Winning their ongoing state-record 90th consecutive district contest, the No. 1 Aledo Bearcats grounded the Joshua Owls, 42-0, in a District 5-5A, Division II football game Friday night at Bearcat Stadium.
The win elevates the first-place Bearcats to 7-0 in district play and 8-1 overall, while Joshua falls to 1-6 in league play. Aledo will conclude district play Nov. 8 at Arlington Seguin.
It was the second time in three games the Bearcats’ defense shut out its opponent.
“The defense played well,” Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan said. “They bent just a little at times, but never broke.
“The guys have figured out what (the opponents offense) is trying to do to us and they have been good at getting quickly to the ball. I thought everybody on defense played well.
“I thought the offense was smooth and (quarterback) Jake (Bishop) found a lot of different receivers. It was a good game on both sides of the ball.”
The Bearcats scored on every possession in the first half – with the exception of a two-play drive on the last two plays of the second quarter – to put the game away early.
The first Bearcats drive ended on a 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Bishop to receiver Money Parks to complete a six-play, 57-yard drive. Micco Little booted the extra point as Aledo led 7-0.
Aledo found the end zone four times in the second period, with the first foray into the end zone coming on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Bishop to Little, who also added the PAT for a 14-0 lead. The opening play of the 2-play drive was a 57-yard pass from Bishop to receiver Jo Jo Earle.
After forcing Joshua to punt, Bishop completed a four-play, 83-yard drive with a 50-yard TD pass to Earle on a flea flicker with 7:06 remaining in the half.
The play began with Bishop handing off to Earle, who at the snap was lined up wide left. As Earle came across the middle he pitched the ball backwards to Parks, who flipped the ball back to Bishop, who tossed a pass to the right side to the uncovered Earle who sprinted untouched into the end zone.
Little’s kick extended the lead to 21-0.
The Bearcats’ defense got into the scoring act next when on the Owls’ ensuing possession linebacker Keenan Hess intercepted Nyke Martin’s pass across the middle and returned the ball 30 yards to pay dirt with 6:15 left in the half.
Little added the PAT to increase the lead to 28-0.
“Keenan did a great job of reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball,” Buchanan said. “I like it when we score on defense.”
Aledo closed the first-half scoring when receiver Cade Jones caught a 24-yard TD pass from Bishop. Little’s PAT gave the Bearcats 35-0 lead, where it remained at the half.
Bishop – who threw a TD pass to four different receivers – completed nine of nine passes for 190 yards in the first half, with Earle catching four passes for 121 yards.
The Bearcats’ defense held Joshua to 103 total yards in the opening half.
Receiving the second-half kickoff, the Bearcats marched 74 yards on 11 plays and scored on an eight-yard Bishop-to-Earle pass on the right side of the end zone. Little’s PAT extended the Bearcats’ lead to 42-0 with 8:25 remaining in the third period.
There was no scoring in the fourth quarter.
Jeremiah James led the Bearcats on the ground with 13 carries for 102 yards.
The Bearcats defense held Joshua to 136 total yards.