Since the 2009 season, it’s not often that a senior class from the Aledo football team leaves the program without winning a UIL football state title in their final year.
It’s only happened twice — in 2012 and 2015.
But after last year’s team was knocked out in the state semifinals, ending the Bearcats’ chance at a second three-peat in that span, the juniors on that team vowed they would go out as champions.
Now seniors, that group has Aledo within reach of that goal. The Bearcats (15-0) take on Corpus Christi Calallen (14-1) at 8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium in the Class 5A Division II state final.
“We made a pact this summer before the season started that we would promise each other that it would be our last game together,” senior defensive lineman Wes Harris said of Friday’s 5A final. “It’s worked out so far, and we aren’t going out with a loss, that’s for sure.”
Aledo defeated Mesquite Poteet 38-14 in last week’s state semifinals. The Bearcats are averaging 57.3 points per game.
Calallen took a loss in Week 2, but has since won 13 in a row. The Wildcats hung on to beat College Station 31-30 in the semifinals to advance to their second state final in program history.
We made a pact this summer before the season started that we would promise each other that it would be our last game together. It’s worked out so far, and we aren’t going out with a loss, that’s for sure.
Aledo senior defensive lineman Wes Harris
“We remember the taste we had in our mouths after losing to [Mansfield] Lake Ridge last year like it was yesterday,” Aledo senior quarterback Dillon Davis said. “There was no way we were going out like the seniors did last year.
“They told us to get it done for them this year and that has been our complete focus. We want to be remembered.”
These seniors have been playing football together since the second grade, which makes this group special. They have a 59-3 record in the past four years.
“Most of us have played with each other since pee-wee, and we play with a chip on our shoulder,” said Davis, who had thrown for 3,695 yards and 45 TDs. “We have great senior leadership, and we’re a determined group of guys. We understand what it takes to be the best, and we strive to reach it day in and day out.”
Senior running back Michael Jordan has rushed for 1,099 yards and 17 TDs. Senior receivers Logan Bridges and Preston Jefferis have combined for 2,006 yards and 24 TDs.
Eight players on defense have more than 80 tackles on the season. Harris is tied for second with senior Will Trawick at 99 stops. Senior defensive lineman Michael Arlt has 13 sacks. Junior defensive lineman “Big Game” James Williams has 95 tackles and eight sacks.
“The seniors are really hungry for what they want this season, and it’s a close group of guys,” Williams said. “You always want to give your best, not just for the team but also for the seniors.
“We as underclassmen give our best for those seniors because they deserve it this year — they put in the work and sacrificed to get in this position.”