The old sheriff is back in town, though, truthfully, he never actually left.
Tim Buchanan, the man that started the football dynasty in Aledo - one of the most dominant dynasties going in high school sports - is back on the sidelines as the Bearcats’ head coach.
He opened Aledo’s varsity practice this week as the play-caller, something he hasn’t done since 2013.
“It’s a different feeling,” said Buchanan, who spent the past five years as Aledo’s athletic director. “It’s a heck lot more fun being out here on the football field than in the office wearing slacks and a collared shirt.”
“Coach Buc,” who was a regular fixture on Aledo’s sidelines while in his AD role, complied a 227-53-3 record with five state titles (1998, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013) at the school before making the switch.
In 2013, Aledo became the first high school team ever to score 1,000 points in a season. The Bearcats set a national record with 1,023 points scored.
His assistant, Steve Wood, took over and continued the program’s winning ways, going 75-4 in five years with three titles and four championship appearances. The Bearcats beat Fort Bend Marshall in December, 55-19, to win their eighth championship, tying a UIL record for most all-time. Aledo has also won a state record 83 consecutive district games, which started in 2007.
“I just remember hearing that he was a great coach and always on you to make sure you were doing things perfect,” said senior running back Jase McClellan, who is committed to Oklahoma.
Strong core coming back
Ah, yes, Jase McClellan.
The five-star, who has accounted for over 5,200 yards rushing and 95 TDs in his career, will certainly make Buchanan’s life a lot easier. He could be the best player in program history.
“He’s a really good football player. To have a kid like that in the backfield, it makes my job a lot easier,” Buchanan said. “He can take over a football game. He’s matured a bunch over the last year. It’s a lot of fun to coach him. Jase has a different style, but he’s as good if not better than anyone that we’ve had here.”
McClellan was named state title game offensive MVP in 2016 and 2018.
“We knew when he came back he would be hungry for another state championship,” said McClellan, who rushed for over 2,000 yards and 48 touchdowns last season.
But he is far from the only standout returning for the Bearcats.
Aledo returns seven starters, including four on offense. It also includes quarterback Jake Bishop (2,200 yards passing, 26 TDs) and receiver JoJo Earle, one of the top players in the state as well.
Earle, a 4-star in the class of 2021, holds 14 offers. He recorded 1,100 yards receiving and 16 TDs in 2018.
“We looked good,” Buchanan said. “Offense is really ahead, but you can expect that with the trigger man Jake Bishop back along with Jase, JoJo, Aidan Hayes, Logan Michael; guys who took varsity snaps before.”
Welcome back Money
Another “re-addition” to the offense is senior receiver and Utah commit Money Parks, a 3-star prospect. He was at Aledo in 2017 before playing at Fort Worth All Saints last season.
“Teams can’t just key in on the running, they’ll have to respect our receivers and passing game,” McClellan said. “Expect big yards for all of us.”
Parks caught 51 receptions and eight TDs.
“Money is a Division I wide receiver and he adds another dimension to our football team,” Buchanan said. “I’d hate to be the defensive coordinator and see Jake and Jase in the backfield and then see JoJo, Money and Jaedon Pellegrino at wide receiver. You better have a plan.
“There have been talks about how good this group is coming back and there’s always a high expectation to win another title. There are a lot of predictions and rankings out there, but rankings don’t put rings on your fingers.”