— By BRIAN SMITH
ALEDO — Starting off games on a strong mental note is paramount to a successful season. Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan is seeing that in his players so far in 2013.
The solid kickoff to the season has elevated as the Bearcats to a No. 1 ranking in Class 4A, bolstered on Friday as the Bearcats used a 35-point en route to a 49-7 win over Monterrey Prepa Tech Friday night.
Buchanan said the Bearcats have not had a mentally deficient game this year, which has been one reason behind the strong start.
“We haven’t had a mentally-off game yet this year, and that’s what you like to see early in the season,” Buchanan said. “I didn’t expect us to start that way this season. We started strong again tonight.”
Aledo (3-0) did not punt until midway through third quarter, scoring on five of its six first half possessions, while rolling up 268 yards in the process.
Luke Bishop threw first half touchdown strikes to Ryan Newsome and Matthew Hawkins and added a third on the ground as part of a 14-for-18 night passing for 260 yards.
Jess Anders scored two of his three rushing scores in the first two quarters. Aledo put up 504 yards offensively against what the veteran Bearcat mentor called a “very physical” team.
“They were very hard to run on, which we’re going to have to figure out over the next two weeks,” Buchanan said. “Ask Stephenville. Ask Highland Park. They were a very good football team.”
Aledo rushed for 181 yards in the game, led by Newsome’s 75 yards on eight totes.
With a break coming next week, Aledo will be focusing on the fundamentals as it prepares for a Sept. 27 road game vs. Arlington Heights to open District 7-4A play.
“We’ll be working a lot on the fundamentals and doing a bit of self-scouting,” Buchanan said. “Looking at the things we’re not doing well. Always room for improvement.”