Two of the most historic Texas high school football programs ever will clash for the first time Saturday at Kincaide Stadium in Dallas as the Aledo Bearcats (12-2) and the Longview Lobos meet in the Class 5A Division I state semifinals.
Aledo has more state championships (10) than any program in the state, including nine since 2009. The Bearcats are in the postseason for a 27th consecutive season and have advanced each time they’ve gotten there.
While the Lobos only have one official state championship to their credit, winning the 6A Division II championship in 2018, their history of success goes back many more years than even the Bearcats. In the past 99 years, the Lobos have had 84 winning seasons, and since fielding their first team in 1909 Longview has 755 victories.
“When you look at them, they have been a fantastic program for many years,” Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan said. “They’ve been winning a lot of football games for a long time.”
As for this year’s matchup, Buchanan said, “Defensively, we’ve got to make them drive the football to score and not have big plays. Offensively, blocking them. They’re not giants, but they’re so athletic.”
After 14 games into the season, some might think there’s not much left to fine tune. Buchanan, however, said there is.
“Fundamentally, on defense we’re still looking at taking out blocks. We’re young. There’s a lot of fundamental stuff we’re still working on.”
The winner of Saturday’s game will meet the winner of the game between Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (12-2) and College Station (12-2) in the state championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The Lobos have held the No. 1 ranking in the state all season. After Buchanan’s first 0-2 start in his coaching career the Bearcats climbed back to No. 3.
Longview took out No. 2 Mansfield Timberview last week, 37-21.
Taking out undefeated teams is nothing new for the Bearcats, however. They traveled to Burleson and handed Centennial its first loss, 64-21, on Oct. 14. Then, in the third round of the playoffs they went to 12-0 Midlothian and came home with a 27-21 victory.
“We’re not going into this game thinking we’re lucky to be here,” Buchanan said. “These kids have developed their own personality. We’ve improved as a team, as a coaching staff. The biggest thing is no one panicked after that bad start — and it’s not like we got beat by a couple of bad teams.”
Dallas Parish Episcopal, which defeated the Bearcats 24-17 in Dallas to open the season, went on to finish 12-1 and win the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Division I state championship. Denton Guyer, a 44-14 winner in Aledo in the second week, is 14-0 and playing DeSoto in the Class 6A Division II semifinals Saturday.
The Aledo defense still hasn’t given up a touchdown pass or allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for 100 yards in the postseason.
The Bearcats surrendered 92 yards with two interceptions and a sack in a 37-0 win over Killeen Shoemaker, just 12 yards in a 45-21 victory against Lubbock Cooper, 42 yards with two half sacks against Midlothian and 53 yards with a sack against Burleson Centennial.
Opposing quarterbacks are 19-for-55 so far in the playoffs.
While both teams have been successful for many years prior, looking at the past decade and a half, it has been a phenomenal run for the Bearcats and Lobos.
Since 2008, Aledo has a record of 209-15, including a playoff record of 71-5. They’ve won nine state championships and appeared in another state final.
In that same span, Longview is 170-36 with a postseason mark of 45-12. Along with their 2018 state championship, the Lobos have been state runners-up three times in 2008, 2009 and 2017.
Aledo Bearcats (12-2) vs. Longview Lobos (14-0)
When: Saturday, 2 p.m., Kincaide Stadium, 9100 Polk St., Dallas
What: Class 5A Division I state semifinals
How Aledo got here: Won District 3-5A Division I, defeated Killeen Shoemaker 37-0 in bidistrict, Lubbock Cooper 45-21 in area, Midlothian 27-21 in the third round and Burleson Centennial 42-21 in Region I final.
How Longview got here: Won District 7-5A Division I, defeated Crosby 49-15 in bidistrict, Frisco Lone Star 38-17 in area, Port Arthur Memorial 51-7 in third round and Mansfield Timberview 37-21 in Region II final.
Longview offense: The Lobos are averaging 46.7 points per game and have topped the 40-point mark 10 times. In the playoffs they have outscored their opponents 175-60. Leaders include: QB Jordan Allen 62% completions, 1,851 yards, 23 TD, 3 interceptions; RB Taylor Tatum 206 carries, 1,840 yards, 33 TD; RB Alijah Johnson 104 carries, 871 yards, 12 TD; WR Jalen Hale 45 catches, 936 yards, 14 TD.
Aledo offense: The Bearcats are averaging 47.5 points and have scored 40 or more points nine times. In the postseason, Aledo has outscored its foes 151-63. Leaders include: QB Hauss Hejny 61% completions, 1,1,701 yards, 17 TD, 4 interceptions passing, 106 carries, 1,085 yards, 13 TD rushing; RB Hawk Patrick-Daniels 171 carries, 1,233 yards, 20 TD rushing, 9 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD receiving; Caleb Pope 84 carries, 516 yards, 13 TD, 9 catches, 92 yards receiving; WR Jalen Pope 52 catches, 950 yards, 11 TD; WR Kaydon Finley 21 catches 396 yards, 6 TD.
Longview defense: The Lobos are giving up 9.8 points per game. They have two shutouts and have held nine opponents to one touchdown or less. Leaders include DB Jakevyon Curry (3 interceptions) and DB Ta’darion Boone (1 interception, 1 fumble recovery).
Aledo defense: The Bearcats’ defense is surrendering 16.6 points on average with two shutouts. They’ve limited five opponents to a TD or less. However, in their 12-game winning streak since starting the season 0-2, Aledo is giving up just 13.8 points per game. Leaders include: LB Dahvon Keys 89 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 1 interception (returned 73 yards for TD), 1 fumble recovery; DB Jake Gillespie 72 tackles, 5.5 loss, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery; DB Andrew Parkhurst 63.5 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 sacks; DB Boogie Owens 37 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries; LB Cap Mooney 32.5 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack; DT Ansel Din-Mbuh 29 tackles, 14 for loss, 3 sacks; DB Jaden Allen 30 tackles, 3 interceptions.
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Lobos don’t have only one official state championship, they won state in 1937 and in 2018!
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