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Bearcat defense dominates Frisco in area win

Senior Ryan Williams crosses the goal line for one of his three touchdowns against Frisco Liberty in the Area Championship Friday at Apogee Stadium in Denton. The Bearcats won 57-14, and advance to face South Oak Cliff on Nov. 26 in Mansfield. Photo by Ramon Morales.

Regional Semifinal against South Oak Cliff comes next after drubbing of Liberty

By Nolan Ruth
The Community News

It is no secret that the Aledo Bearcats have and continue to be one of the most dominant teams in the state of Texas. However, it seems that every season there is one game that sets Aledo apart from the rest in just 48 minutes of football.

Two examples are the victory over Lucas Lovejoy on New Year’s Day 2021 and the win over Ennis in 2019. That game may have come earlier than usual this year as the Bearcat rolled easily to victory, 57-14, over the Frisco Liberty Redhawks.

“Coach [Brad] McCone and the defensive staff had a great plan,” head coach Tim Buchanan said about the strategy, “keeping them contained. Our kids really executed the game plan extremely well.”

Liberty, the only team to beat #2 Lovjoy, was expected to give Aledo a good fight but the Bearcats showed their utter dominance and proved that they just may be the best team in 5A.

The Bearcats made a statement with the first drive of the game, covering 55 yards in just less than four minutes. Ryan Williams (12 carries, 131 yards, 3 TDs) capped off the drive with a six-yard run into the end zone. In response, the Redhawks made a statement of their own when quarterback Keldric Luster scored on a sneak play to tie the game at seven.

Junior Bryon Wheeler tackles Frisco Liberty quarterback Keldric Luster. Photo by Ramon Morales.

The Bearcats responded convincingly on their next drive; that Sammy Steffe (14 carries, 117 yards, 3 TDs) took over and scored out of the wildcat formation from the one yard line. The Bearcats took a 13-7 lead into the second quarter and never looked back.

After forcing the Redhawks to go three-and-out, thanks in part to the play of Ansel Din-Mbuh (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL), Williams broke free from 36 yards out and gave Aledo a 20-7 lead.

“Every day we got to get better,” Din-Mbuh said of preparation for facing Luster. “We worked on the little things a lot for him because he is a ball player. If we can stop a dude like him and do what we’re supposed to do, we can’t lose.”

On the ensuing drive, Texas-commit BJ Allen (2 tackles, 1 INT) dove for a deflected ball and intercepted it at the Liberty 35. Two plays later, Williams scored his third touchdown of the game. Both defenses stepped up and kept the rest of the half scoreless to make the halftime lead 27-7.

The Bearcats went right back to work in the second half, forcing an early punt and scoring on a seven-yard run by Steffe. Another quick defensive series allowed Aledo to score again on yet another Steffe touchdown run. Once again, the Bearcat defense got off the field in three downs and gave the ball back to the offense before the third stanza ended at a 40-7 score.

Senior Oklahome University commit Jason Llewellyn cradles the football on a catch against Frisco Liberty. Photo by Ramon Morales.

On the first play of the fourth and final frame, kicker Jace Sims drilled a 25-yard field goal. However, the Redhawks were not done fighting, and Luster scored on a 59-yard keeper to cut the lead to 43-14.

With most of the starters pulled, running backs started being rotated in. Connor Smith scored from 14 yards out, and Caleb Pope added one more from 11 yards to bring the final score to 57-14.

“You can’t play this game without confidence,” senior tight end Jason Llewellyn said. “We go out there every day all week and we’ve practiced for this for four months now. We don’t want to stop yet. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

The Bearcats improve to 12-0 on the season and will face the South Oak Cliff Bears out of Dallas ISD at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26 at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield for the regional semifinal.

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