— By BRIAN SMITH
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Aledo’s march to a state title claimed two more victims Friday night — Saginaw Boswell and Mother Nature.
The former was scheduled as the Bearcats’ Area-round matchup. The latter had to be dealt with as well, as temperatures just above freezing, rain throughout the game and a healthy north wind would seemingly put the kibosh on the normally high-powered Aledo offense, which had been averaging more than 550 yards and nearly 69 points a contest.
After a somewhat slow start offensively, the Bearcats got things rolling with a 36-point second quarter, effectively sending the Pioneers back home and allowing Aledo to take a 75-14 Class 4A Division II win at Birdville’s Fine Arts & Athletic Complex.
Even Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan seemed surprised when told his squad had put up 501 yards of total offense in the contest, which was played before an estimated 1,500 diehard fans.
“We knew going in we would have to protect the football with these weather conditions,” Buchanan said. “If we could do that, we knew we’d win the game. We felt we were the better team tonight.”
Aledo proved up Buchanan’s notions despite being without the services of offensive threat Ryan Newsome, who did not play due to a mild concussion suffered last week. Buchanan said the wideout/quarterback is expected back next week for the Region I contest.
Nary a first-half offensive series started in Bearcat territory, as Aledo took advantage of short punts and solid defense to maintain a short field through the opening quarters.
The Aledo ‘D’ allowed just one first down and 11 total yards in the first half.
After forcing a three-and-out on the opening series, highlighted by a sack from Zach Hyles, the Aledo offense needed just five plays to begin the scoring. Scoring the first of four touchdowns on the night, junior Jess Anders found pay dirt from 11 yards out around the left side to cap the 35-yard drive.