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Aledo wins district title over Mansfield Timberview, 94th straight district game

Fort Worth Star-Telegram logoFort Worth Star-Telegram 3 days ago Brian Gosset, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Aledo hasn’t had many close district games in the past 13 years, but Mansfield Timberview gave the Bearcats a fight Friday night during the District 5-5A Division 2 championship game at Newsom Stadium.

The Wolves threw the first punch, but it was the Bearcats with the final laugh, 44-28, to extend their district winning streak to 94 straight games, which dates back to October 2007.

Aledo, which hasn’t played since Oct. 30, will be the No. 1 seed when the playoffs start Dec. 10. The Bearcats have won a district championship every year since 2008.

“I knew coming in how good of a football team they were,” Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said. “James Brown is a good football coach and he has a good football team. They’re going to continue to win games.”

Timberview (6-1 overall, 3-1 district), which was off to its best start in program history, began on a great note with its defense forcing Aledo to a three-and-out and scoring on its opening drive. It will be the No. 2 playoff seed.

The Wolves picked up five first downs — spanning 66 yards on six plays as Simeon Evans ran in a 3-yard touchdown. After a successful 2-point attempt, Timberview led 8-0 with 8:27 to go in the first quarter.

Aledo (5-1, 3-0), which has won a UIL state record nine football titles including the past two seasons, woke up during its second drive, marching 69 yards on 10 plays, capped off by a 3-yard TD run from 4-star LSU commit JoJo Earle, who rushed five times on the drive for 26 yards out of the wildcat formation.

“Second drive we just pushed it more,” Earle said. “We were more on cue and on point with each other. We had momentum and we were going to try to keep that momentum as long as we could.”

The Bearcats forced a short Timberview punt and two plays later, took a 15-8 lead on Earle’s 2-yard keeper with 1:32 left in the period. Earle helped extend the lead to 22-8 with nine minutes left in the half when he caught a pass from Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi and darted in for a 45-yard TD.

“We were nervous about what we were going to do,” said Buchanan of the opening drive. “We had to do something. They were doubling JoJo out there so the only way to really get him the ball was to snap it to him.”

Evans added his second TD run, from the 5, midway through the second quarter.

Timberview missed the extra point to cut the lead to 22-15.

Facing a fourth-and-16, Fowler-Nicolosi hit Aledo’s other LSU commit in 4-star defensive back Bryan Allen Jr. on a 28-yard TD to push the Bearcat lead to 29-15 late in the period.

Timberview scored as the first-half expired when Evans hit Washington State commit Raam Stevenson on a 25-yard pass. Stevenson appeared to break the goal line before landing at the 1 as he was coming towards Evans’ attempt.

Aledo led 29-20 at intermission after another missed extra point.

DeMarco Roberts (Lamar University commit), who finished with 182 yards on 29 carries, scored on a 1-yard TD run to open the second half scoring for Aledo, increasing the lead to 37-20. Freshman cornerback Jaden Allen picked off a Timberview pass on the next play from scrimmage.

“Our defense played well. We had some young guys out there and some people out of position,” Buchanan said. “We struggled a little bit, but overcame that adversity and kept them from scoring too many times.”

In what Buchanan called the play of the night, an Aledo pass was intercepted three plays later by Timberview’s Preston Starks at his 28. He returned it 68 yards when Roberts chased him down and shoved him out of bounds.

Before he went out of bounds, Starks reached for the pylon, but the ball came out prior and bounced out of the end zone for a touchback to give Aledo possession with less than eight minutes left in the third quarter.

“DeMarco is a really good running back and he made the play of the night. If he doesn’t chase him down and punch the ball out, it’s totally a whole different football game,” Buchanan said.

Evans led the Wolves with 343 total yards and four TDs, including three rushing. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 282 yards and added a 9-yard scoring run midway through the fourth to cap off a 14-play, 83-yard drive.

The dagger came on Roberts’ 72-yard scoring run with under three minutes remaining.

“We knew they were a good team,” said Earle, who accounted for 136 yards and three TDs. “We weren’t expecting a blow out, we knew it was going to be a close game. We just had to play 100 percent on every play and work harder than them.”

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