Photo via Joseph Nguyen,

Just out west of Fort Worth, fans gathered at Bearcat Stadium in Aledo for the big Week 1 showdownbetween Aledo and the Panthers of Colleyville Heritage. The defending state champion Bearcats defeated the Panthers in 2016 on a last minute interception to end the game 41-36. This year, a young Heritage team came to Aledo to try to avenge last year’s loss but fell short 38-21 on Friday night.

The Bearcat’s received the kickoff to start the game and drove all the way to the heritage 9 yard line where they faced 4th and 1. Sophomore quarterback Jake Bishop handed off to All-State running back Jase McClellan who scampered in for the score. Cole Daniels’ extra point was successful and the Bearcats led 7-0 early in the first. That is how the quarter would end after both teams failed to score on their next two possessions.

At the start of the second quarter, Colleyville Heritage punted the ball away to Aledo. Tre Owens fair caught the ball at the 45. After a couple first downs, the Bearcats faced 4th down. Coach Steve Wood called on kicker Cole Daniels for a field goal that put Aledo up by 10. Later in the 2nd, Jase McClellan took the ball up the middle and somehow stayed on his feet to run it 18 yards for the Aledo touchdown. The Bearcats led 17-0 at the half.

The Panthers received the second half kickoff and quickly went three and out. Jake Bishop did not waste any time marching Aledo all the way down to the 9 yard line where sophomore receiver Money Parks carried it into the endzone to put Aledo up 24-0.

Late in the 3rd quarter, Heritage did not hesitate to turn a stalled Aledo drive into points as they drove all the way down to the 4 yard line. From there it was all Drew Sanders as the Sophomore quarterback galloped in for the Panther touchdown. They might have been behind but they were not going to go down without a fight. The score at the end of the 3rd was 24-7 Aledo.

The Panthers tried to take advantage over an Aledo fumble but a Drew Sanders pass was intercepted by Aledo senior defensive back Jake McLendon. The Bearcats drove all the way down to the Heritage 32 yard line. Money Parks took the ball with just over 7 minutes and ran it all the way for a Bearcat touchdown. The Bearcats carried their 31-7 lead to the 5 minute mark, but Heritage struck quickly with 4:46 left in the game.

Senior quarterback Landry French hit junior receiver Kam Brown, son of former Dallas Cowboy Larry Brown, for the quick touchdown. The snap on the extra point was mishandled and the Panthers could not convert leaving it at 33-13. The onside kick was fielded cleanly by the Bearcats and they began the drive to try to run out the clock.

Heritage put up a valiant effort defensively but were just no match for Aledo’s ground game as backup quarterback Jake Norwood ran it in from 18 yards out to widen the margin. Aledo’s lead was now 25 with the score 38-13. Colleyville Heritage scored again with 22 seconds left but it was too little too late. Aledo recovered the onside kick and took a knee to put the game away with a final score of 38-21.

Aledo came away with the win but suffered a pretty serious loss as sophomore standout Jase McClellan went out with an apparent sprained wrist. The Bearcats(1-0) will face Aguilas Blancas IPN out of Mexico City next week at Bearcat Stadium. Colleyville Heritage(0-1) will face Frisco Heritage, who lost to Frisco Lone Star in week 1, next week at Mustang-Panther Stadium in Grapevine.

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