With the regular season behind us, three area teams will continue playing into the postseason.
To no one's surprise, the Aledo Bearcats and Brock Eagles are once again expected to contend for state championships in Class 5A Division II and 3A Division I. For Aledo it would be a sixth state title in eight years and the program's seventh overall since 1998. For Brock, it would be a second straight crown, and the young program has only been eligible for three years.
Among private schools, Willow Park Trinity surprised a few in its 11-man debut season, and also its first season in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, by finishing the regular season 8-2. The Eagles will open the TAPPS Division III playoffs next weekend.
Aledo Bearcats (10-0) vs. Wichita Falls Rider Raiders (4-6)
Class 5A Division II bi-district
▪ 7 p.m. Thursday, Justin Northwest Stadium
▪ Last week: Aledo 49, Saginaw Boswell 24; Denton Ryan 38, Rider 14.
▪ Last season: Aledo 13-2, Class 5A Division I state semifinals; Rider 7-5, Class 5A Division II area round.
▪ All-time series: Aledo leads 2-0.
▪ Last meeting: Aledo 28, Rider 7, Class 4A bi-district in 2005.
▪ Returning starters: Aledo 8 offense/5 defense, Rider 2 offense/6 defense.
▪ Aledo notable: Once again the Bearcats went through district undefeated, running through 6-5A unblemished at 7-0 to run their league winning streak to 69 straight. Since 2008 Aledo is 120-9 with five state championships. Senior quarterback Dillon Davis has 33 touchdowns and six interceptions, along with 2,613 yards. The running game features freshman Jase McClellan (804 yards, 11 TD), senior Michael Jordan (753 yards, 11 TD), and junior Donnie Evans (634 yards, 17 TD). Top receivers are senior Logan Bridges (33-716, 10 TD), senior Preston Jefferis (30 catches, 669 yards, 7 TD), and junior Hunter Rosson (38-656, 9 TD). The Bearcats are averaging 61 points per game. While it's unlikely they will continue this pace through the postseason, if they should they would come close to scoring 1,000 points, something the 2013 state championship squad did, the only time in the history of football. The Aledo defense is not to be overlooked as nine players are averaging at least five tackles, led by junior linebacker Aaron Hale and sophomore strong safety Wyatt Harris, averaging seven each.
▪ Rider notable: The Raiders are the epitome of an up-and-down team, having scored more than 40 points in each of their wins (50-plus twice), but having surrendered more than 30 in each loss. The offense, which averages over 150 yards through the air and almost 90 on the ground, is ironically led by a running back (senior Willie Phillips) who averages about 100 yards and over a TD.
Brock Eagles (10-0) vs. Brady Bulldogs (4-6)
Class 3A Division I bi-district
▪ 7 p.m. Thursday, Shotwell Stadium, Abilene
▪ Last week: Brock 45, Breckenridge 0; Clyde 48, Brady 28.
▪ Last season: Brock 16-0, Class 3A Division I state champions; Brady 7-4, 3A Division I bi-district.
▪ Returning starters: Brock 5 offense/7 defense, Brady 6 offense/6 defense.
▪ All-time series: Tied 1-1.
▪ Last meeting: Brock 50, Brady 0 in 2015.
▪ Brock notable: The Eagles will bring a 26-game overall winning streak into this contest, and have won 29 straight in the regular season. The last team to defeat Brock? Brady, 26-21 to open the 2014 season, Brock's first to be eligible to compete for a University Interscholastic League state title. Brock looks ready to make a serious run for a repeat title, averaging 50-plus points per game and led by senior running back Tyler Gray (132 carries, 1,344, 23 TD), who is on pace to top his junior season (2,071 yards, 32 TD) if Brock returns to the title game. However, the Eagles are loaded with offensive weapons, including junior running back Matthew Gray, who could surpass 1,000 yards with a deep playoff run. Brock is outscoring its opponents by an average of 52-9 and the defense has posted six shutouts.
Brady notable: Like Brock, Brady runs the ball first, foremost and often. The Bulldogs average average over 250 yards on the ground and around 100 through the air. Senior quarterback Caleb Tunnell leads in both passing (almost 50 yards per game) and rushing (over 100 per game). On defense, senior linebacker Beau Jacoby averages 13 tackles and senior end Zack Vaughn averages 12.
Willow Park Trinity Eagles (8-2) vs. Flower Mound Coram Deo Lions (8-2)
TAPPS Division III bi-district
▪ Site, date TBD at press time.
▪ Last week: Trinity was idle. Coram Deo 49, Kennedale Fellowship 6.
▪ Last season: Trinity 9-2 in Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship Six-Man, bi-district; Coram Deo 3-7.
▪ Returning starters: Trinity 7 offense/7 defense, Coram Deo 8 offense/7 defense.
▪ All-time series: Trinity leads 1-0.
▪ Last meeting: Trinity 46, Coram Deo 19 in 2004.
▪ Trinity notable: Senior quarterback Calib Guynes is a two-way threat (1,042 yards, 18 TD, 5 int. passing; 675 yards, 13 TD rushing), but he has plenty of other weapons around him, including senior running back Nathan Chesney (532 yards, 8 TD rushing; 19 catches, 287 yards, 4 TD receiving), junior running back Garrett Green (512 yards, 6 TD rushing; 21-238, 6 TD receiving), and junior receiver Nathan Montano (9-234, 2 TD). On the defense, sophomore cornerback Caleb Chesney averages nine tackles per game, while senior linebacker Chase Gunter, cornerback Nathan Chesney and junior corner Nic de La Cruz each average six. The Eagles are outscoring their opponents by an average of 44-9 in their victories, but were outscored 105-48 in their two losses.
▪ Coram Deo notable: After posting a 26-74 record over the past decade, with no winning seasons and only one playoff berth, the Lions are have returned to the type of football they played in the mid-2000s. Over a two-year span in 2004-05, they were 17-3. After a 5-0 start to the season, they hit a snap with a pair of one-sided losses and a one-point overtime win, but they finished the regular season strong. The Lions outscored their opponents by an average of 44--21 in their victories and have been outscored 72-33 in losses.