Aledo stuns Spartans in District 5-5A opener
The old saying goes: To beat a dynasty it takes a near perfect performance.
And giving the ball up six times on fumbles, that’s like walking into a lions’ den with a piece of meat around one’s neck.
Or in this case, a den of Bearcats - though the game was actually played at Burleson ISD Stadium.
The plethora of turnovers paved the way for a 63-16 victory by the Bearcats (3-0, 1-0l) in the District 5-5A Division II opener for both teams Friday night.
It was, in fact, the 76th consecutive district victory for Aledo, dating back to 2007, a state record.
“I just wish we’d given ourselves a chance,” Centennial head coach Kyle Geller said. “Aledo, or I don’t care who you’re playing, you can’t lose that many fumbles.
“I told the guys to shake it off, don’t let Aledo beat you twice. Get ready for our next game.”
The Spartans (2-1, 0-1) had several bright moments despite the loss. In a yeoman effort, running back Chris Mosley led all rushers with 151 yards on just eight carries, including a 70-yard run that pulled Centennial to within 21-7 with 4:05 still to play in the first quarter.
The Centennial running game gained 301 yards on 36 carries in the first half against the Aledo first-team defense.
However, the Spartans were undone by three lost fumbles, one recovered for a touchdown by the Bearcats’ Jake Ford, and two others recovered by Collin Johnson that led to two of Jase McClellan’s six touchdowns on the night.
McClellan had touchdown runs of 8, 34, 8, 4, 1, and 35 yards. He finished with 148 yards on 15 carries.
Also, Centennial defensive back Da’Quan Campbell continued his solid play with a fumble recovery, coming on the heels of an interception and fumble recovery in the previous week’s 52-49 win over Denison.
In all, Aledo gained 499 yards, of which 394 came on the ground. Centennial picked up 371 yards, with 356 via rushing.
Behind Mosley, Jeff Kirven gained 78 yards on 15 carries, Jaylon Jackson picked up 59 yards on 11 carries, and quarterback Kyle Burns had 36 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run on eight carries.
Burns got injured late in the first half and spent the second half on the sidelines with his left arm in a sling. Hank Meyer quarterbacked the Spartans the rest of the game. Geller said more will be known about Burns’ medical status early in the week.
Geller said on Monday that Burns has been cleared to play against Everman Thursday
Following Mosley’s long touchdown run, Aledo came right back with a 51-yard touchdown run by JoJo Earle on the first play of their next possession to make the score 28-7 at the end of the first quarter. The closest the Spartans would get the rest of the night was 35-16 with Burns’ touchdown.
The Spartans now turn their attention to a trip to Everman Thursday for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs defeated Arlington Seguin 7-0 on a 99-yard interception by Deandre Toliver on the game’s final play to open district.
“That is crazy, just crazy,” Geller said of how the Bulldogs won.
While this is the third consecutive season in which the Spartans have lost their district opener, Geller is counting on them bouncing back again. In each of the past two years they rebounded to reach the playoffs.
“We have a good team,” he said. “We have to regroup and play better, like I know we can.”