Aledo 34, Abilene Cooper 31
On a night of offense, it was a defensive play that saved the season for the Aledo Bearcats as they defeated Abilene Cooper 34-31 at Shotwell Stadium Friday night to advance to the fourth round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs.
The Cougars were on a possible game-winning or tying drive when Aledo’s Giovanni Torres intercepted Cooper quarterback Ender Freeman at the Aledo 17 with 1:23 remaining. With no timeouts left, Cooper could not stop the clock as defending state champion Aledo extended its winning streak to 29 games.
Aledo will face the winner between Richland and El Paso Parkland in the next round. Those teams are playing Saturday afternoon at 1 Jones Stadium in Lubbock.
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Key players: Three players topped 100 yards in rushing for the Bearcats, led by running back Jase McClellan with 26 carries for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Tre Owens had 104 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and quarterback Jake Bishop finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. McClellan and Owens both surpassed 1,000 yards on the season. Freeman completed 18 of 33 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns, but was also intercepted three times. Cougars running back Tyrees Whitfield rushed 20 times for 97 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 176 yards and two scores.
Key stat: With Aledo trailing 17-14 to start the second half and having been outscored by 10 points in the second quarter, Bishop took the ball on the opening play, raced 70 yards for the go-ahead score, and Aledo never trailed again.
Records: Aledo 13-0; Abilene Cooper 9-4