Aledo running back Donnie Evans leads the Bearcats with 22 rushing touchdowns this season, and he’s third on the team with 950 yards rushing.
But come Friday, as Aledo (15-0) plays Corpus Christi Calallen (14-1) for the Class 5A Division II state title at 8 p.m. at AT&T Stadium, Evans probably won’t improve those numbers much as the senior fills in for injured safety Logan Childs for a second straight week.
Moving Evans and still maintaining a formidable ground game is another part of the impressive depth Aledo has developed in its march to the title game.
Aledo also has three receivers with more than 900 yards.
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“It’s neat to have that kind of depth,” Aledo coach Steve Wood said. “It’s nice to have three weapons out there. They can’t just key on one of those guys.”
No one had a more up-close look at that this season, twice to be exact, than Saginaw Boswell coach John Abendschan.
When they get inserted into the Aledo lineup, for whatever reason, they don’t skip a beat and make big plays. They’re ready to play when needed.
Saginaw Boswell coach John Abendschan, on how Aledo reserves step up for injured starters
“If you really pay attention, they’ve got 11 or 12 big cats out there at any one time,” said Abendschan, whose Pioneers lost in the state quarterfinals to Aledo. “But the difference makers on any team are the fence-sitting kind of guys.
“It’s the guys that would be pretty good and probably start on other teams. But when they get inserted into the Aledo lineup, for whatever reason, they don’t skip a beat and make big plays. They’re ready to play when needed.”
Evans has celebrated touchdowns many times this season, but it was four key pass breakups that completely changed momentum last week against Mesquite Poteet.
With Evans on defense, freshman Jase McClellan got a larger offensive workload and responded with 29 carries for 217 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Michael Jordan had 11 carries for just 23 yards and a score, but was instrumental in a heavy-load package that burned over six minutes off the second-half game clock in a 14-play scoring drive to hold Poteet at bay.
Your team has to make more big plays than Aledo does. And nobody’s done it yet.
“That’s what produces the weapons for them, just how physical they are up front,” Abendschan said. “What that does for an opponent becomes an overwhelming challenge to just maintain a defense against their run game.”
But assuming Calallen can manage to at least slow Aledo’s running game, Abendschan said that solution creates optimal one-on-one matchups for Bearcats quarterback Dillon Davis and his receivers.
“I’m sure Dillon wants to throw it more than he wants to hand it off,” he said. “But now your defensive backs are up against track stars and guys with serious speed, and you’re just hoping your guys can keep up.
“The recipe is pretty simple: Your team has to make more big plays than Aledo does. And nobody’s done it yet.”
Awesomely adaptable Aledo
Class 5A Division II state title
Aledo (15-0) vs. Corpus Christi Calallen (14-1)
8 p.m. Friday, AT&T Stadium,