All it took was a moment of improv to bring out Aledo’s championship prowess.
Crobsy (12-4) and the Bearcats (13-1) exchanged touchdowns on their first two drives. The Cougars stopped Aledo on its third possession to get the ball back just before the end of the first quarter, a much-needed defensive response after going three-and-out.
On fourth down, Aledo punter Clay Murador found the Crosby punt block unit in his face when he received the ball. The sophomore tucked it and bolted down the left side for a 21-yard gain and a first down.
The conversion kept the drive alive, allowing Aledo to eventually take its first lead of the game on a five-yard run from DeMarco Roberts. That score sparked a 42-0 scoring run resulting in a 56-21 win over Crosby in the 5A DII championship.
“People don’t realize (Murador) is the fastest kid at Aledo high school,” Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan revealed after the game. “…What we talked about is if he saw the rush coming and he did not feel that he could get the punt off, that he should take it and run to the left side because that was the side that we could expose what they were doing.”
Consider that plan followed to perfection.
The Bearcats became the first-ever UIL program to win 10 state titles Friday inside AT&T Stadium.
“The biggest thing is that it didn’t start tonight,” Buchanan said. “It started back in 1993 and when you look at the people who were the foundation of what we’ve done. Those guys, they didn’t get any rings or medals or anything like that.
“And we don’t do what we’ve done without Steve Woods and Robby Jones. That’s what makes this so special.”
The drive was capped off by DeMarco Roberts, who scored six of Aledo’s eight touchdowns on the day and was named the game’s Offensive MVP. Roberts amassed 254 yards on the ground combining with star and future Alabama wideout wideout JoJo Earle’s 224 total yards to gash an athletic Crosby defense.
“It’s hard to simulate guys who can run like Crosby,” Buchanan said. “(Reggie Branch) and (Deniquez Dunn) are fast football players. They’re really good football players and they’re a really good football team so it took us a little while to get used to the speed of the game.”
Aledo’s defense held a Cougar offense that averaged 52 points per game in the playoffs to just 21.
“Being a senior, this whole week could be the fastest and slowest week I’ve ever lived but as a senior it just means more,” senior defensive lineman Caden Anderson said. “Starting in the state game last year, it was fun it was cool, but it doesn’t mean near as much as it did this year.”
Both Dunn and Branch combined for over 400 yards of total offense and scored all three of the Cougars’ touchdowns through the air and on the ground. It was Crosby’s first title game appearance since 1960 as a 1A program.
“These kids brought a community together,” Crosby head coach Jerry Prieto said. “They brought a community together in times of turmoil for our country when we have a whole lot of adults who can’t get it right, who don’t understand how to bring unity together and this football team did. Our community had been hurting for a while and these kids brought it back together.”
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||Score|
|SCORING SUMMARY||CROSBY -ALEDO|
|1st||09:00||CROSBY||Jaylen Herman 9 yd pass from Deniquez Dunn (Trevor Helburg kick)|
|11 plays, 75 yards, TOP 3:00||7 - 0|
|07:31||ALEDO||JoJo Earle 74 yd pass from Brayden Nicolosi (Clay Murador kick)|
|3 plays, 74 yards, TOP 1:24||7 - 7|
|05:02||CROSBY||Reggie Branch 2 yd run (Trevor Helburg kick)|
|9 plays, 75 yards, TOP 2:29||14 - 7|
|02:43||ALEDO||DeMarco Roberts 32 yd run (Clay Murador kick)|
|8 plays, 75 yards, TOP 2:19||14 - 14|
|2nd||08:38||ALEDO||DeMarco Roberts 5 yd run (Clay Murador kick)|
|12 plays, 72 yards, TOP 5:35||14 - 21|
|05:45||ALEDO||DeMarco Roberts 25 yd run (Clay Murador kick)|
|5 plays, 53 yards, TOP 1:09||14 - 28|
|00:42||ALEDO||DeMarco Roberts 20 yd run (Clay Murador kick)|
|10 plays, 71 yards, TOP 2:36||14 - 35|
|3rd||07:08||ALEDO||DeMarco Roberts 1 yd run (Clay Murador kick)|
|13 plays, 75 yards, TOP 4:52||14 - 42|
|4th||11:12||ALEDO||Brian Fleming 20 yd pass from Brayden Nicolosi (Clay Murador kick)|
|10 plays, 68 yards, TOP 5:50||14 - 49|
|10:14||CROSBY||Deniquez Dunn 7 yd run (Trevor Helburg kick)|
|4 plays, 87 yards, TOP 0:48||21 - 49|
|08:56||ALEDO||DeMarco Roberts 54 yd run (Clay Murador kick)|
|3 plays, 70 yards, TOP 1:06||21 - 56|
|NET YARDS RUSHING||192||381|
|Average Per Rush||6.6||7.1|
|Yards Gained Rushing||208||396|
|Yards Lost Rushing||16||15|
|NET YARDS PASSING||169||234|
|Average Per Attempt||6.8||11.7|
|Average Per Completion||13.0||14.6|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||361||615|
|Total offense plays||54||74|
|Average Gain Per Play||6.7||8.3|
|Average Yards Per Punt||41.0||0.0|
|Net Yards Per Punt||41.0||0.0|
|Average Yards Per Kickoff||49.2||55.9|
|Net Yards Per Kickoff||33.5||32.4|
|Fair Catch Yards||0||0|
|Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD||0-0-0||0-0-0|
|Average Per Return||0.0||0.0|
|Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD||5-111-0||2-13-0|
|Average Per Return||22.2||6.5|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD||0-0-0||0-0-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||3 of 8||12 of 15|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 2||3 of 3|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||1-6||2-14|
|Points off turnovers||0||7|
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