Friday Semifinal: Wichita Falls Rider vs. Aledo
It's the penultimate week of this much longer 2020 season. There are four games featuring DFW teams as they fight for a shot at a state title next week. In the first preview, we looked at Mansfield Summit vs. Denton Ryan. In this matchup, we have two teams meeting in the semifinals for the second time in three years.
5A Division II State Semifinal
Had it not been for a heroic effort by Demarco Roberts and on special teams, Aledo's reign in 5A Division II would be over. Aledo had a 14-3 lead and then ended up trailing by 10, twice, only to get a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and then an 88-yard punt return by Roberts to down Lovejoy.
Aledo hasn't had the defense in year's past, especially the past two that finished out the season as champs. Yet, here are with Aledo a win away from playing for state title No. 10.
Two years ago, Aledo just completely dominated Rider 63-7. Rosters have churned over since then, obviously, but there are still players left from that meeting.
Rider avenged a district loss in its win last week over Lubbock-Cooper. Rider has also played one less game in the playoff run as its Bi-District matchup was forfeited. That extra bye week could have some benefits through this playoff march.
|Points Per Game||39.0
|Points Allowed Per Game||18.8
|Yards Per Game||
|Yards Allowed Per Game||244.0
PLAYERS TO WATCH: TE/DL Isaiah Wetzel (Rider), WR/S Ranse Radtke (Rider); RB/CB DeMarco Roberts (Aledo), WR JoJo Earle (Aledo)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. @ Apogee Stadium (Denton)
LINE: Aledo favored by 13
NEXT ROUND: Winner meets winner of Crosby/Liberty Hill in State Championship
SCOUTING THE GAME
Having seen Aledo a couple times this year, the eyeball test says Aledo doesn't have the explosiveness in previous years yet the team averaged nearly seven touchdowns a game. Last week against Lovejoy was only the second time Aledo's defense allowed 30 or more points this season, but only twice did Aledo's defense hold teams to 7 or less points.
The key for Rider in this matchup will be containing Aledo's JoJo Earle and Roberts. Somehow, Roberts seems to have a big game that sparks the offense when needed the most. The duo of Earle and Roberts is a 1-2 punch that keeps defenses guessing as both can operate out of the backfield or split out wide.
Aledo will have to key on the connection between quarterback Jacob Rodriguez and his tight end Isaiah Wetzel.
PICK: Aledo looks to have a few more playmakers than Rider. Aledo is comfortable playing a high-scoring game, probably much more so than Rider.
Aledo wins 41-24