Aledo came out of the gate on fire offensively and the defense created a pair of turnovers as the Bearcats ran past the Burleson Centennial Spartans, 63-30, Friday night in the District 5-5A, Division II opener at Bearcat Stadium.
The win elevates the Bearcats’ overall record to 2-1, 1-0 in 5-5A, while Centennial (2-1) suffered its first defeat of the season.
“Our defense did a good job and got some stops early in the game,” Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said. “But the big thing on defense was we created turnovers. We wanted to create stops and score early, and we did.
“The offensive line also played well – we are pretty good up front – and they have improved each week. Not bad for the fact that we have five new starters on the offensive line. But we have two really good offensive line coaches (Lee Bishop, Doug Wheeler) who along with their linemen work extremely hard.”
The Bearcats jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back.
The teams traded punts to begin the contest. On Centennial’s second possession the Spartans drove the ball into Bearcat territory but lost a fumble that was recovered by Aledo defensive lineman Logan Thurman.
The turnover led to the game’s first score.
The Bearcats turned the gift into a one-play touchdown drive. Quarterback Jake Bishop, on first down, dropped back and threw a deep spiral to the middle of the field where Jo Jo Earle caught the pass in stride to complete a 48-yard touchdown play.
Micco Little booted the extra point, and with 2:01 remaining in the opening period the Bearcats led 7-0.
After forcing Centennial to punt, the Bearcats marched to their second TD on a six-play, 88-yard drive that ended on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bishop to receiver Money Parks.
On the play, Bishop whipped a pass to the right side just beyond the line of scrimmage. Parks caught the ball in a crowd but turned on the jets and raced past four defenders and into the end zone.
The big play in the drive was a 49-yard run by Earle. Little added the PAT, and with 8:37 left in the first quarter the Bearcats enjoyed a 14-0 advantage.
Another Centennial turnover led to a third Aledo TD. Aledo’s Sam Forman recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and five plays later tailback Jase McClellan scored a one-yard touchdown run on fourth down and goal where the senior walked into the end zone untouched with 6:23 left in the first half.
Little added the PAT to extend the lead to 21-0.
Centennial came back with a long drive, traveling 71 yards on 12 plays and reaching the end zone on an eight-yard run by running back Jaylon Jackson with 1:20 left in the opening half. Centennial kicker Josh Garcia’s extra-point attempt sailed wide as Aledo led 21-6.
On their next possession, the Bearcats, starting at their own 34, gained 49 yards on first down after Bishop connected with Earle to advance the ball to the CHS 17. Two plays later, Bishop fired a strike to Parks in the middle for a 12-yard touchdown with 44 ticks left on the clock.
Little tacked on the extra point as Aledo increased its lead to 28-6.
Centennial came back with a six-play drive that ended on a 31-yard field goal by Garcia as time expired in the first half to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 28-9.
Bishop completed six of nine passes in the first half for 154 yards and three TDs. Earle caught three passes for 102 yards, and Parks caught two passes for 35 yards and a pair of TDs. McClellan rushed eight times for 44 yards and a score.
Aledo found the end zone on its first two possessions of the second half.
The first came on a 16-yard Bishop-to-Parks touchdown pass, and the second a nine-yard TD run by McClellan. Little added both PAT kicks as Aledo’s lead grew to 42-9.
Centennial came back with a big TD catch and run for the Spartans’ first score of the second half when quarterback Hank Meyer fired a pass in the middle of the field to running back Chris Mosely, who turned on the jets and sprinted past two defenders to complete a 69-yard touchdown.
Garcia booted the PAT to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 42-16 with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter.
Aledo quickly got the score back when McClellan raced down the left sideline for a 33-yard touchdown, and with 1:35 left in the third period the Bearcats increased their lead to 49-16.
Not to be deterred, the Spartans came back with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that was finished with a four-yard TD run by Meyer with 11:13 left to play. Garcia booted the PAT to cut the lead to 49-23.
Centennial recovered the ensuing onside kick, and two plays later running back Jeff Kirven scooted nine yards across the goal line with 10:32 left in the game. Garcia’s PAT cut the lead to 49-30.
The Bearcats came right back and scored on an eight-play, 72-yard drive. Bishop completed three passes in the drive, which ended on an 11-yard run through a huge hole off right tackle for a touchdown. The big play in the drive was a 36-yard run by McClellan.
With 7:07 left to play, Little’s PAT extended the lead to 56-30.
After Aledo stopped Centennial on downs, the Bearcats added a score, this time on a 380yard TD pass from bishop to Parks, his fourth touchdown reception of the game. With 4:41 left to play, Little added the PAT to increase the lead to 63-30.
Unofficially, Bishop completed 15 of 18 passes for 281 yards and five touchdowns. Parks caught six passes – four for TDs – for 109 yards, and Earle caught seven passes for 144 yards and a score. McClellan finished with 21 carries for 186 yards and four touchdowns.