Aledo Bearcats (12-0) vs. Abilene Cooper Cougars (8-4)
Class 5A Division II Region I semifinals
▪ Friday, Shotwell Stadium, Abilene, time TBA at press time.
▪ Last week (area): Aledo 51, Grapevine 7. Cooper 55, Canutillo 23.
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▪ Last season: Aledo 13-2, Class 5A Division I state semifinals. Cooper 7-6, 5A Division I Region I semifinals.
▪ All-time series: Aledo leads 1-0 (Cooper).
▪ Last meeting: Aledo 33, Cooper 0 in 2015 third round of playoffs.
▪ Returning starters: Aledo 8 offense/5 defense, Cooper 7 offense/8 defense.
▪ Aledo notable: The Bearcats have become one of the nation's historic football programs, and that's what happens when you have won six state championships and advanced to at least the third round of the postseason 15 times since 1998. Already a dynasty under Tim Buchanan, who is now the athletic director, the Bearcats are 40-3 with a state championship (2014) under Steve Wood. The offense that averages over 60 points is directed by senior quarterback Dillon Davis (3,167 yards, 38 TD, 7 int.) and features rushers Jase McClellan (freshman, 988 yards, 14 TD), Michael Jordan (senior, 917 yards, 13 TD) and Donnie Evans (junior, 828 yards, 20 TD), and receivers Logan Bridges (senior, 40 catches, 925 yards, 12 TD), Preston Jefferis (senior, 33-784 yards, 9 TD), and Hunter Rosson (junior, 43-767, 10 TD). Of course, such success is led by one of the best offensive lines anywhere, featuring senior all-state selection Wes Harris and senior Chuck Filiaga, who was one of the best in California before moving to Aledo and becoming one of the best in Texas. Ten defensive players have at least one sack, led by senior end Michael Arlt, who is averaging almost one per game.
▪ Cooper notable: The Cougars are once again pulling off playoff surprises just like a year ago as they dropped previously unbeaten Canutillo. Senior quarterback Austin Smith averages over 240 yards per game with a TD-interception ratio of nearly 3-1. Junior running back Tyres Whitfield and senior Devin Johnson have combined for over 1,500 yards and more than 25 touchdowns. Seven different receivers have caught a TD this season, led by junior Miller Royals and senior Isaac Hatter, who each average over 20 yards per catch.
Brock Eagles (12-0) vs. Muleshoe Mules (8-4)
Class 3A Division I Region I semifinals
▪ 7 p.m. Friday in Vernon.
▪ Last week (area): Brock 69, Amarillo River Road 6. Muleshoe 47, Breckenridge 35.
▪ Last season: Brock 16-0, Class 3A Division I state champions. Muleshoe 11-2, 3A Division I Region I semifinals.
▪ Returning starters: Brock 5 offense/7 defense, Muleshoe 5 offense/6 defense.
▪ All-time series: First meeting.
▪ Brock notable: The Eagles' win streak reached 28 last week and they are 40-3 since becoming eligible to win a state title in 2014. Senior running back Tyler Gray (159 carries, 1,702 yards, 30 TD) is getting stronger as the season progresses and leads an offense that averages more than 50 points. The Eagles don't throw much, but when they do, sophomore Tripp Jones is extremely accurate. The defense, led by Maxpreps All-American senior linebacker Zane Young has six shutouts and 10 games surrendering a TD or less.
▪ Muleshoe notable: The Mules are in the postseason for a 13th straight year and have advanced for the ninth time. They average almost 45 points but surrender almost 30.
▪ Note: The Willow Park Trinity Eagles (9-2) were playing the McKinney Christian Mustangs in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Division III area round at press time. This is the Eagles' first season in 11-man football after years of success in six-man.