The juggernaut known as Aledo capsized Crosby 56-21 Friday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington to claim the Class 5A Division II state championship in lopsided fashion.
It was the Bearcats’ 10th state title as an 11-man program, which is a Texas high school football record. Aledo (13-1) has now won three state championships in a row and nine in the past 11 seasons.
Crosby (12-4) managed to hang around for a quarter, but Aledo’s exceptional athletes — headlined by JoJo Earle and DeMarco Roberts — kept the Bearcats firing on all cylinders. Aledo scored touchdowns on each of its first eight possessions as it accelerated past Crosby for a runaway win.
“How ‘bout these darn kids?” Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan said in the postgame interview before receiving a water bottle shower from his team.
The Bearcats’ defense also did its job after surrendering two early scores to the Cougars. Crosby and Aledo were tied at 14-14 in the opening stanza, but the Bearcats registered 35 consecutive points to build a commanding lead.
Crosby found the end zone again at the 10:14 mark of the fourth period, but by that point, the game was well out of reach.
Roberts scored six TDs and rushed for 254 yards during a dominant performance and was named the game’s Offensive MVP. Earle, who is bound for Alabama next year, ended his prep career with 133 receiving yards and 91 rushing yards.
The duo was unstoppable and reduced Crosby’s defense to Swiss cheese.
“I’m glad they’re on our football team,” Buchanan said. “Two great kids. I know they’re great football players, but they are really great kids.”
Crosby actually struck first in the game when Jaylen Herman hauled in a 9-yard TD from Deniquez Dunn, but back came Aledo thanks to a 74-yard scoring toss from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to Earle, who weaved his way through a sea of Cougars on his way to an electrifying TD.
Crosby responded with a 2-yard scoring run from Reggie Branch, but Roberts capped each of the next five Aledo drives with scoring runs. The Bearcats led 35-14 at the half and continued to pile on the highlights down the stretch.
“I told my coaches that my goal coming into the game was to break Johnathan Gray’s record,” Roberts said, mentioning Gray’s eight-TD performance for Aledo in 2011. “That didn’t happen, but it was still cool. I knew coming into the game that we were going to run the ball a lot, so I just had to do what I do best — keep the legs moving and go win, basically.”
Fowler-Nicolosi finished 15 for 19 passing for 216 yards and two scores for Aledo.
Crosby saw Dunn run for 99 yards and a TD and also pass for 169 yards and a score, but the Cougars were unable to keep pace with the explosive Bearcats.
Aledo’s Cap Mooney, who picked off Dunn in the first half, was named the contest’s Defensive MVP.