A year ago, Canyon Randall’s rushing attack led the Raiders to a halftime lead over Aledo in the state quarterfinals.
Saturday night’s rematch started in a similar way: Randall rushed 10 times over its first two possessions to take a 7-0 lead. But like last year, the Bearcats stormed back and now find themselves in a familiar position.
Aledo rolled to a 28-14 victory at AT&T Stadium, scoring four unanswered touchdowns to advance to the Class 5A Division I semifinals.
The Bearcats (13-1) will play Friday against either Longview or Mansfield Lake Ridge, who played late Saturday night. Aledo is shooting for its sixth state championship — including one last year — in the past seven seasons.
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Against Randall (12-2), Aledo’s defense found a way to stall the Raiders’ outside runs. When that happened, Randall relied more on the pass, and the result was Logan Nix completing 8 of 17 passes for 107 yards and an interception.
“We were playing really tight on the ball [early],” Aledo linebacker Larry Brown said. “They had a really big offensive line, so we were giving them too good of a chance to get off on us, square us up and cut block us.
“Once we started playing a little looser, we were backing up off the ball, we were cutting off all their run game and working it back inside and eliminating it to the point where they had to pass.”
Aledo’s Dillon Davis threw two touchdown passes, including a go-ahead score with 5:01 to go in the second quarter. The snap to Davis dribbled across the turf, but the quarterback collected himself and hit Hunter Rosson for a 32-yard score.
Late in the first quarter, Davis hit Logan Bridges on a slant route for a 39-yard touchdown to give Aledo its first score. The Bearcats missed the extra point, but later converted a 2-point pass from Davis to Logan Peterson.
Bridges scored on a 75-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter — Aledo’s lone spark running the ball.
“We didn’t knock them back the way you want to,” Aledo coach Steve Wood said. “Those [Randall] guys play hard, they really do. Our kids battled, too.”