— By BRIAN SMITH
ARLINGTON — In the mind of 12-year-old Joseph Tibbetts, Aledo’s 38-10 win over Brenham in the Class 4A Division II State Championship game Saturday was “the coolest thing to happen to me in my life.”
It was the young Bearcats fan’s first title game to attend.
“I usually have a sport or are practicing on Fridays, so I haven’t seen too many games, but this is great,” Tibbetts, who had his face painted in Aledo orange and black, said.
He was one of a large throng of Bearcat backers who might not have felt as strong as he did but were definitely proud of their team and coaching staff on an unbeaten, record-breaking 2013 season.
Aledo fans made the trek east to AT&T Stadium in miserable weather conditions in what is becoming old hat for the community, the Bearcats having won four of the last five Class 4A state titles and the school’s fifth state football title overall.
Aledo band parent Dave Abbett left his seat for a moment during a late third quarter drive and told his wife if the Bearcats scored on the drive, it was over. They did, and Aledo began pulling away at that point.
Abbett said the recent football success has helped turn around public mindset of the city.
“We’re not some little farm town in the middle of nowhere anymore,” Abbett said. “Aledo is now representing the Fort Worth area at the state Class 4A level and we’re showing what we can do on the big stage again and again.”
Perri McCranie’s daughter is a freshman cheerleader at AHS and she hopes the success will continue for years to come.
“This should rejuvenate Aledo and the program,” McCranie said.
AHS junior Chris Melo said the state title victory is a great way to head into the holidays.
“Not a lot of people get to go to state, so I’m proud to have the chance,” Melo said.
Doris Minchew may have said it best, however. Minchew has been a resident of Aledo for many years and has no ties to the football program. She said she comes out in an attempt to support all the kids.
“Whether you’re a player, coach, band member, cheerleader, parent or just a fan like me, this is something you can take with you and hold close to your heart for many years to come,” Minchew said.