High School Sports

Playing for state a family tradition for several Aledo Bearcats

An afternoon at the track, a season as a ball boy, a Thanksgiving Day pickup game: Aledo junior quarterback Luke Bishop has never wandered too far from his older brother, Matt, who quarterbacked the Bearcats to three state championships from 2009-2011.

This weekend, Luke will get a chance to match one of his brother’s accomplishments.

Aledo plays Brenham at noon Saturday at AT&T Stadium in the Class 4A Division II state championship game. The Bearcats (15-0) will be going for their fifth state title and fourth in five seasons. The 2009 victory came against Brenham, 35-21.

“Man, it would mean the world,” Luke Bishop said. “Just to say that I won one. I want to be able to say I’m up there with Matt.”

Daythan Davis, Matthew Hawkins, Ryan Heiss, Preston Bradham, Tristan Stary, Aaron Vidrine and Gary Williams are also among the current Bearcats with brothers on at least one of the past three championship teams.

“These kids have been talking about it since they have been in the seventh grade,” Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said.

The Bishops — whose father, Lee Bishop, is an assistant under Buchanan — moved to Aledo in the spring of 2009. Luke, then a sixth-grader, soon found ways to stand out.

“He would come up to the high school when they first moved in here and run on the track and outrun about half our varsity track athletes,” Buchanan said. “That was the joke, ‘Can you outrun a sixth grader?’ ”

That fall, big brother Matt started as a sophomore in his first season with the Bearcats. An injury in the state semifinal game sidelined Matt for the championship round, but he started again on Aledo’s next two title teams.

After that 2009 victory over Brenham, seventh-grader Luke Bishop soaked in the atmosphere.

“I remember sitting on the sidelines thinking, ‘Man, I want to win one,’ ” he said. “That first one down in Austin [in 2009] — I remember everybody going crazy and crying, thinking I want that.”

Luke describes his relationship with Matt with a balance of respect and competition.

Luke is quick to say Matt was “one of the best [quarterbacks] in the state of Texas.” But he also points out the fun rivalry between them, recalling a heated Thanksgiving Day pickup basketball game last month. Matt played football at Tarleton State in 2012, but is currently taking a break from school.

“Back in the day, I was a little kid and he was always bigger, faster and stronger than I was,” Luke said. “I can handle him now.”

On the football field, Matt was similar to Luke, who has thrown for 34 touchdowns and rushed for seven this season, Buchanan said.

“They both have the same vision,” Buchanan said. “Both of them see the field extremely well. Matt was a little bigger. Luke’s a lot faster.”

And the Bishops both have had a knack for winning football games. Luke is undefeated so far. Matt was 43-3. Winning a state championship is the family tradition Luke said he’d like to continue.

“My household revolves around football,” he said. “We were always taught to go up there and give it everything we have. We play to win the game.”

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