High School Sports

Was Aledo’s 91-0 football win last week a case of bullying?

Aledo High School Coach Tim Buchanan, as he’s done after every game this season, gathered his assistants last Friday night to go over another Bearcats victory.

This time, the mood was somber.

“We were just sitting there,” Buchanan said. “You’d have thought we got beat. I looked around and asked, ‘Is there anyone here that feels good?’”

Aledo beat Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0 at home, pushing its season scoring pace to 69.3 points a game and running its undefeated record to 7-0. In four District 7-4A games against Fort Worth schools, the Bearcats have outscored their opponents by an average of 77 points per game.

While the lopsided victories are no doubt tough for the losing teams, Buchanan said the margins of victory are troublesome for him as well.

“I’m upset about it,” Buchanan said. “I don’t like it. I sit there the whole third and fourth quarter and try to think how I can keep us from scoring.”

Others are also upset about the point spreads.

Buchanan said he received notice Saturday morning that a bullying report had been filed against him by a Western Hills parent.

Under state law, school districts must provide a bullying complaint report form on their websites. Aledo High School’s principal is required to investigate the allegations to determine whether bullying occurred and prepare a written report on the matter.

Buchanan said he has the support of the Aledo administration. But he didn’t dismiss the serious nature of the complaint.

“I have to address it,” Buchanan said. “It’s not something you can laugh off or anything like that. What they said was that I should’ve told my players to ease up and not play so hard.”

Western Hills Coach John Naylor said he disagrees with the allegations that his team was bullied.

“I think the game was handled fine,” Naylor said. “They’re No. 1 for a reason, and I know coach Buchanan. We’re fighting a real uphill battle right now.”

Naylor, whose roster had around 30 players Friday night, said there was only so much Aledo could do to stop scoring.

“We just ran into a buzzsaw, you know,” Naylor said. “[Aledo] just plays hard. And they’re good sports, and they don’t talk at all. They get after it, and that’s the way football is supposed to be played in Texas.”

Texas School Safety Week

Football as a method of bullying is not addressed by the Texas Education code, which defines bullying as “engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity and that has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student or is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.”

This week, as part of Texas Safe Schools Week, the Texas Education Agency and Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University are reminding school districts about the resources available to help combat bullying.

“We all recognize that bullying creates a negative climate for students, staff, parents and the community,” Dr. Victoria Calder, director of the Texas School Safety Center, said in a news release. “Educators and students must work together to prevent bullying in our schools and our communities.”

Reached later by the Star-Telegram, Calder said she could not talk specifically about the Aledo case, but was not aware of any such complaints being made before about a football game.

She said there are a lot of misconceptions about what is and is not bullying, and gave the example of a little girl shoving another little girl at school.

“That doesn’t make it bullying,” Calder said. “You have to look at each case individually.”

Next week, the Texas School Safety Center will conducts it inaugural Texas Bully Prevention Summit in San Marcos.

Starters pulled early

Buchanan said he enjoys the Bearcats’ big victories for about a half.

“In the first half, I’m excited about us scoring, then I’m sitting here going what the heck am I going to do?” he said.

And this year, the big victories have come in bunches. In addition to their success in district play, the Bearcats have impressive non-district victories over traditional powerhouses Highland Park (44-3) and Stephenville (56-14).

In Friday’s victory over Western Hills, the Bearcats rushed for 391 yards and scored eight touchdowns on the ground. Running back Jess Anders had four touchdowns on four touches. Ryan Newsome returned consecutive punt returns for scores.

Buchanan said he pulled his starters on offense after 21 snaps and that a running clock was implemented in the third quarter. Aledo’s quarterbacks combined for 10 pass attempts.

While 91 points is usually associated with a basketball game, it is not the most ever scored in a high school football game in Texas.

That came in 1969 when Valley Mills scored 103 against Grandview, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

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