Big Game Prediction: Abilene (11-2) vs. Aledo (13-0)

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Abilene (11-2) vs. Aledo (13-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Stephenville’s Memorial Stadium: The two top teams in Region I will slug it out in Tarleton Friday night.

Abilene High has quietly put together its best season since 2011 on the strength of a tough defense that forces turnovers and a big-play offense that’s come up big time after time.

Last week Abilene ran out to a 20-0 lead on Justin Northwest and hung on late for a 27-16 win. RB Chad Lara ran for 117 yards and a touchdown, while WR Ryland Bradford had 106 yards receiving and a touchdown.

After a couple of closer than anticipated games early in the playoffs, Aledo looked like the state title favorite in a 59-35 win over Red Oak last week. RB Raycine Guillory had his best game of the year with 190 yards on the ground and four touchdowns, while sophomore TE Kaydon Finley had 161 yards receiving and two scores.

Abilene is good enough to pull the upset, but the path to victory for the Warbirds will involve some Aledo mistakes. If Aledo hangs on to the football and doesn’t get a rash of penalties, they’ll pull away in the second half.

Stepp’s Pick: Aledo by 13

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