Aledo football: Jase McClellan 42-yard TD run in state championship
It was the classic case of David vs. Goliath on Friday night at AT&T Stadium.
There was mighty Aledo playing in its 10th state title game in front of three levels packed with its fans. On the other side, Fort Bend Marshall, playing in its first-ever state championship since the school opened in 2002.
Stones weren’t going to cut it this time.
Not with five-star Aledo running back Jase McClellan playing like Zeus.
McClellan, a 2020 running back committed to Oklahoma, rushed for three first-half touchdowns as Aledo led from start to finish to roll by Marshall, 55-19, in the Class 5A Division II championship in front of 26,155.
If you were ever hesitant to label the Bearcats a dynasty before, it’s fair game now. Aledo (16-0), ranked No. 1 in 5A, hoisted their seventh state title in 10 years, which has never been done, and a UIL-tying eighth overall.
“When I got to Aledo in 1993, all but 17 kids were playing football,” said Aledo athletic director Tim Buchanan, who coached the Bearcats to five of those state titles. “I was the 5th or 6th head coach in four years, one stayed for only two days. So to see this program become what it is today, it’s a tribute to everyone; the people in the stands, the kids, parents, administration and community. This is the best high school staff in the state, maybe the nation.”
It was also redemption after Aledo lost to College Station, 20-19, in last year’s final.
“I never doubted that the kids and coaches would be back here this year,” Buchanan said. “This is a really good football team with some of the best football coaches. Steve Wood is one of the best, if not the best football coach I’ve ever been around.”
“Our kids have been on a mission,” Wood added. “We’ve been hungry all year long. It worried me to play South Oak Cliff, Reedy and Rider and could we compete three weeks in a row so my goal tonight was for them to play loose. I didn’t want them to play tight and I knew they’d play hard, they’ve played hard for 15 games.”
Marshall (15-1), ranked No. 4, clinched its first trip to state last week against Calallen, 19-17. This came after senior Drew Conley lost his life the Monday before the semifinals.
But the Buffalos couldn’t stop McClellan in the first half. He finished with 21 carries, 149 yards and 3 TDs, and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass. He was voted title game Offensive MVP for the second time in three years.
“It just feels great to get that redemption,” said McClellan, who scored his 75th TD run of his career. “Credit goes to my offensive line, opening holes for me and allowing me to do what I do.”
Aledo got out to a 7-0 lead when McClellan scored on a 42-yard run with 8:18 left in the opening period.
Following a Marshall punt to the Aledo 1, McClellan made his only mistake all night when Jerrell Mayweather forced a fumble and Frank Miller recovered in the end zone. The extra point was missed to make it 7-6 with 6:35 in the quarter.
It seemed to make McClellan angry as he added TD runs of 6 and 2 yards, and caught a 22-yard TD from Jake Bishop. Aledo went into intermission with a 28-12 advantage. Marshall scored early in the second quarter and added a third TD late in the fourth.
The Bearcats scored three more times in the third to take a 48-12 lead into the fourth and the defense held Marshall to 30 points below its season average.
Tre Owens, last week’s hero, rushed on a 3-yard score. Jake Bishop ran in a 7-yarder and added a 20-yard TD pass to Devan Daugherty. He also threw a 27-yard TD pass to JoJo Earle with 5:47 to go in the final quarter.
Bishop threw for 174 yards and 3 TDs on 14 of 17 passing and added 69 yards rushing and one score.
“It means the world to me he was able to do it. It’s been a long year for him too,” said Wood about Bishop, who adds a sixth state title to the family name.
Aledo ties the UIL record with eight state titles along with Celina, Katy, Southlake Carroll and 6-man Richland Springs.
“It says a lot about what Coach Buc built here in Aledo and we just tried to keep it and carry it on, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have some really good athletes and unbelievable coaches and support so it’s been a perfect storm,” Wood said.
“Just special to go out your senior year like this,” added Aledo linebacker and TCU signee Wyatt Harris, who was voted Defensive MVP with a team-high 6 tackles, 4 solo. “Not many kids get to be in this opportunity especially with a program like Aledo.”