Aledo was eliminated in last year’s state semifinals by Mansfield Lake Ridge — snapping its streak of back-to-back UIL state football titles.
“Last year was last year and this year is this year,” Aledo coach Steve Wood said earlier in the week.
His team will be playing one more game.
The Bearcats capitalized on two first-half turnovers by Mesquite Poteet then used the ground game to defeat the Pirates 38-14 in the Class 5A Division II state semifinals on Friday night at Ford Center at The Star.
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“We just out-willed them and our kids were hungry,” Wood said. “We got to the show, and I’m proud of them. Feels awfully special getting back there.”
Aledo (15-0) will try for its sixth state title in eight years when it faces Corpus Christi Calallen (14-1) at 8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium. Calallen defeated College Station 31-30.
We got to the show, and I’m proud of them. Feels awfully special getting back there.
Aledo coach Steve Wood
Poteet (11-4) looked set to go into halftime with a lead, but the Pirates fumbled near midfield and Aledo’s Will Trawick recovered with 52 seconds left in the quarter.
Aledo broke a 14-14 tie two plays later when Dillon Davis and Preston Jefferis connected on a 38-yard touchdown pass for a 21-14 lead at the break.
Quinn Davis made a 38-yard field goal to extend Aledo’s lead to 24-14 with 3:26 left in the third quarter, and then the Bearcats put together a state-champion drive.
After a Poteet punt pinned Aledo at its own 6-yard line, the Bearcats took more than six minutes to go 94 yards in 13 plays — without a single pass attempt — as Davis sneaked in on a 2-yard touchdown run for a 31-14 lead with 5:45 to play.
The Pirates fumbled on the ensuing drive, and Christian Duncan recovered for Aledo. Michael Jordan iced the game with a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:58 remaining.
Aledo finished with 461 yards of total offense. Jefferis had four catches for 124 yards and one touchdown. Jase McClellan had 29 carries for a career-high 217 yards and a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Bearcats on top 7-0 with 8:13 in the first quarter.
“When you got a lead and Jase running like a horse, you don’t want to do anything else,” Wood said. “We wanted to run the clock and keep them off the field. [Poteet] is explosive.”
Poteet’s Kaleb Fletcher hit Da’Michael Smith on a 78-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter, and Kid Dickerson returned a fumble for a 25-yard touchdown on the ensuing Aledo play to push the Pirates ahead 14-7 with 9:10 in the half. Smith led the Pirates with 10 catches for 219 yards and one touchdown.