By Nolan Ruth
The Community News
Last week the Bearcats set the record for the latest game in a calendar year. Last week’s game kicked off at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 24.
This week they will set the inverse record for earliest they have played in a calendar year. On Jan. 1, we will ring in the new year with Bearcat football at Globe Life Park in Arlington. This is the eighth year in a row the Bearcats will appear in the regional final but only the second time they will face the Lucas Lovejoy Leopards.
Back in 2018 when Jake Bishop and Jase McClellan were juniors, the Bearcats faced Lovejoy in the second round at Pennington Field and came out victorious, 62-28. However, this is a different Aledo team, and a very different Lovejoy team. For starters, the Leopards have a new head coach at the helm: Chris Ross. That name should sound familiar, as Ross was the head coach at Red Oak last year when Aledo beat the Hawks in the third round.
Ross came in and immediately turned Lovejoy into an offensive machine. The team is averaging more than 50 points a game and is in perfect form. Quarterback R.W. Rucker and receiver Reid Westervelt are the anchor of the high flying Leopard offense.
Despite the Leopards’ high scoring, they have one massive weakness: defense. Lovejoy has struggled defensively all season and has relied on outscoring their opponents to reach a 13-0 record. With that said, the keys for Aledo are clear: stop the passing game, and score as often as possible.
If you are looking for one more comparison, both teams have faced three common opponents his season. Lovejoy played Everman and Mansfield Timberview, district rivals of Aledo, in the second and third rounds of the playoffs respectively. And Frisco, Aledo’s last opponent, is a district rival for Lovejoy.
Aledo-Lovejoy records against common opponents:
- vs. Everman: Aledo 37-0, Lovejoy 49-21
- vs. Mansfield Timberview: Aledo 44-28, Lovejoy 64-50
- vs. Frisco: Aledo 45-27, Lovejoy 38-28
The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the semifinals and face the winner of Lubbock Cooper vs. Wichita Falls Rider.