By Nolan Ruth
The Community News
The Texas High School Football season is off and running, and following Aledo’s win over rival Weatherford, the Bearcats faced a big test in the Frisco Lone Star Rangers. The Bearcats got out to a big first half lead and were able to hold off a Lone Star comeback to win 45-35.
The fireworks started early when Ryan Williams took the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown to give the Bearcats a quick 7-0 lead. The Bearcat defense then went to work right away, not allowing a first down in the first two Lone Star drives. The Bearcats’ Dahvon Keys added more offensive momentum with a 15-yard touchdown run while dragging defenders. Aledo led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bearcat offense was not able to capitalize on a Jaden Allen interception early in the second quarter, and Lone Star got on the board on the next drive with an eight-yard touchdown run. Just more than a minute of game time later, Aledo responded when Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi hit BJ Fleming along the sideline, and Fleming raced 75 yards to the end zone.
With less than a minute remaining before halftime, Nicolosi did it again by hitting Jason Llewellyn on the fade in the end zone to give the Bearcats a 28-7 lead going into the locker room.
“We knew coming in that they were a good team,” defensive lineman Kyle “Boogie” Thompson said about the big first half. “Really we knew they weren’t going to run on us. We knew they were going to pass the whole game. They got that one score because of one miscommunication but we can definitely fix that next week.”
Lone Star was not going to go down easily though. On the first drive of the second half, Oklahoma State commit Garret Rangel quarterbacked his team down the field and into the end zone to close the gap. On the ensuing drive, Aledo kicker Clay Murador widened the gap with a 20 yard field goal to make it a 31-14 Aledo lead.
Within three minutes of Murador’s field goal, the Rangers scored two more times to pull within three points before the end of the third quarter. First, Rangel found a wide open Devin Turner for a 58-yard touchdown, followed by a 43-yard touchdown pass to running back Ashton Jeanty.
Leading 31-28 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bearcats needed something to happen to keep the Rangers at arm’s length. Nicolosi provided that something when he avoided the blitz and threw to Hauss Hejny who was wide open. Hejny caught the ball in open space and beat the Lone Star safeties to the pylon for the touchdown.
However, with little more than four minutes left, Jeanty closed the gap again with a 49-yard scoring run to bring the score to 38-35. Things did not look good for the Bearcats after punting on their next drive as it looked like the Rangers were going to score and take the lead. Aledo linebacker Cap Mooney helped seal Aledo’s win when he caused a fumble in the open field, and Sammy Steffe was able to fall on it and give Aledo the ball back.
On the very next play, Williams broke through the Lone Star defense and raced 67 yards to the end zone to put the game on ice. The Bearcats came up with a stop on the next drive and were able to kneel out the clock for the win.
“We played a pretty good first half,” Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan said after the game. “Not so in the second. We made way too many mistakes, and we’ll clean that up. That’s what games like this are for.”
The Bearcats improve to 2-0 on the season and will host the Arlington Heights Yellowjackets, out of Fort Worth ISD, 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Bearcat Stadium.