Aledo 2019 Team Preview
The Aledo Bearcats completed a perfect 16-0 season last year with an impressive victory over Fort Bend Marshall in their final game to become the 5A Division II State Champions. The victory puts Aledo at the top of the UIL record books with their 8th overall state title, tieing them for the most state championships in Texas high school football history.
On the road to their championship, the Bearcats won big games against Fort Bend Marshall, Wichita Falls Rider, Frisco Reedy, and Dallas South Oak Cliff. Marshall, Reedy, and South Oak Cliff were all undefeated going into their game with Aledo and Rider was one of the hottest teams down the stretch last season.
Steve Wood was hired in as the head coach in 2014 and took Aledo to the state finals 4 out of 5 years, winning 3 state championships in 2014, 2016, and 2018. He retired right after the season and will now serve as the new Athletic Director for Aledo. The old athletic director, Tim Buchanan, will be Aledo’s new head football coach in 2019. The two swapped positions.
Buchanan was the previous head coach for Aledo from 1993-2013 and built this program from the ground up. Buchanan won 5 state championships during this time period and had a career record of 227-53-3 when he retired in 2013. He will get another chance in 2019 to continue the long tradition he started.
The Bearcats lost a lot of great talent from last year’s team, including Colt Ellison, Wyatt Harris, Chandler Knandel, and Cameron Callaway to name a few. Ellison, the District Defensive Player of the Year, and Harris both signed with TCU. Knandel signed with Central Arkansas.
Hampton Fay, a 6’5 205-pound 2021 recruit, transferred after earning 1st Team All-District honors as a wide receiver. He left Aledo to become the starting quarterback at All Saints Episcopal high school in Fort Worth. He was the backup QB for Aledo last season.
The Bearcats were unstoppable last year on offense, averaging 51 points per game. This team returns almost all of their key offensive weapons and should be an exciting team to watch and follow.
The engine behind this high-potent offense starts with quarterback and 5A-5 District MVP, Jake Bishop. Bishop is a dual-threat quarterback that threw for 2,231 yards, completed 70% of his passes, and rushed for 455 yards. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was 26-2. When it comes to making plays in big games, he will deliver.
He has some outstanding receivers that dominated their competition last year. JoJo Earle is a 2021 prospect that was the District Newcomer of the Year after catching 65 passes for 1,090 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for another 266 yards and scored 3 more touchdowns on the ground. He has racked up offers from all the elite college programs across the country.
Monterren Parks, a senior wide receiver committed to Utah, will return back to Aledo after playing his junior season for Fort Worth All Saints Episcopal. Parks was a 1st Team All-State (TAPPS) performer last season and will give the Bearcats another elite Power 5 wideout in 2019.
The Bearcats best overall player is Jase McClellan, a 5’11 190-pound running back that is committed to Oklahoma. He has rushed for over 3,800 yards and scored 77 touchdowns heading into his senior season. He can do it all for Aledo and will be a strong candidate for Texas High School Player of the Year honors.
Jordan Montes, a 6’1 215-pound fullback is a key returner coming back and McClellan’s lead blocker in the running game. He earned 2nd Team All-District honors as a junior. The Bearcats will also get help this season from Jadeon Pelligrino, a 6’3 175-pound wide receiver and Jeremiah James, a 6’0 190-pound running back.
The offensive line returns 2 starters from last year’s team, Aiden Hayes (6’4 230) and Dylan Becker (6’2 270). Jacob Stewart (6’0 270) and Hayden Chenault will also be key players up front for the Bearcats. They will be a little undersized and will need some young players to step in and produce.
The offense was explosive last season, but the defense was equally as impressive and dominant, giving up only 13 points per game. The defense is fundamentally sound, swarm to the football, and are extremely aggressive.
The top recruit on the defensive side of the ball is DeMarco Roberts. He is a 5’10 lockdown corner that earned 1st Team All-District honors as a sophomore. He had 73 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 9 pass breakups. He should have a lot of offers before the season is over. Collin Johnson (6-0 190) is another defensive back that produced last season. He had 49 tackles, 10 pass breakups, and made 2nd Team All-District honors. Bryan Allen, a 2022 defensive back, is a future star and Division 1 prospect. Look for Allen to really shine in his sophomore season.
Max Lucas, a 5’10 outside linebacker, was another 1st Team All-District performer last season after recording 91 total tackles. He flies around all over the field and has a knack for finding the football. Weston Reese (5’10 195) had 54 tackles last season and will be another linebacker that will have an increased role this season.
On the defensive line, Oliver Crowe (6’0 219), Logan Thurman (6’3 212), and Carson Barry (6’0 245) are the top returners for the Bearcats. Aiden Hayes will likely play both ways for Aledo and give the defense more size and strength in the trenches.
Aledo will get some great special teams help with 1st Team All-District punter and 2021 prospect, Cade Jones. He averaged 34 yards per punt last year as a sophomore.
The Bearcats have a favorable schedule this season but open up with a tough non-conference game against Denton Guyer. Aledo played them in week 1 last year and won big, 40-0. The Bearcats may not be tested until they get into the playoffs.
Aledo is a strong 5A powerhouse team that has a proven track record in the playoffs, with rings to show for it, and a hall of fame coach that has 227 career wins.
Aledo has a strong defense coming back with 8 players that got significant playing time last year. Lucas and Roberts are the standouts and Bryan Allen is a future star in the making.
The Bearcats have all their top offensive weapons back from last year and added Monterren Parks to their arsenal. When you look at championship teams, they must have a balanced attack throwing the football and moving the chains on the ground.
They have the 5A-5 district MVP QB in Jake Bishop and an explosive 1,000-yard receiver in Jojo Earle. They have one of the Top 5 running backs in the state with Jase McClellan. He will look to surpass the 2,000-yard mark again this season. The only question mark they have on offense is their small offensive line. If they can open holes and protect Bishop, you will see a team that will repeat in 2019. They are the clear cut favorites in 5A Division 2 going into the season.