The Aledo Bearcats used a late interception to keep alive their hopes for a second consecutive state championship and seventh in nine seasons. Meanwhile, the Brock Eagles, in an unfamiliar situation, came from 10 points down to reach a fourth straight state quarterfinals.
Aledo (13-0), which won for a 29th straight game, defeated upset-minded Abilene Cooper (9-4) 34-31 in their Class 5A Division II third-round game. The victory was preserved when Giovanni Torres intercepted Cougars quarterback Ender Freeman at the Bearcats 17 with 1:23 remaining in the game.
It was the third interception of the night by Aledo, previous ones by Wyatt Harris and Jake McClendon. Freeman, who passed for 3,500 yards and 32 touchdowns this season, had only been intercepted four times in the first 12 games.
The Aledo defense has 22 interceptions this season, led by McClendon with five, Torres and Jake Ford with four each.
Aledo running backs Jase McClellan and Tre Owens each topped 1,000 yards on the season. Owens rushed for 104 and a TD, giving him 1,086 and 16 overall. McClellan gained 195 with three TD, pushing his total to 1,060 and 20, despite missing six games with a wrist injury.
Bearcats quarterback Jake Bishop scored on a 70-yard run and finished with 101 yards on the night.
BROCK PULLS OFF UPSET
The Brock Eagles (11-2) are not used to being an underdog, but even so they overcame an early 10-0 deficit to defeat Wall (12-1) 29-10 to once again reach the Class 3A Division I state quarterfinals.
Dawson Littlepage, who was out several games with an injury, scored three touchdowns and rushed for 52 yards. He has scored five TD in his first two games back.
Quarterback Tripp Jones added a TD on a 40-yard run and gained 67 yards, while Tanner Patino picked up 113 yards.
Patino also had an interception on defense, as did Brett White. Zakk Young led the Brock defense with seven tackles, while Jesse Hallmark had six, including two for a loss.
The Eagles held the strong Wall rushing attack to 41 yards on 35 attempts.
WCS SEASON ENDS IN THIRD ROUND
The Weatherford Christian Lions' Cinderella run in the postseason came to an end Friday night with a 68-36 loss to Granbury North Central Texas Academy in a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Six-Man Division II third-round playoff game.
The Lions ended the regular season with a 2-8 record. In the playoffs, however, they defeated Amarillo Holy Cross 80-30 and Longview Trinity 44-27.
WCS ended the season with a 4-9 record. Despite the overall record, it's the school's deepest playoff run.
This week's playoff games...
▪ Class 5A Division II state quarterfinals
Aledo Bearcats (13-0) vs. Richland Rebels (11-2)
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m., The Star in Frisco
Last season: Aledo 16-0, Division II state champions. Richland 10-2, Division I area finals. Teams did not play.
Series history: First meeting.
Last week: Aledo 34, Abilene Cooper 31. Richland 55, El Paso Parkland 21.
Returning starters: Aledo 3 offense/5 defense. Richland 6 offense/5 defense.
Aledo players to watch: WR Hunter Rosson (36 catches, 670 yards, 7 TD), WR Money Parks (25-360, 6 TD).
Richland players to watch: QB Drew Trent (51 percent completion rate, 1,813 yards, 23 TD, 12 int.), RB Rylee Johnson (135 carries, 908 yards, 12 TD).
Notable: This is a tale of two different offenses. Aledo runs to an average of 295 yards per game and Richland is more balanced, averaging 161 yards on the ground and 171 through the air.
▪ Class 3A Division I state quarterfinals
Brock Eagles (11-2) vs. Comanche Indians (12-1)
Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., Shotwell Stadium, Abilene
Last season: Brock 13-1, 5-0, Region I finalist. Comanche 7-4, bidistrict. Teams did not play.
Series history: First meeting.
Last week: Brock 29, Wall 10. Comanche 35, Merkel 19.
Returning starters: Brock 3 offense/5 defense. Comanche 9 offense/4 defense.
Brock players to watch: Brock - RB Dawson Littlepage (963 yards, 16 TD) has scored five TD in two games back several games with an injury. RB Tanner Patino (1,474 yards, 22 TD rushing; 10 catches, 242 yards receiving).
Comanche players to watch: QB Bronte Hermesmeyer (53 percent completion rate, 897 yards, 16 TD, 5 int.), RB Colton Roberts (153-1759, 22 TD).
Notable: These teams have very similar stats, each averaging around 300 yards on the ground and each around 75 yards passing. Similarly, they also have the same amount of weapons, with one exception. While Brock's receptions are more spread around, Comanche has WR Trevor Higginbotham (28-611, 7 TD).