Mansfield Lake Ridge enters the state semifinal round averaging just under 514 yards and 55 points per game.
Eagles quarterback Jett Duffey is among the best high school quarterbacks Aledo coach Steve Wood has seen.
“They’re potent to say the least. Duffey is in total control and in a different gear when he runs it and throws it as quick as I have ever seen,” said Wood, whose Bearcats face Lake Ridge (14-0) in the Class 5A Division I semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.
“Really good enormous offensive line,” Wood added. “Running back [Duke Carter] is really good too — sure doesn’t go down easily.”
The Bearcats, ranked No. 4 in the final Associated Press 5A regular-season poll, defeated Canyon Randall 28-14 on Saturday. Wood and the coaching staff stuck around AT&T Stadium to watch Lake Ridge beat Longview 56-53.
“They remind me of Baylor’s offense,” said Wood, “playing with a fearless mind, going for it on fourth down, taking shots down the field.”
Aledo counters with a defense that limits opponents to 175 yards and 10 first downs per game, and is plus-22 on takeaways.
“Lake Ridge has a potent offense,” Aledo quarterback Dillon Davis said. “Jett is a great quarterback and our defense will be up for the challenge.”
Davis, a junior, has been efficient. He’s completed 63 percent of his passes to go with 24 touchdowns to only three interceptions this season.
“I’m able to make the right decisions and make the right reads,” Davis said. “I’m able to manage the game. If the big play comes, it comes, but I don’t try to force anything.”
In four playoff games, Davis has thrown seven touchdowns and is averaging 161.8 yards passing.
“He’s very accurate, confident in his arm, very smart and studies the game,” Wood said. “Great competitor that comes from a family of athletes, and he’s improved every week.”
Aledo also has a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield with senior Caleb Primera (1,378 yards, 28 TDs) and sophomore Donnie Evans (1,276 yards, 19 TDs).
“Pleased with both; they’re not big, but they both bring a lot to the table,” Wood said. “It’s nice to have two capable backs that share the load instead of just one back doing it all.”
Lake Ridge, ranked No. 7 in the final regular-season poll, has scored at least 40 points in 13 of 14 games and 50 in nine.
Duffey, a Texas Tech commitment, has accounted for 57 percent of the Eagles’ total yards (4,095), along with 47 touchdowns (27 pass, 20 rush).
Through four playoff games, the Eagles are averaging 66.3 points. Aledo, meanwhile, has allowed 20 points only once during its 13-game win streak, and 17 total points in the postseason.
“We have to be technically sound; they like to spread the field out,” Wood said. “We have to have sure tackles and run to the football.”
Aledo can also count on a lengthy postseason résumé that includes six state titles and five since 2009 (three straight in 4A (2009-11), another 4A in 2013 and last year’s 5A Division I title). The Bearcats are 99-7 since ’09.
“You’re only as good as the leadership you have on the team and we’ve talked about it quite a bit. We have a team full of captain candidates, which helps for a successful season,” Wood said. “This senior class has the intangibles and traits you look for in leaders.”
Wood also discussed his respect for his counterpart in Lake Ridge coach Kirk Thor and where he’s taken the Eagles in just four years.
“He does a great job there,” Wood said. “They’re fine-tuned with a lot of schemes, very disciplined; hard to believe it’s been only four years when you watch them play football.”