Friday UIL State Notebook

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Whittington puts on a show

Photo by Zac Byrd

Cuero needed a monster effort from superstar Texas commit Jordan Whittington who put on a performance for the ages Friday afternoon as the Gobblers knocked off defending 4A Division II state champions, Texarkana Pleasant Grove, 40-28. Whittington rushed for 334 yards and five touchdowns and added a receiving touchdown as CHS took home its first state title since 1987. Whittington ripped of a 69-yard touchdown run on Cuero’s first offensive series and never trailed off, while the Gobbler defense in the second half put the clamps down on the vaunted Pleasant Grove Wing-T attack. Whittington set or tied multiple state championship records, breaking the record for most rushing yards in a state title game (All classes), that record was held by Aledo’s Jonathan Gray set in 2010. Eric Dickerson held the record at the 4A level with his 311 yards rushing for Sealy in the 1978 title game. Whittington’s five rushing touchdowns tied Dwight Smith’s five rushing touchdowns for Carthage in the 2008 title game against Celina. That game is famous for being the final Texas high school football game played at Texas Stadium.

Waco La Vega has the formula
No one has been able to slow down the machine that was the Liberty Hill Slot-T offense in 2018. But once again Waco La Vega, led by head coach Don Hyde, and a fast and disciplined defense had all the answers. The Pirates held a LHHS attack that hadn’t scored less than 35 points in a game all year to just 21 points and much of that after the game was already decided, in a 35-21 win. Hyde, who was La Vega's defensive coordinator, stepped into the head coaching role this off-season and his team didn’t miss a beat in bringing home La Vega’s second state title in school history. The Pirate defense has proven that it can slow down this type of offense time after time as it’s La Vega’s fifth straight win over Liberty Hill since 2015.

Aledo wins No. 8
After coming up just short a year ago and losing by a single point in the title game, the Aledo Bearcats left little doubt Friday night as they drilled first-time state title participant Fort Bend Marshall 55-19 to win their eighth state title in school history. The Bearcats join elite company as just the fourth school to win eight 11-man state titles. Aledo joins Celina, Katy and Southlake Carroll in that rarified air. Junior running back Jase McClellan led the onslaught for Aledo rushing for 149 yards and three touchdowns and also catching a 22-yard touchdown pass. Most of that damage came in the first half as McClellan was out of the game early in the third quarter.

Attendance watch
So far attendance for 2018 is lagging behind the 2017 pace by just under 10,000 spectators. Although the finale on Friday night between Aledo and Fort Bend Marshall drew a strong crowd of 26,155. Liberty Hill and Waco LaVega in the 4A Division II game drew a solid crowd of 19,218, while Cuero and Texarkana Pleasant Grove drew a crowd of 12,784. We will need some really big crowds on Saturday to surpass the 2017 pace and we'll need some epic crowds if the attendance numbers want to exceed the 2016 pace. The record pace from the 2014 UIL State Championships looks to be a bit out of reach for this year, however.

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