When you’ve already reached the Texas high school football mountaintop, where else can you go?
In Aledo’s case, there’s always room to break barriers and climb higher. Robby Jones, in his first season as head coach of Aledo football, is proving the Bearcats’ dynasty is bigger and better than ever.
In 2022, Aledo lost its first two games of the season to Dallas Parish Episcopal and Denton Guyer in what Jones called a wakeup call. They lost to the Panthers by a single score, and the Wildcats throttled ‘em, winning by 30 points.
Still, the Bearcats moved on, winning the rest of their games and a Class 5A-D1 State Championship in Tim Buchanan’s last season as the program’s head coach. He left the team in an outstanding, magnificent spot.
With both losses avenged, Aledo doesn’t need a wakeup call in 2023. The Bearcats are already wide awake and heading into District 3-5A play with an undefeated record.
Jones and Co. secured a 50-35 win over Dallas Parish Episcopal at Bearcat Stadium and marched into a hostile environment in C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, stealing a 48-45 win over Denton Guyer with a game-winning field goal.
Somehow and someway, the Bearcats are taking the steps to become a more dominant, successful powerhouse in Texas high school football. Is that possible?
The end goal for Aledo is the same every season: win a state championship. The Bearcats have completed this goal in 10 of the last 14 seasons.
Of course, a state championship is impressive. Can they take things further? What’s more impressive than winning a state championship?
The Bearcats have never finished with a flawless record in Class-5A-D1, and there’s reason to believe 2023 is the year they’ll make history.
Before the playoff run, they’ll have to take care of business in District 3-5A D1. Considering the 111 game district win streak, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Records are made to be broken, and there’s a time and place for everything. This season, however, is not the time for the Bearcats’ streak to end.
Searching for perfection
The Bearcats are no stranger to a perfect season. They’ve accomplished this feat in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2018 while in Class 5A-D2.
The closest they’ve gotten to an undefeated record in Class 5A-D1 was in 2014, when they suffered a loss to Bishop Amat, a California powerhouse.
Now that two tough, non-district games are out of the way, the Bearcats have a golden opportunity to reach the playoffs with an unscathed record in 2023.
Last season the Bearcats cruised through District 3 5A-D1 play, winning every game by 14 or more. Aledo won seven of the games by 29 or more. Throughout district play, the Bearcats scored 341 more points than their opponents.
341 more points in only eight games of play? That’s nearly 49 touchdowns worth. Aledo’s greatest test was against Denton Ryan, a team they only bested by 14.
Now, the Bearcats are heading into the same stretch of competition with a team that has more championship experience.
Seniors leading the charge
Keys, the Star-Telegram Fort Worth-area Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, has lived up to high expectations.
In week one, he had two interceptions, including a pick six. In week two, he had a rushing touchdown, 11 tackles, two sacks and a blocked field goal that led to an 85-yard return.
Hejny, the Fort Worth-area Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, also had a strong start. Against Denton Guyer in week two, the future Horned Frog QB passed for 243 yards and a touchdown, completing 16 of 20 passes.
He added 143 yards on his legs and led a clutch, 89-yard drive that led to a game winning field goal.
Before the season started, Hejny told the Star-Telegram the Bearcats aren’t complacent after a championship season and will play with a chip on their shoulder. So far, that chip has been evident.
Keys and Hejny, the leaders and focal points of the offense and defense, have multiple state championship runs under their belts. They are well aquainted with the winning formula, and it’s translating to improved play.
The wise, proven veterans have help from promising, talented underclassmen too. Running back Ray Guillory, a sophomore transfer from Mansfield Lake Ridge, was named the Star-Telegram’s week one player of the week with 198 total yards and three touchdowns against Dallas Parish Episcopal.
He arguably topped that performance in week two with 137 yards and a whopping four touchdowns.
The Bearcats are rolling, and there’s a question that must be raised: can anyone stop them from making history?
On Friday, Aledo will begin district play and face Justin Northwest at Bearcat Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT.