Aledo defeats Cleburne 77-7
By Nolan Ruth
The Community News
The sun set on yet another regular season for the Aledo Bearcats football team on Friday, Nov. 5 at Bearcat Stadium when Aledo defeated the Cleburne Yellowjackets 77-7. The win polished off another district championship season and the program’s 12th undefeated regular season all-time.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to go undefeated,” head coach Tim Buchanan said after the game. “They don’t come easy and for these kids to do that, it’s the first one for this senior class, it was really good for them to go undefeated as far as the regular season goes.”
The game could not have started better for the Bearcats, with the defense shutting down Cleburne early and often. Ryan Williams (4 carries, 79 yards, 2 TDs) scored the first points of the game on a one-yard run after setting it up with a 32-yard run.
After the defense forced a punt, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi (5-8, 115 yards, 3 TDs) only needed one play to find a wide open Hauss Hejny (3 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD receiving, 2 carries, 33 yards rushing) deep over the middle for a 41-yard strike, making the score 14-0.
After another punt, Nicolosi went right back to work and found Oklahoma-commit tight end Jason Llewellyn (2 catches, 34 yards, 1 TD) who fought off defenders on his way to the goal line making it 21-0. The Yellowjacket offense started to show signs of life on the next drive, but Aledo quickly squelched it and took back over.
Then it was Sammy Steffe’s (1 carry, 20 yards, 1 TD) turn to get in on the action as he took the handoff and danced through the Cleburne defense from 20 yards out to make it a 28-0 score, still in the first quarter. The Bearcats got the ball back yet again and it only took two snaps. Nicolosi threw a screen pass to Brian Fleming (2 catches, 40 yards, 1 TD, 1 KO return, 60 yards, 1 TD) who raced down the sideline and scored from the 27 yard line.
Cleburne was able to get its only score on the next drive on a 52-yard pass over the middle, making the score 35-7 at the end of the first quarter. However, the Bearcats went right back to work, and on the first play of the second quarter Williams ran it in from 40 yards out.
Aledo pulled its offensive starters for the next drive, and Connor Smith (14 carries, 112 yards, 2 TDs) took the reins, marching the Bearcats down the field and finishing off the drive with a four-yard scoring run, making the Aledo lead 49-7 going into halftime.
“We just treated it like any other game,” Nicolosi spoke about the preparation and first half mentality. “We prepared the same, every week like it’s a team that may beat us. I feel that we executed very well.”
Things started with a bang in the second half as Fleming took the opening kick 60 yards for a touchdown. The Aledo defense went right back to work, not allowing Cleburne to cross midfield for the rest of the game.
Midway through the third quarter, Smith led the offense down the field and scored on a two-yard run. Senior fullback Jacob DeLeon (2 carries, 5 yards, 1 TD) added one more score with a one-yard run, bringing the score to 70-7 after three quarters of play.
Things slowed down significantly in the fourth quarter, and multiple players were put into multiple different positions. Senior tight end Dalton Rapp (1 carry, 12 yards, 1 TD) came in at quarterback late and added the finishing score on a 12-yard keeper to seal the deal 77-7.
“We’re 100 percent confident,” defensive end Kyle “Boogie” Thompson said about the upcoming playoffs. “I feel like we can win it all again. It all starts next week and we’re going to go into it like we did this week.”
The Bearcats finish the regular season at a perfect 10-0 and will face Dallas Hillcrest (7-3) in the bi-district round of the playoffs 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Bearcat Stadium.