Aledo has advanced to the second round of the playoffs after a convincing 77-7 victory over the Dallas Kimball Knights Friday night in a Class 5A, Division II bi-district playoff game at Bearcat Stadium.
The state-ranked No. 1 Bearcats (10-1) – currently on a 10-game winning streak – will advance to the area championship and face Royse City, a 42-21 winner over Lucas Lovejoy.
“The defense played extremely well,” Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said. “We created some turnovers and did not give up a touchdown. DeMarco had a nice game with an interception and a touchdown return off a field goal.
“The defense has gotten better every week and I am so proud of them for continuing to work hard and improve. We are so good in the secondary with Demarco and Nathen (Fingar), and our linebackers have also gotten better throughout the season.”
The Bearcats wasted little time getting in the end zone and scored a touchdown on their first four possessions.
After Jo Jo Earle returned the opening kickoff 49 yards to the Kimball 41, it took just three plays for the Bearcats to score. Quarterback Jake Bishop began the short drive by completing a 27-yard pass to Earle to the Kimball 14.
From that point, senior tailback Jase McClellan went to work. He carried the ball on consecutive plays, scoring from two yards out on his second rush as he walked into the end zone untouched.
Micco Little booted the extra point, and with 10:44 remaining in the opening quarter the Bearcats took a 7-0 lead.
After the Bearcats defense forced a punt, Aledo needed three plays to reach the end zone. Earle set the offense up with a 47-yard punt return which brought the ball to the Kimball 35.
McClellan carried twice to begin the drive – 10 and 16 yards, respectively – before Bishop ended the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Money Parks.
Little added the PAT for a 14-0 lead with 7:52 left in the first quarter.
On their next possession, once again it took just three plays for the Bearcats to find the end zone. McClellan carried for 24 yards on first down, and on the next play, Bishop fired a 20-yard TD pass to Cade Jones in the middle of the end zone.
With 4:25 left in the opening period, Little added the PAT for a 21-0 cushion.
An interception by cornerback DeMarco Roberts set up the next Aledo touchdown.
On its longest drive of the half – eight plays covering 95 yards – Aledo found the end zone again on a 3-yard run to pay dirt by McClellan. Bishop completed three passes in the drive, and also added a 27-yard run.
Little’s PAT with 9:49 left in the half extended the lead to 28-0.
After the teams traded punts, the Knights were driving when AHS cornerback Collin Johnson stripped the ball from a Kimball ball carrier and a hustling B.J. Allen scooped the loose pigskin and carried it 43 yards to the end zone.
Little’s kick with 6:03 left in the half increased the lead to 35-0.
The Bearcats added a score on an 11-yard Bishop-to-Parks touchdown pass for a 42-0 lead before the Aledo defense again got into the scoring act.
On the final play of the half, Kimball had the ball at the Aledo 35 and much to the crowd’s surprise lined up to attempt a 52-yard field goal.
The kick, however, was blocked by Roberts, who competed a scoop-and-score by returning the blocked kick 50 yards for a touchdown. Little’s PAT gave the Bearcats a 49-0 lead at the break.
“I got to the punter too quick,” Roberts said., “so I decided to act like Bruce Lee and I leaned back and kicked my leg up. The ball hit the bottom of my foot, and when I got my balance I saw the ball and picked it up. I knew I was going to score when I picked up the ball.”
In the first half, Bishop completed 11 of 11 passes for 242 yards and three TDs. McClellan rushed 89 yards on 12 carries, and he caught three passes for 94 yards. Earle caught four passes 70 yards in the first half.
When the Bearcats got the ball in the third quarter, Bishop needed just two passes to lead the team to pay dirt. His first pass was a 13-yarder to Earle, and Kimball was also called for a 15-yard face mask penalty.
On the next play, Bishop tossed a pass in the middle to Earle, who looked like he was running into trouble in the secondary. However, Earle switched to a different gear and ran past three defenders and across the goal line.
Little’s kick extended the lead to 56-0.
The Bearcats added a score with 10:36 left in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard TD run by Jeremiah James, with Little adding the extra point for a 63-0 lead.
Aledo continued its scoring parade when James scored on a 17-yard run, but Kimball got on the board when Jeremiah Payne returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards to the end zone.
Aledo closed the scoring on a 17-yard TD run by Ford Maberry as Little’s PAT extended the lead to 77-7.
The Bearcats finished with 621 total yards, including 323 through the air.
“The offensive line did a good job,” Buchanan said. “Both fronts – the first and second groups. They were able to handle Kimball up front.”