Once again the Aledo Bearcats have gone 10-0 in the regular season. They accomplished that feat with a 59-13 victory at White Settlement Brewer on Friday, Nov. 3.
The Bearcats also ended District 3-5A Division I play with an 8-0 record, winning their 16th straight league championship dating to 2008. They ran their national-record district winning streak to 119 consecutive dating to 2007.
Their attention now turns to bidistrict and a home matchup against Killeen Shoemaker (7-3), the fourth-place team District 4-5A Division I. The game is set for Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at Tim Buchanan Stadium.
The Bearcats will bring a 24-game winning streak into the contest, which started after they began the 2022 season 0-2.
In defeating Brewer (3-7, 3-5 in district), the Bearcats were without senior starting quarterback Hauss Hejny and sophomore starting running back Ray Guillory. Hejny was nursing a small leg injury he experienced during practice earlier in the week and Guillory has a knee sprain.
While Hejny might have been able to play, but with the district championship already wrapped up, head coach Robby Jones said, “It’s best for Hauss to rest.”
As for Guillory, he remains questionable as the Bearcats begin their quest for a second straight state championship and 12th in team history. It would also be the first for Jones as a head coach
as he took over for the retired Tim Buchanan this season.
Backup quarterback Gavin Beard gave a standout performance in his first varsity start. He completed 19 of 23 passes for 223 yards, one of those completions going for a 46-yard touchdown to senior receiver Hawk Patrick Daniels.
“There were a lot of nerves, but after the first round I got settled in and counted on my teammates and trusted in the game plan,” Beard, a sophomore, said.
Of course, no first varsity start is complete without a touchdown pass, which Beard got when Patrick-Daniels took a short pass and broke free.
“I was completing a lot of short passes. I busted a sigh on that touchdown,” Beard said with a smile.
“He’s a capable quarterback. We knew that,” Jones said. “We’ll go into next year with him as the heir apparent to Hauss.”
Jones noted that if Beard was indeed nervous, it wasn’t noticeable. He completed six of his first seven passes to start the game.
“He’s a pretty cool character under pressure,” Jones said.
Beard spread his 19 completions among six receivers. He connected with Kaydon Finley, another sophomore, the most, seven times for 73 yards.
Each team scored a touchdown on a blocked punt. For the Bearcats, senior Ky Howington celebrated his final regular-season game by blocking a Bears punt that teammate Chase Wilburn - yet another sophomore - recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.
In a funny scenario for a moment it seemed both players were battling for the ball before Wilburn claimed it for the score.
“I did want the TD, I did!” exclaimed Howington with a chuckle. “I don’t think I was even supposed to block that punt. I was supposed to cover the tackle, but I saw the upback wasn’t really looking and I saw my chance.
“It felt great. I thought I’d dive and it would hit me in the stomach and hurt, but it got me on the arm.”
Jones said Howington’s alertness on the play is exactly what he and the coaching staff are looking for.
“We want people to make plays and that’s exactly what he did,” Jones said. “We were struggling offensively and the timing was right.”
The touchdown on the blocked punt made the score 21-0 Aledo.
Ironically, shortly after, the Bears would also score on a blocked punt by Lucas Cantu. It’s the first time they’ve had a punt blocked since 2013.
Eight different Bearcats scored in some capacity against Brewer. Along with catching a TD pass, Patrick-Daniels got the scoring started with a 6-yard run for a 7-0 lead after the first quarter.
Davhon Keys, who also had a sack at linebacker, celebrated his final regular-season game with touchdown runs of 2 and 10 yards. Running backs Kaden Winkfield, sophomore, and senior RJ Blake each had a TD, as did sophomore Lincoln Tubbs, who came in at quarterback in the fourth quarter.
On special teams, along with Wilburn’s TD, junior Cole Crawford kicked a 20-yard field goal and six extra points. Also, senior Logan DeFranzo had a pair of points after touchdown kicks.
While the Bearcats did not force a turnover, they were stingy with yardage against the Bears. Brewer managed just 139 unofficial yards, including just 85 rushing on 30 carries and 55 passing.
In addition, they forced Bears quarterback Jordan Clark into several hurried throws. He completed just two of 11 passes.
On 16 of the 30 rushes, Aledo held Brewer to 2 yards or less, including eight of zero or negative yards. Also, after getting four first downs in the opening quarter, the Bears did not get another one until their final drive of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Now the Bearcats try to extend another streak against Shoemaker. Aledo has won 27 consecutive bidistrict playoff games since 1996, including last season’s 37-0 victory at home over Shoemaker.
Jones knows the Grey Wolves, who returned a host of players from that team, have been thinking about that loss for a year. He said they are also the healthiest they’ve been since the start of the season.
“It’s going to be a tough matchup. They’re no slouch,” he said.
After a slump that saw them fall to 3-3, the Grey Wolves bring a four-game winning streak into the contest. They have outscored their past four opponents 229-31.
Aledo 7 17 21 14 - 59
Brewer 0 6 0 7 - 13
A - Hawk Patrick-Daniels 6 run (Cole Crawford kick)
A - Davhon Keys 2 run (Crawford kick)
A - Chase Wilburn blocked punt recovery (Crawford kick)
B - Lucas Cantu blocked punt returned 25 yards (run fail)
A - Crawford 20 FG
A - Keys 10 run (Crawford kick)
A - Patrick-Daniels 46 pass from Gavin Beard (Crawford kick)
A - Kaden Winkfield 7 run (Crawford kick)
A - RJ Blake 14 run (Logan DeFranzo kick)
A - Lincoln Tubbs 22 run (DeFranzo kick)
B - Jordan Clark 18 run (Jonathan Cortez kick)
First downs: Aledo 27, Brewer 6.
Rushes-yards: Aledo 37-225, Brewer 30-85.
Passing yards: Aledo 223, Brewer 55.
Caught-thrown-intercepted: Aledo 19-24-0, Brewer 2-11-0.
Fumbles-lost: Aledo 0-0, Brewer 0-0.
Punts-average: Aledo 2-20.5, Brewer 9-23.6.
Penalties-yards: Aledo 7-55, Brewer 7-56.
Third-down conversions: Aledo 5-9, Brewer 4-12.
Fourth-down conversions: Aledo 2-2, Brewer 0-0.
Aledo: Winkfield 9 carries, 52 yards, TD; Blake 3-37, TD; Patrick-Daniels 10-33, TD; Blake Burdine 1-29; Stubbs 3-28, TD; Cole Plumbley 1-25; Keys 3-16, 2 TD; Austin Keith 3-12; Beard 2-(-11).
Brewer: Jaden Garrett 12-41; Clark 10-40, TD; Reggie Bryson 3-5; Zacary Garcia 1-2; Jovan Sparkman 4-(-3).
Aledo: Beard 19-23-0, 223 yards, TD; Stubbs 0-1-0.
Brewer: Clark 2-11-0, 55 yards.
Aledo: Patrick-Daniels 3 catches, 74 yards, TD; Kaydon Finley 7-73; Tyson Timms 4-33; Burdine 2-26; Trace Clarkson 2-13; Winkfield 1-4.
Aledo sack: Keys.
Aledo tackle leaders: Chris Johnson 5.5, Cooper Kohan 4.5, Ben McElree 3.5, Carson Dempsey 3.5.
Aledo tackles for loss: Johnson 2, Keys 1, Kohan 1, Dempsey 1, Jacob McIntire 1.
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