5A Division II UIL State Championship Game: Aledo Bearcats vs. Crosby Cougars
The game started promising for the upset-minded 12-3 Crosby Cougars who were trying to keep Aledo from winning its 10th State title. Crosby received the opening kickoff and drove down the field on an impressive drive that ended in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Deniquez Dunn to Jaylen Herman. Aledo responded in a hurry with a Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi pass to Jo Jo Earle for the tying touchdown. Crosby again led a long, 13 play drive, ending in a Reggie Branch 2-yard rushing score. Coming right back once again, Demarco Roberts scored on a 32-yard run to tie the game at 14.
After the back and forth scoring, the first defensive stopped came from Aledo as they forced a Crosby punt late in the first quarter. Aledo committed a few penalties that kept backing them up on the next drive, but after 16 plays, Demarco Roberts scored on a 5-yard run to take a 21-14 lead. The defensive stop by Aledo, and overcoming penalties to still score and take the lead was the pivotal part in this game.
Crosby needed to respond.
Cap Mooney from Aledo intercepted Deniquez Dunn and ran the ball back towards mid-field. The Aledo offense was back on the field. Demarco Roberts scored a few plays later, giving him 122 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns just midway through the second quarter. It put Aledo up 28-14, and for Crosby to have any hope of keeping the game close they needed to score on their next drive.
Crosby started to drive the ball, but the 10-play drive stalled and a 46-yard field goal attempt by Trevor Helburg was no good. Aledo got the ball back in great field position with 3:18 left. Aledo drove right down the field again with Roberts scoring his 4th touchdown of the game. Clay Murador put through his 5th extra point to put the lead at 35-14 going into halftime.
Aledo received the ball to start the third quarter and by now you can probably guess what happened next: Demarco Roberts scored on a touchdown run. His 5th touchdown putting Aledo up 42-14. Crosby put together another 10+ play drive on their next possession but again came up with no points as Reggie Branch was stopped inches short on 4th down. On the next drive, Aledo found the endzone again on a Brandon Fleming 20-yard touchdown catch from Fowler-Nicolosi.
Crosby scored for the first time since the first quarter on a Deniquez Dunn run early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 49-21. 4 plays later, Demarco Roberts did it again, running for a 54-yard touchdown for his 4th touchdown. This put Roberts at 243 yards with over 8 minutes to go in the game. Clay Murador continued to be an extra-point kicking machine, putting through his 8th extra point to make it 56-21. That would be the final score.
Aledo finished with 621 yards of offense, 388 coming on the ground, led by Demarco Roberts.
Roberts 255 yards is the 4th most ever in a 5A Championship game, and his 6 touchdowns were the second-most all-time. Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi finished 15 of 19 for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jo Jo Earle had a great game with 92 yards rushing and 134 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Crosby finished with two 100+ yard rushers. Reggie Branch with 117 yards rushing and a touchdown, and quarterback Deniquez Dunn with 104 yards and a touchdown to go with his 124 passing yards and 1 passing touchdown.
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recap by KP Kelly