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101 – Bearcats clinch playoff spot with win over Waco University

Senior Dylan Wood crosses the goal line for a score. Photo by Kristin Morales.

By Nolan Ruth
The Community News

The Aledo Bearcats football team achieved yet another goal in the 2021 football season on Friday, Oct. 22, when the team traveled south down I-35 and defeated the Waco University Trojans by a score of 65-14. With the win, the Bearcats clinched a playoff berth for the 26th consecutive year.

“I think tonight went well,” defensive back Gabe Sherrod (2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT) said after the game. “We all worked hard in practice for this one and thankfully our ones played well enough that the twos and threes got to go in.”

The win came decisively the Bearcat defense held strong all game, and the offense blew the doors open early. Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi (4-5, 93 yards, 2 TDs) started the game off with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Hauss Hejny (1 reception, 24 yards, 1 TD receiving, 1-1, 10 yards, 1 TD receiving) just 69 seconds into the game.

Little more than two minutes later, Nicolosi connected with Jalen Pope (2 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD) in the end zone for another score, making it 14-0 with barely three minutes taken off the clock. Just 56 seconds later, Sammy Steffe (1 carry, 34 yards, 2 Total TDs, 1 INT) picked off an overthrown pass and brought it all the way back for a touchdown. A miscue on the extra point kept the game at 20-0.

After another defensive stop, Ryan Williams (3 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD) added another tally on a 10-yard scoring run, followed by Steffe running one in himself from 34 yards out to bring the score to 34-0 at the end of the first quarter.

On the first Waco University drive of the second quarter, cornerback Terry Lewis (1 INT, 1 TD) intercepted a pass at midfield and, just like Steffe, brought it all the way for another touchdown. The Trojans finally added a quick score on a 42 yard run by running back Jaylon Marshall. The extra point missed and the score remained 41-6.

Not three minutes into the second quarter, and with the game already out of hand, head coach Tim Buchanan pulled the starters and started rotating other players in. Aledo also shifted heavily towards the running game to run the clock and prevent the game from becoming even more one-sided.

Junior Gabe Sherrod pulled in the third interception of the game for the Bearcats, almost returning it for a touchdown. Photo by Ramon Morales.

Connor Smith (9 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD) found the end zone on the first drive after the starters were pulled on a nine yard scamper to paydirt. On the ensuing drive, Sherrod made the third Bearcat interception of the game and almost returned it for a touchdown, but was tripped up at the ten yard line. One play later, Hejny threw to Dylan Ward (1 reception, 10 yards, 1 TD) for the score, bringing the halftime score to 55-6.

The game started with a running clock in the second half, shortening the game significantly. Aledo kicker Clay Murador scored the only points of the third quarter on a 49-yard field goal. Midway through the fourth quarter, Brant Hayden (2-3, 38 yards, 1 TD) added one more score when he hit Dalton Rapp (1 reception, 24 yards, 1 TD) on a screen for a 24-yard scoring play.

The Trojans scored one more touchdown as time expired in the game bringing the final score to 65-14.

“Our kids did a good job,” head coach Tim Buchanan gave his thoughts on the game. “It didn’t matter where they were, offense, defense, special teams, first team, second team, all of them went out and executed really well.”

The Bearcats improve to 8-0(5-0) on the season and will face the Arlington Seguin Cougars(3-4) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at Wilemon Field in Arlington. 

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