Last year, Aledo shut out Abilene Cooper 33-0 in the regional round a day after Thanksgiving.
Playing the same team, in the same round, on the same day a year later, the Bearcats surpassed their score by halftime on Friday.
Aledo scored five touchdowns on seven first-half possessions to defeat Cooper 56-35 in the Class 5A Division II regional round at Shotwell Stadium.
“We get to play another week,” Aledo coach Steve Wood said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we won that football game and we’re going to enjoy it.”
The Bearcats (13-0) advance to the state quarterfinals for the 13th time in 15 years. They will play at 9 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium against the winner of Saturday’s 3 p.m. game between Lubbock Cooper and Saginaw Boswell in Wichita Falls.
“I’ve been on the very complete opposite end of this before and I haven’t forgotten those days,” Wood said. “There are a lot of people that would trade places with us and would love to be here.”
Starting defensive tackle “Big Game” James Williams capped off a nine-play opening drive for Aledo with a 2-yard touchdown run with 6:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Aledo’s next two drives took just two plays as Dillon Davis hit Logan Bridges for a 50-yard score and then Jase McClellan had a 65-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead to 21-0 three minutes later.
After forcing Cooper (9-4) to punt for a fourth consecutive possession, Aledo extended its lead to 28-0 on Donnie Evans’ 15-yard touchdown run with 1:41 left in the first quarter. McClellan had a 55-yard run on the drive.
Cooper’s Jamie Pogue made two field goals in the second quarter before Davis and Bridges connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass to send the Bearcats into halftime with a 35-6 lead.
Davis, who finished 15 of 25 for 241 yards, threw his third and final touchdown to Bridges for 47 yards to give Aledo a 42-6 lead with a minute remaining in the third quarter. Bridges finished with eight catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
“I just kind of found a sweet spot and my quarterback is a heck of a player and he just put the ball on the money every single time,” Bridges said.
“The guy can run,” Wood said of Bridges. “He’s gained confidence playing receiver and has always been extremely fast.”
Aledo finished with 569 yards of offense. McClellan, who led the ground attack with 134 yards and two touchdowns, had a 9-yard score and Michael Jordan added an 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.