Only halfway through the 2019 season, the Aledo Bearcats (4-1, 3-0) have been through a wide array of situations out on the field, falling in a 117-point shootout with Class 6A’s Denton Guyer in their season opener, putting up a pair of 60-plus point performances in weeks two and three and coming away with a dominant road victory over Everman before winning a 34-28 thriller in overtime versus District 5-5A, D-II opponent Midlothian last week.
That gauntlet does not appear likely to end anytime soon, with the team poised for another challenge Friday, when Aledo travels to play the Burleson Elks (5-1, 3-1) in a district game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burleson Stadium.
Headed by former Aledo coaching staff member Gary McElroy, Burleson has collectively outscored opponents by a 255-160 margin this season, being handed its first defeat (a 37-10 loss to rival Burleson Centennial) only last week.
Owning a pair of tailbacks, Caleb Lewis and Jarrett Allen, who combined for 21 rushing TDs last season in addition to dual-threat quarterback Blake Myers, Burleson owns a capable attack which does not overly rely on a single approach, Aledo Head Coach Tim Buchanan said.
“The thing about them is, they’re pretty balanced,” Buchanan said.
“They throw the ball well and run the ball well, so you can’t go in there and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna stop the run or pass.’ You’ve gotta try to stop both of them.
“It doesn’t matter which running back carries, they’re still doing the same thing. We’ve gotta figure out a way to shut them both down.”
During their first six games, the Elks have failed to score 40-plus points only once.
In contrast, Aledo’s defense has allowed an average 26 points per game this season, however, the unit has done well earning takeaways when critically needed, most recently stripping a Midlothian ballcarrier and returning the fumble 82 yards for a touchdown in overtime last week.
The Bearcats’ own offense, with a bevy of playmakers including quarterback Jake Bishop, tailbacks Jase McClellan and JoJo Earle and wideout Monterren Parks to name a few, has excelled so far this year, racking up an average 52 points per game.
Despite the anticipated absence of the team’s starting and backup running backs due to injury, Buchanan said Aledo must be able to attack the heart of Burleson’s defense.
“They’re an odd-front defense, so we’ve got to be able to run the ball right at them,” Buchanan said.
“That’s gonna be key, [even] without our starting tailback or backup tailback.”