By Bob Kowalski
A matchup of two of Texas’ top 5A teams brought Timberview and Aledo to Vernon Newsom Stadium on Friday night, but the perennially powerful Bearcats held off the Wolves for a 44-28 victory.
Trailing by nine at halftime – and with the ball to start the second half – Timberview (6-1, 3-1 District 5-5A Division II) was unable to close the gap, hampered by a series of plays that put the Wolves in a hole. A fumbled exchange by the Wolves early in the second half gave Aledo (5-1, 3-0) the ball at the Timberview 34-yard line.
The Bearcats leaned on their workhouse back, Demarco Roberts, who carried on five consecutive plays – one a 16-yard run after slipping an attempted ankle tackle – to put the Bearcats in the red zone. Aledo’s all-everything player, Jo Jo Earle, sealed the drive by scooting into the end zone from a yard out to bolster Aledo’s lead to 37-20 about 4 ½ minutes into the second half.
On Timberview’s next drive, Aledo intercepted a pass near midfield, but turned over the ball three plays later on a turn of events that would haunt the Wolves. Timberview defensive back Preston Starks jumped to pick off an Aledo pass, then weaved his way 70 yards downfield for an apparent touchdown to put the Wolves in striking distance. But officials ruled that the ball was fumbled before Starks reached the end zone, and was recovered by Aledo, giving the Bearcats possession at their 20-yard line.
The drive fizzled, but a punt left Timberview starting at its own 9-yard line late in the third quarter. Three plays later, the Wolves were forced to punt from their own end zone, giving Aledo field position again.
Timberview’s next possession started at its own 17-yard line, but quarterback Simeon Evans expertly led the Wolves on an 83-yard scoring drive. Key plays included a 14-yard pass on third-and-10 to Andre Williams, who made a sliding catch at midfield. Later, Evans hit Justin Kimber with a 20-yard strike on third-and-19. After a pass interference call against Aledo put Timberview at the 9-yard line, Evans darted around the end for a TD, cutting Aledo’s lead to 37-28 with 7 minutes left in the game.
The Bearcats turned to Roberts to chew up yardage and the clock, turning the ball over on downs at Timberview’s 34-yard line after 4 ½ minutes elapsed. The Wolves drove to Aledo’s 15-yard line but turned the ball over on downs with a minute left in the game. Thirty seconds later, Roberts surged through the line and found daylight for a 77-yard TD run to ice the game at 44-28.
Aledo also got the ball in the speedy Earle’s hands as much as possible. He scored two rushing TDs, caught a scoring pass, threw a 2-point conversion pass and ran for a 2-point conversion.
Timberview scored on its first drive of the first half, and on the last play of the half. After stopping Aledo on three plays on the Bearcats’ game-opening possession, Timberview quickly drove to a touchdown, needing less than 2 minutes before Evans ran in from 3 yards out. His conversion pass to Deuce Jones gave the Wolves an early 8-0 lead. Evans accounted for the final 64 yards of the drive, throwing 19 yards to Cemarion Chambliss, 11 yards to Kimber, rushing for 11 yards, passing to Bearin Loftis for 20 yards and finally running the final 3 yards for the score. The Wolves tacked on a 2-point conversion on Evan’s pass to Jones.
After Aledo built a 29-14 lead late in the first half, the Wolves stormed down the field, scoring on a 24-yard pass to Raam Stevenson, who was barely a yard over the goal line, as the clock expired at halftime, sending the teams to the locker room with Aledo ahead 29-20.
The Wolves defense mixed stubborn line play with blitzes to keep the pressure on Aledo’s offense. But it’s tough to keep the two-time defending state champions down.
The Bearcats carry a No. 2 state ranking by MaxPreps, and the Wolves are ranked No. 8. Aledo earlier lost to state power Cedar Hill, its only defeat. The Bearcats are coming off a 15-1 season in 2019, when they claimed the Class 5A Division II state championship.
Timberview entered the game with an offense that had hit its stride recently, scoring 55, 62 and 46 points in its previous three matchups, all road victories. Friday’s game was only the second home contest for the Wolves this season, though they played at Newsom Stadium in the opener, as the visiting opponent to Lake Ridge.
All the other Mansfield ISD teams suffered defeats Friday night. Mansfield fell at DeSoto, 56-7; Lake Ridge lost at Duncanville, 51-3; Summit was defeated at Red Oak, 37-16; and Legacy lost to Midlothian, 41-14, at R.L. Anderson Stadium.
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