In a matchup between the state's No. 1 team in Class 5A Division I, Aledo (12-0) and No. 5 Red Oak, (12-0), the Bearcats defeated the Hawks 59-35 in the Region I semifinal game Friday night at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington.
Aledo fans packed the house and saw the Bearcats jump out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never look back.
The Bearcats, who won for a 27th straight game, will face the Abilene Eagles (11-2) in the regional final (state quarterfinals) on Friday, Dec. 1, at Tarleton State University's Memorial Stadium in Stephenville. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Aledo took its first possession and moved down the field with a mix of mid-range passes to several receivers. Bearcats running back Ray Guillory scored the first of his four touchdowns on a 29-yard run with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Red Oak was able to cut the score in half when they were faced with a fourth-and-10 from the Aledo 19. Hawks quarterback Chris Martinez connected with Brayden Robinson at the 6-yard line and, after a broken tackle, he was able to take the pass in for the Red Oak TD to make the score 14-7, as close the Hawks would be all night.
Aledo took the kickoff, and on the second play from their own 30 Guillory took the handoff from Hejny and went 70 yards for the Bearcats touchdown. He scored less than 25 seconds after the Red Oak touchdown and took any momentum away they may have had.
The Bearcats defense forced the Hawk offense to punt again. Aledo continued to move the ball as Hejny was able to run the ball when his receivers were covered and pick up needed yardage.
The Bearcats had the ball on the Red Oak 20-yard line when Guillory took the handoff and scored his third touchdown of the first half, giving Aledo a 28-7 lead late in the second quarter.
Red Oak came into the game with a very fast offense and the ability to score on any play, and in the last two minutes of the second quarter, they proved that. The Hawks scored a touchdown as Martinez threw a 24-yard touchdown to Taz Williams, cutting Aledo's lead to 28-14 with 1:40 left in the half.
Remember that quick strike potential from Red Oak?
On the Cole Crawford kickoff, Robinson took it back 88 yards for the Hawks touchdown to make the score 35-21.
But, the Bearcats offense and its own quick strike ability, still had time left on the clock.
Moving down the field at Mach 1 speed, Aledo was able to put Crawford in position to attempt a 39-yard field goal, which he converted with no time left on the clock for a 38-21 halftime lead.
When the dust cleared in the second quarter, the teams combined for 45 points in the period.
The Bearcats defense did not allow any points in the third quarter, but the Aledo offense did not slow down. Guillory and Hawk Patrick-Daniels both had rushing touchdowns and Aledo took a 52-21 lead going into the fourth quarter.
With most of the starters on the sidelines, Aledo was still moving the ball down the field when Cameron Winston was able to pick up an Aledo fumble and return it 83 yards for the final Red Oak score.
Aledo coach Robby Jones commented about his team getting stronger as the season gets deeper.
“First of all, since we came back to school last January, they have been working to get back to the playoffs," Jones said. "All the weights they lifted, all the 400’s they ran, are paying off for them right now.”
Hejny praised the Bearcats coaching staff following the win.
“Our coaches do a great job of drawing up the right plays, with the right formations, that give us the opportunity to be successful,” he said.
Guillory had an unofficial 14 carries for 190 yards and four touchdowns. Finley caught seven passes for 160 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Hauss Hejny accounted for 282 total yards. He was 13-for-18 passing for 245 yards and two TD, along with rushing for 37 yards.
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