Aledo asserts dominance to claim 11th state title in last 15 years

Photo by Russell Wilburn

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ARLINGTON – Everyone loves a good David vs Goliath story. When the team many considered the favorite, Aledo, was trailing midway through the first quarter, the Smithson Valley faithful was filling AT&T Stadium with noise and hopes for an upset.

But this is Aledo and they are known as a machine for a reason. There was no panic in the Bearcats when they trailed by eight points in the first quarter. Instead, they reeled off 51 unanswered points in a 51-8 win over the Rangers.

The dominance Aledo (16-0) has held over the entire state has been impressive. The Bearcats' victory in the Class 5A Division I state championship game added to their legacy. Aledo has won 12 state titles in school history, beginning in 1998. But their dominance recently has been even more impressive, claiming 11 state championships in the last 15 years. Three of their previous 11 titles, including this one, have been of the back-to-back variety.

Smithson Valley (14-2) began the game the way an underdog needs to have an opportunity to pull off an upset. The Rangers defense held Aledo to two total yards while forcing a safety and interception during the Bearcats' first three drives of the contest.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead when Diego Davila tackled Hawk Patrick-Daniels in the endzone. Smithson Valley extended the lead when Clayton Amaya nailed field goals from 49 yards and 30 yards to extend the lead to 8-0 with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter.

While the Bearcats' offense struggled initially, their defense kept the Rangers from gaining serious momentum. Aledo held a solid Smithson Valley offense to 69 total yards in the game. Davhon Keys was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player after registering 12 tackles (six solo) with two tackles for loss and one sack.

Once Aledo’s offense got rolling, it was tough to stop. Hawk Patrick-Daniels was named the Offensive MVP after entering the starting lineup at running back before the state semifinals for the Bearcats when Raycine Guillory suffered an injury. UIW commit Patrick-Daniels shined on the big stage Friday night, gaining 186 yards and three touchdowns rushing. He gained 389 yards and scored four touchdowns over the season's final two weeks.

TCU commit, and Offensive MVP Hauss Hejny completed 9 of 17 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns while adding 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Sophomore Kaydon Finley led the Bearcats with 89 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.

Jaxson Maynard led Smithson Valley with 13 tackles (six solo) and one-half tackle for loss. Cade Spradling added 10 tackles on defense and led the Rangers with 25 yards rushing.

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