No. 1 Aledo moves on to the fourth round of the playoffs after a convincing 34-14 victory over Red Oak Friday night in a Class 5A, Division II, Region II semifinal at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The win – the 12th in a row for Aledo – advances the Bearcats (12-1) to the regional finals where they will face Ennis. Game time, date and location have yet to be determined.
The game’s tone was set early when Red Oak took the opening kickoff and drove to the Aledo 1-yard line. However, the Bearcats’ defense stiffened, and after two plays the Hawks lost two yards. On third down Red Oak appeared to have scored on a touchdown pass, but the Hawks were called for an illegal lineman down field.
Aledo defender Keenan Hess sacked quarterback Joshua Ervin for a 12-yard loss before the Hawks missed a 37-yard field goal.
Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said the defensive stand gave Aledo extra momentum.
“If we had given up a touchdown there it probably would have been a different football game,” he said. “Red Oak would have gained confidence and we wouldn’t of had as much. I am so proud of our defense.
“When you look at where they were after (Denton) Guyer (where the Bearcats gave up 60 points) to where we ended up tonight against a team that is pretty close to as explosive as Guyer…our kids went out and played their tails off. I am proud of them.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bearcats got on the board almost halfway through the second stanza on a 62-yard sprint by tailback Jase McClellan.
The drive began after Aledo forced Red Oak out on downs. Quarterback Jake Bishop completed a pair of passes in the drive, which covered 82 yards on four plays.
Micco Little booted the extra point, and with 8:45 remaining in the second quarter the Bearcats led 7-0.
The Bearcats defense once again forced a three and out, and on fourth down the Hawks were punting from their own 41.
However, the snap flew over the Red Oak’s punter’s head, and hustling Aledo defender B.J. Allen picked the loose pigskin up at the 10 and danced into the end zone with 7:11 left in the half.
Little added the extra point for a 14-0 cushion.
Another Aledo defensive effort set up the Bearcats’ next score.
Aledo safety Nathen Fingar intercepted an Ervin pass at the Aledo 25, but after the pick-off AHS was called for an illegal block in the back and began the drive at its 14.
The Bearcats marched to the Red Oak 19 on 11 plays – the big play a 32-yard pass from Bishop to receiver Cade Jones – but the drive stalled as Little was called on to attempt a 36-yard field goal.
But Aledo was called for illegal procedure on the play, so Buchannan put the offense back on the field. On fourth down and 11 from the Hawks’ 24, Bishop fired a bullet down the middle to receiver Jo Jo Earle, who was tackled at the Red Oak 1.
On the next play, McClellan went off tackle and into the end zone from a yard out, and Little’s PAT kick gave the Bearcats a 21-0 lead, where it remained at the half.
McClellan gained 107 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns as Aledo rushed for 124 yards in the first half. Bishop completed six of 12 passes for 103 yards, with Earle catching four passes for 54 yards.
Aledo held Red Oak to 127 total yards in the first half.
On their second possession of the second half, the Bearcats added to their lead on a six-yard TD pass from Bishop to Earle with 3:40 left in third quarter. The big play in the drive was a 32-yard scramble by Bishop that brought the ball deep in Red Oak territory.
Little added the PAT for a 28-0 advantage.
Red Oak reached the end zone for the first time when Ervin threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to receiver Coby Cavill with 7:47 left in the game. The PAT failed as the Hawks cut the Bearcats’ lead to 28-6.
Each team concluded the contest with a trip to the end zone. Aledo reached pay dirt on an 18-yard run down the left sideline by Jeremiah James with 2:49 left to play to cap a 10-play drive, but the PAT was missed as Aledo stretched its advantage to 34-6.
Red Oak closed the scoring on a two-yard TD run by C.J. Palmer, with Cavill running in the two-point conversion to leave the score at 34-14.
McClellan finished with 187 yards on 20 carries as Aledo finished with unofficially 383 total yards.