ALEDO — Offense wins games but defense wins championships, the story goes. Friday night, however, it could be said that defense won a game.
The Bearcat defense, which had allowed a scant 11 points in four District 7-4A games, forced three fumbles which led directly (and quickly) to all three Aledo touchdowns in a closer than it looked 24-8 win over Fort Worth Southwest at Bearcat Stadium.
Bearcat Coach Tim Buchanan called the defensive job “simply Aledo football.”
“We were moving the ball offensively okay but just couldn’t sustain field position like we’re used to,” Buchanan said. “Fortunately we were able to force some turnovers.”
The Aledo defense was able to thwart wide receiver Robbie Rhodes, who didn’t have a reception all night. Rhodes, an early commit to Baylor, spent quite a bit of time at quarterback and led the squad in rushing, however, with 46 yards on eight carries.
Both teams were tied atop the league at 4-0 heading into the contest and locked into a defensive struggle early on. It was the visiting Raiders (4-1 in 7-4A and 6-2 overall) that came through with the first fumble recovery as Aledo (5-0 and 7-1) was driving inside the Southwest 15 late in the first.
Midway through the second quarter, however, after the Bearcats were stymied on fourth down inside the Southwest 15, Quanel Williams recovered a Justice Adams-Jones fumble to give Aledo a first-and-goal from the Raider nine.
Caleb Frysinger needed just one play, bouncing outside to his left and shedding a tackler before finding the end zone. Chance Nevarez tacked on the point after with 5:39 remaining in the first half.
Late in the half, Aledo used Pate Davis strikes to Taco Anderson, John Whatley and Williams to set the table for Nevarez’s 28-yard field goal with five seconds left in the half.
The Bearcats allowed just 45 yards and three first downs in the first two quarters to the visitors, who had been averaging 457 yards of offense a game. Three plays into the second half, Aledo’s defense struck again with linebacker Jordan Mittie recovering another Adams-Jones fumble at the Southwest nine.
One play later, Daythan Davis scored to help extend the lead to 17-0 barely two minutes into the third quarter. Southwest began moving the ball on the ensuing drive, getting into Aledo territory for the first time all night. Again, it was an Adams-Jones fumble that was pounced on by Ray Hart to snuff out the drive at the Bearcat 33. Two plays later, Pate Davis found a wide open Whatley down the right side to complete a 67-yard scoring toss and extend the lead to 24-0 midway through the third.
Aledo would come through with one more turnover on the ensuing drive, Clayton Lowe picking off a Rhodes pass after the Raiders had gotten into Aledo territory once again.
Southwest wouldn’t go quietly into the cold night, however with Adams-Jones finding Willie Robinson on a 76-yard TD pass and adding the 2-point conversion with 7:32 left. Southwest then moved inside the Aledo five on its next possession but a fourth down pass went incomplete with just under two minutes left and the Bearcats ran out the clock.
Aledo hits the road Friday for Granbury in its final regular season road game. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Aledo 24 FW Southwest 8
Southwest 0 0 0 8 — 8
Aledo 0 10 14 0 — 24
AHS — Caleb Frysinger 9 run (Chance Nevarez kick)
AHS — Nevarez 28 FG
AHS — Daythan Davis 9 run (Nevarez kick)
AHS — John Whatley 67 pas from Pate Davis (Nevarez kick)
SHS — Willie Robinson 76 pass from Justice Adams-Jones (Adams-Jones run)
Team Stats: SHS AHS
First Downs 12 20
Rushes-yards 33-116 43-162
Passing Yards 185 162
Comp-Att-Int 8-20-1 12-17-0
Total Yards 301 324
Penalties-Yards 11-104 1-15
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 5-1
Punts-Avg. 4-32.3 3-36
Rushing: SHS — Rhodes 8-46, Adams-Jones 17-42;
AHS — Davis 17-69, Anders 14-48
Passing: SHS — Adams-Jones 6-14-0, 159 yards, Rhodes 2-6-1, 26 yards;
AHS — Davis 12-17-0, 162 yards
Receiving: SHS — Robinson 3-123, 1 TD, Jones 3-31;
AHS — Anderson 4-40, Whatley 3-75