For the longest time, it looked like Mansfield Legacy could pull off the upset against Aledo, a team that had thoroughly handled the Broncos earlier this season.
Legacy had built a 21-7 lead midway into the second quarter but couldn’t hold it in Saturday’s state semifinal game at Pennington Field.
The Bearcats wouldn’t take their first lead of the game until there was just 1:48 remaining in the game. They overcame their biggest deficit of the season and defeat Legacy 28-21.
Aledo sophomore running back Jase McClellan broke loose off left tackle for a 46-yard touchdown with 1:48 left to unlock a tie that stood for most of the second half.
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The victory gave Aledo (15-0) the right to defend its UIL Class 5A Division II state title at 11 a.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium against College Station (13-2), which defeated Austin McCallum 49-21.
The Broncos’ do-everything star, Jalen Catalon, played his role and helped get the game off to a riveting start.
Congratulated for his performance by Aledo Sport Daily on Twitter, Catalon replied, “Thank you, much respect for the Aledo team and fan base.”
Aledo’s opening drive stalled and Cole Daniels was short on a 47-yard field goal attempt. Catalon caught it seven yards deep in the end zone and returned the ball 105 yards to the Aledo 2-yard line, setting up Enoch Jackson’s 1-yard TD run to give Legacy a 7-0 lead.
Aledo answered two minutes later on McClellan’s first touchdown, a 5-yard run.
Catalon again wowed the crowd early in the second quarter. After Legacy blocked a field goal attempt, the junior took the first snap from scrimmage and weaved 86 yards to paydirt, putting the Broncos back on top 14-7.
On Legacy’s next drive, Catalon connected with Ife Adeyi for a 37-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7. McClellan again responded, finding the end zone from a yard out, and Aledo trailed 21-14 at the half.
Aledo forced a three-and-out to open the second half and took just two plays to knot the score at 21-21. This time, quarterback Jake Bishop ran in from 29 yards away.
Adeyi returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the Aledo 12, but the Bearcats defense turned Legacy away and never allowed the Broncos to threaten again.
Aledo beat Legacy 24-3 in Week 3, when McClellan was out with a wrist injury.
Healthy now, and with 1,000-plus rushing yards in the playoffs alone, McClellan was the workhorse Saturday, finishing with 207 yards on 31 carries — three going for touchdowns. He had more than 100 yards in the first quarter.
But it was the Aledo defense that took control in the second half, keeping Legacy (12-3) off the scoreboard and limiting the Broncos offense to just 22 yards and no first downs. Aledo’s defense also forced a turnover on downs at its own 4-yard line late in the third quarter when the game was tied. Legacy finished with 142 total yards.
After the game, Legacy head coach Chris Melson wrote on Twitter, “I want to start off by thanking Bronco Nation and the whole MISD for a wonderful season, though we came up short you guys have shown so much love and support towards us. We’re sorry for the disappointment and hope to be here next year, better than ever!”