Normally, the offensive line doesn’t get much credit for winning football games, but that’s not the case at Aledo.
And it started back in the summer.
“I was shaking his hand looking up and said, ‘Holy smokes, man, you sure hit the right place, buddy’ ” senior lineman Wes Harris said the first time he met 6-foot-7 Chuck Filiaga.
Filiaga, also a senior, moved from California to Aledo in the summer and Harris quickly took him under his wing.
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“When Chuck first came here, Wes kind of took him in and those linemen have a team within a team to me, just running around together and making him feel welcome,” Aledo coach Steve Wood said.
Wes was willing and he’s a team guy, he’ll do whatever you ask, he’s just that way.
Aledo coach Steve Wood on Wes Harris
But Wood had to make a decision. He had six capable offensive linemen, but only five could start.
“We talked to them as a staff. We had five guys that had started the last portion of last year that were returning on the offensive line and then Chuck came,” Wood said. “Obviously Chuck is good enough to be on the football field. We felt like we could take Wes and not really hurt our offensive line and we felt like it had a bigger impact on the game and our team with him playing defensive line.”
“Wes was willing and he’s a team guy, he’ll do whatever you ask, he’s just that way.”
Last season’s district MVP as an offensive lineman, Harris switched to defensive line to make room for Filiaga, which showed off his character.
“With Wes doing that, it truly describes that he’s passionate and caring — going to the defense to help them out — he’d do anything for the team,” Filiaga said.
I’ve grown to love it. I think it’s the most physical position on the football field. It’s been fun.
Aledo senior Wes Harris on moving to the defensive line
Harris, a TCU commit, has exceeded expectations and flourished in his new role despite not playing a single defensive down prior to the season. He has 99 tackles, 11 for loss and nine sacks through 15 games.
“I remember coming home to my parents and saying, ‘If Chuck comes in, I think I’m going to defense’ — whatever’s best for the team,” Harris said. “I’ve grown to love it. I think it’s the most physical position on the football field. It’s been fun.”
Aledo (15-0) will play for its sixth UIL state football title at 8 p.m. Friday against Corpus Christi Calallen (14-1) at AT&T Stadium. Harris will be making his 63rd career start out of a possible 64 games. The Bearcats are 59-3 in his four years.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Wood said. “Any time you have a great team, you have to have that unselfishness. I think he’s having a great time and having fun.”
Filiaga, a four-star recruit by 247Sports, had 52 pancakes and allowed no sacks as Aledo won the District 6-5A title. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, where he’ll announce his college commitment.
“My relationship with Wes has been great. It’s been a brotherhood,” Filiaga said. “He’s a hard-working guy and he definitely wants the best out of everybody and he expects it as well.”
Aledo vs. Corpus Christi
8 p.m. Friday, AT&T Stadium