State-ranked No. 1 Aledo scored on five of its first six possessions and never looked back as the Bearcats ran past the Lucas Lovejoy Leopards, 62-28, Friday afternoon in a Class 5A, Region II area championship game at Pennington Field.
The win advances the Bearcats (12-0) to the regional semifinals. Aledo will play the winner of tonight’s South Oak Cliff/Frisco area game.
The Bearcats found the end zone on all three of their first-quarter possessions to take a 21-0 lead.
Aledo tailback Jase McClellan capped a 75-yard, four-play drive with a two-yard blast into the end zone off right tackle. The big play in the opening drive was 55-yard run by McClellan. Harper Smith booted the extra point as the Bearcats enjoyed a quick 7-0 lead.
After forcing Lovejoy to punt, on its second possession Aledo traveled 80 yards on 10 plays, scoring on a three-yard quarterback keeper by Jake Bishop, who after a fake handoff to McClellan walked into the end zone untouched.
Smith’s PAT kick with 4:33 left in the opening period increased the Aledo advantage to 14-0.
Lovejoy lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and it took just three plays for the Bearcats to find the end zone again. On third and four from the Lovejoy 13, Bishop fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jo Jo Earle. Smith’s PAT kick closed the first-quarter scoring as Aledo led 21-0.
Halfway through the second quarter the Bearcats put together a five-play, 34-yard drive that ended on a 14-yard blast off right tackle by McClellan for a TD. Smith added the PAT, and with 7:02 remaining in the opening half the Bearcats extended their lead to 28-0.
Lovejoy got on the board on its ensuing possession, using nine plays to travel 75 yards for a score. Lovejoy running back Jahi Rainey capped the drive with an eight-yard TD run, and with 4:03 left in the half Tyler Loop booted the extra point to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 28-7.
Aledo used its running game to get the score back. The drive was set up nicely at the Lovejoy 49 after a 43-yard kickoff return by Earle. McClellan carried two times – once for seven yards and another for 11 – before Bishop scooted four yards to the Lovejoy 22.
McClellan got the next carry, sprinting 21 yards down the right side to the Leopards’ 1. Two plays later, McClellan did the honors with a one-yard TD run off left tackle, and Smith’s kick increased the Aledo lead to 35-7, where it remained at the half.
McClellan rushed 18 times in the first half for 180 yards and three scores, and Bishop competed nine of 11 passes for 114 yards and a TD pass. Earle led all receivers in the first half with six catches for 99 yards.
The Bearcats reached the end zone on their first series of the second half. McClellan capped a 11-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run off left tackle. McClellan carried six times for 36 yards on the drive.
Smith added the PAT for a 42-7 cushion.
Lovejoy came back on its next possession, putting together a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended when quarterback Carson Collins hit receiver Jacob Terwilliger on an eight-yard fade pass for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. Collins completed six passes on the drive.
Loop added the PAT, and with 33 seconds remaining in the third period the Bearcats led 42-14.
The Bearcats answered on the first play of the fourth quarter when Bishop threw a perfect fade pass to his 6-5 receiver Fay, who caught the six-yard touchdown pass in stride with 11:57 left to play.
Micco Little booted the extra point to extend the lead to 49-14.
The Bearcats added a score on a two-yard plunge up the middle by Ryan Anderson with 7:09 remaining in the contest. Little’s PAT extended the lead to 56-14. The big play in the drive was a 74-yard run by McClellan from the AHS 1.
Lovejoy came back with a 22-yard touchdown run by Rainey, but the Bearcats matched the score on a 16-yard TD run up the middle by Anderson with 1:17 left to play.
Lovejoy closed the scoring on a 50-yard TD pass from Collins to Solomon Aweke.
McClellan came close to rushing for 300 yards, gaining 299 on 26 carries.
Bishop completed 11 of 14 passes for 142 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions.