No. 1 Aledo started off strong and never looked back as the Bearcats rolled to a 52-24 victory over the Royse City Bulldogs Friday night in a Class 5A, Division II, Region II area championship game at SMU.
The Bearcats (11-1) will advance to the regional semifinals and play Red Oak at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
It took just three plays for the Bearcats to gain a lead they would never relinquish.
Senior tailback Jase McClellan carried for eight yards on first down before quarterback Jake Bishop connected with receiver Money Parks for a five-yard gain and a first down at the Aledo 49.
On the next play, McClellan, behind textbook blocking, went off left tackle and bounced outside to complete a 51-yard touchdown run with 10:51 remaining in the opening period. Micco Little booted the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.
After forcing Royse City to punt, Aledo needed only one play to reach the end zone again. On first down from the Aledo 27, Bishop, on a run-pass option, opted to pass over the middle to receiver Money Parks, who turned on the jets for a 73-yard score.
Little’s PAT with 8:49 left in the first extended the lead to 14-0.
Royse City got on the board on their following drive with a 40-yard field goal by Colton Dawkins with 5:13 left in the opening quarter to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 14-3. The field goal completed an 82-yard, 15-play drive.
The teams traded punts, and Aledo started its final drive of the first quarter from its own 13.
Bishop and McClellan gained most of the yardage in a 10-play, 83-yard touchdown drive. McClellan began the drive with a 21-yard run, and after Bishop completed a 21-yard pass to Jo Jo Earle, McClellan then raced for nine yards to the RC 38.
Bishop and Earle hooked up again, this time for 26 yards, and two plays later, McClellan – using a nifty stutter-step move to cut outside – scored from seven yards out with 9:37 left in the second quarter.
Little’s PAT increased the Bearcats’ advantage to 21-3.
Royse City punted on its next two possession and gave up the ball on downs on its final drive of the first half.
Meanwhile, Royse City defensive back Damon Dozier ended consecutive Aledo drives with a pair of interceptions. A final AHS drive ended as time expired at the RC 37.
McClellan rushed 14 times for 154 yards in the first half. Bishop completed nine of 15 passes, and Money Parks led Bearcats’ receivers with three catches for 81 yards.
An interception by B.J. Allen on RC’s opening drive of the third quarter set up the next Bearcats’ touchdown.
McClellan was the workhorse once again, carrying six times in the nine-play, 58-yard drive, his final carry a three-yard blast off right tackle into the end zone with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter. Little added the extra point to extend the lead to 28-3.
Royse City came back on its next possession and put together an eight-play, 64-yard drive that was closed on a 14-yard pass from Oliver to Ketron Jackson, who made a juggling catch at the Aledo 1 and backed into the end zone with 3:56 left in the third.
Dawkins’ kick cut the Aledo advantage to 28-10.
The Bulldogs’ joy, however, was short lived as McClellan took a handoff on Aledo’s first play of its next possession and raced 52 yards to pay dirt. Little’s PAT extended the lead to 35-10.
An interception by Aledo safety Nathen Fingar set up the next Bearcats’ score. On first down, Bishop found an opening on the right sideline and sprinted 25 yards to the RC 6.
On the next play, McClellan scored his fifth TD of the game on a six-yard run off left tackle with 3:25 left in the third period. Little’s PAT increased the Bearcats’ lead to 42-10. McClellan would finish with a game-high 240 yards on 22 carries.
The Bearcats forced another RC punt and were set up at the Bulldogs’ 37. The drive stalled after nine plays but three points were salvaged after a 25-yard field goal by Little that increased the Bearcats’ cushion to 45-10 with 11:42 left to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Allen recovered a fumble on a squib kick to put the Bearcats in business at the Bulldogs’ 27. Bishop faced a fourth and seven from the RC 24 and completed a 21-yard pass to Jaedon Pellegrino to the RC 3.
On the next play, Max Lucas – also a starting linebacker – carried the ball over the goal line from three yards and Little added the PAT for a 52-10 advantage.
Royse City closed the scoring with a pair of TDs late in the fourth quarter, the first on a six-yard TD pass from Oliver to Jackson, and the pair hooked up again for an 88-yard touchdown pass play. Dawkins booted both PATs to leave the score at 52-24.
Bishop completed 15 of 24 passes for 216 yards, with Earle catching five passes for 73 yards.