harper Smith kicked the extra point as Aledo led 7-0 with 8:57 remaining in the opening stanza.
After forcing Seagoville to punt, the Bearcats put together a six-play, 87-yard drive that concluded with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Bishop to Fay. Bishop completed four of four passes on the drive, including strikes to McClellan (10 yards), Micco Little (10 yards) and Montes (15 yards).
Smith’s PAT with 3:34 left in the first quarter extended the lead to 14-0.
Seagoville gained negative yardage on its next possession, and the Bishop-to-Fay connection struck again, this time from 11 yards. On the play, after catching the pass and racing 10 yards down the left sideline, Fay was stopped at the SHS 1, but the 6-5 receiver stretched the ball over the goal line for the score with 11:50 remaining in the second period.
Smith’s PAT increased the Bearcats’ lead to 21-0.
After stopping the Dragons on downs, Bishop engineered a six-play, 63-yard drive that was closed on a one-yard, walk-in TD by McClellan. The big play in the drive was a 25-yard pass from Bishop to Mylen Hayhurst.
Little booted the extra point, and with 6:25 remining in the half the Bearcats stretched their lead to 28-0.
After forcing a fourth SHS punt, it took just one play for Aledo to find the end zone again.
On first down from the AHS 31, Bishop dropped back to pass and threw the ball as far as he could. The pass was perfect as Fay caught the ball in stride down the middle and easily beat single coverage to complete a 69-yard touchdown.
“When I saw I had single coverage (before the snap) I thought I would have a good chance to score,” Fay said. “Once I ran past (his single defender) I caught the ball and easily scored. Jake threw a perfect ball.”
The PAT failed as the Bearcats led 34-0.
The Bearcats closed the first-half scoring when Bishop scrambled out of his pocket to the left side, hesitated for a moment to look for a possible late-breaking receiver, then tucked the ball and sprinted 11 yards to the end zone, outracing three defenders with 59 ticks left on the clock.
Little booted the extra point to extend the Bearcats’ lead to 41-0, where it remained at the half.
McClellan gained 137 yards on 11 carries, and Bishop completed 12 of 13 passes for 242 yards in the opening half.
The Bearcats’ defense allowed just 48 total yards in the first half.
Receiving the second-half kickoff, it took just two plays for the Bearcats to score. Fay, now at quarterback, completed a short pass to receiver Tripp Jones, who sprinted past five defenders before being forced out of bounds at the SHS 10 to complete a 56-yard play.
On the next play, tailback Ryan Anderson swept left for 10 yards and a touchdown. Smith added the PAT to increase the lead to 48-0.
Seagoville finally got on the board late in the third quarter with a 12-play, 70-yard drive that ended on a two-yard touchdown run by running back Charzay Morris with 3:54 left in the third period. Nahin Sanchez booted the extra point to cut the Aledo lead to 48-7.
Seagoville closed the scoring on a four-yard TD run by Morris to cut the lead to 48-13. The PAT failed.
“I thought Jake was spot on in his (passing) accuracy,” Wood said. “Hampton (Fay) also had a nice game.”