Caleb Buchanan just wanted to relish the moment.
The Aledo senior center stood in the locker room Saturday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, wearing a UIL state title T-shirt and a grin, keeping close to the Bearcats’ newest championship trophy.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, and I’m not ready for it to, either — I don’t want it to sink in,” said Buchanan, the son of Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan. “I just want to be in the moment right now. It was so fun.”
A slow start from Aledo against Brenham turned into a familiar result, as the Bearcats pulled away from the Cubs for a 38-10 win before a crowd of 33,745 in the Class 4A Division II state championship game.
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The Bearcats (16-0) were tied 3-3 with Brenham before getting out to a 17-3 lead by halftime. Brenham (14-2) stalled the Aledo offense several times in the third quarter, but a 43-yard touchdown pass from Luke Bishop to Taco Anderson gave the undefeated Bearcats a three-possession cushion.
“We basically went in [at halftime] and started looking, offensively, at what we could do to try to get Ryan Newsome the ball,” Tim Buchanan said. “We had people open in the third quarter, but they were getting pressure to Luke [Bishop] and we couldn’t get the ball off. But eventually we were able to get some kids open.”
Bishop finished 6 of 10 passing for 157 yards and three touchdowns. The junior also rushed for 133 yards on 13 carries. His 28-yard strike to Newsome in the second quarter pushed Aledo past the 1,000-point mark for the season.
On Saturday, though, it was the Aledo defense that kept the Bearcats comfortably ahead.
The Cubs, although they kept Aledo’s offense in check immediately after halftime, converted just three first downs in the third quarter.
Brenham’s third drive of the quarter started on the Aledo 35. After a 12-yard run by Caleb Hill, the Cubs were set up with a first down inside the 25. But Hill’s next pass was incomplete before he was sacked and threw another incompletion on third down.
Aledo’s Jonny Carter broke up Hill’s fourth-down pass to the end zone.
“We’ve put so much work into this year, the feeling right now is just incredible. So incredible,” Carter said. “This town loved it, we loved it, and we’re blessed to have this opportunity to do what we did.”
As the first quarter wound down, Brenham came close to taking a 7-3 lead. Hill had just completed a 34-yard pass to Courtland Sutton, putting the Cubs at the Aledo 2. But Hill bobbled the next snap, leading to Tyson Mauser’s fumble recovery for Aledo.
“We can rely on anybody [on the defense], no matter what the situation is,” Mauser said. “We’ve been playing together for five or six years — everybody — so there’s just trust all around.”
Saturday’s win was Aledo’s fourth state title in five years and the second over Brenham (2009, ’13).
Linebacker Jordan Mittie took home defensive MVP honors, totaling seven tackles and a pass breakup. Mittie said he thought it was a toss-up for the award.
“We all went out there and played great on defense today,” he said. “Tyson Mauser made a bunch of big plays for us again, but anyone on the defense could have gotten it, as there were a lot of people who deserved it.
“I thought I could have gotten it, but wasn’t sure. It was awesome to get it, though.”