Aledo junior tailback Jase McClellan rushed for 184 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the state-ranked No. 1 Bearcats to a 26-16 victory over the No. 9 Frisco Reedy Lions on a chilly Saturday afternoon in a Class 5A, Division II, Region II final game at Northwest ISD Stadium.
The win raises the Bearcats’ record to 14-0, while Reedy finishes with a 13-1 mark. Aledo will advance to the state semifinals and face Wichita Falls Rider, the Region I champion, in the state semifinals.
The state semifinal game will kick off at 8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“It was a physical game, and Reedy is a great football team, but we are too,” Bearcats head coach Steve Wood said. “I am proud of our kids. We get to get out of here with a win, and we get to play another week.
“We got some kids on defense that got knocked down, so we had some kids who needed to step up, and they did. The kids came out ready to roll, and our running game was key. We just let the big Horse (McClellan) run behind those big ol’ hogs on the offensive line.”
Both teams had long drives to begin the contest, and both drives ended on interceptions.
Reedy drove to the AHS 26 on 14 plays, but on a pass to the end zone Aledo cornerback Jo Jo Earle thwarted the drive with a diving interception in the back of the end zone.
Aledo countered with a nine-play drive that ended on the Reedy 21 when Lions’ defensive back Cooper Wilson.
When Reedy got the ball back the Lions dove the ball on eight plays to the Aledo 29 before the drive stalled.
Will Harbour kicked career-best 46-yard field goal to give the Lion a 3-0 lead with 10:12 remaining in the second quarter.
Now trailing, Aledo turned to McClellan, and the junior tailback carried the ball three times for 12 yards before quarterback Jake Bishop did the honors on runs of 3 and 11 yards, the second carry for a first down at the Lions’ 43.
On the next play, McClellan turned on the jets and outraced four defenders down the right sideline and into the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown with 7:26 left in the half.
Harper Smith booted the extra point as the Bearcats took a 7-3 lead.
After forcing a Reedy punt, the Bearcats’ offense went back to work. On the second play of the drive, McClellan ripped a zig-zagging 59-yard run that started up the middle before ending on the right sideline at the Lions 14.
However, the Reedy defense stiffened and Aledo faced a third and nine from the RHS 13. On third down, Bishop fired a strike to receiver Jordan Montes for a pickup of nine yards and a first down at the Reedy 4.
McClellan took it home from there. After a three-yard gain by the Oklahoma commit brought the ball to the 1, McClellan blasted across the goal line from a yard out to give the Bearcats a 13-3 lead with 2:14 left in the half.
The PAT attempt failed, and Reedy failed to move the ball on the final possession of the half as the Bearcats took a 10-point lead into the locker room at the break.
McClellan rushed 13 times in the first half for 138 yards, while Bishop completed three of five passes for 32 yards and an interception.
Leading by 10 points, the Bearcats put on a ball-control display in the third quarter. Aledo received the second-half kickoff, but instead of running on first down, Bishop fooled the Lions with a sideline pass to Wyatt Harris for a 24-yard gain to the AHS 40.
From there, it was all McClellan. The Horse carried the ball on seven of the Bearcats’ next eight plays, amassing 22 yards. His last carry brought the ball to the Reedy 7. But Reedy’s defense forced a fourth and eight from its nine, and Smith came in and booted a 26-yard field goal to give the Bearcats a 16-6 cushion.
The drive – which covered 59 yards on 12 plays – took 6:35 off the clock.
Reedy went three and out on its ensuing possession, and the Bearcats followed with another drive that produced a field goal, this one a 24-yard effort by Smith that stretched the Bearcats’ lead to 19-3 with 11:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
In the third quarter, the Bearcat had the ball for 11 minutes and two seconds, with the two drives in the third and fourth periods taking 11:53 of the clock, which in affect kept the ball away from the Reedy offense.
Reedy showed why it was undefeated coming into the contest on its next drive. The Lions drove 71 yards on 14 plays, the final snap producing a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Josh Foskey. The Lions’ two-point attempt failed as Aledo led 19-9 with 7:48 left in the game.
Using all running plays – and taking a page out of last week’s playbook in the win over South Oak Cliff – the ‘Cats drove 64 yards on nine plays that ended on a gritty, five-yard touchdown run by McClellan, his third of the contest.
With 2:55 left to play, Smith added the PAT to increase the lead to 26-9.
Reedy closed the scoring on a two-yard plunge off left tackle by Foskey, and the PAT cut the Bearcats’ lead to 26-16.
On its net possession, Aledo ran out the clock to clinch the win.
“We do not worry about who we are playing,” Bishop said. “We work hard all week to be the best Bearcats team we can be. If we control what we do we feel we will come out on top.”