ARLINGTON - While the big-name stars shined in the 5A Division II State Championship, it was the play of quarterback Jake Bishop that set the tone for Aledo in its 45-42 win over Fort Bend Marshall to capture its 11-man state-record 9th state title.
Aledo (15-1) jumped on Marshall early, taking a 14-0 lead on a couple of quick strikes from Bishop to Money Parks and Jojo Earle. Marshall (14-2) tightened up defensively later in the quarter and early second to claw to within 14-13.
The teams traded blow through the second quarter but a solid 2-minute drive by Aledo pushed its halftime lead to 28-20. It would the beginning of a 17-point run by Aledo to extend its lead to 38-20. The second touchdown in that stretch was a 63-yard touchdown rush by Jase McClellan, who put together a fantastic performance despite coming into the game a little hobbled.
McClellan even left Aledo's first drive with an injury but still manged to play the rest of the game rushing for two scores and 220 yards.
Marshall, though, would not go away regardless of the score. Down 18 twice, Marshall responded on the ensuing drives to cut it to 11 the first time and then 10 second time. Marshall then forced a turnover on downs on Aledo's last drive and found the endzone to make it a 3-point game.
However, the onside kick comfortably landed in Aledo's hands to seal the win.
The game's offensive MVP went to Bishop, who threw three scores and ran for another and accounted for 300 total yards.
The Fort Bend Marshall Buffs can grasp their first state football championship Saturday, and at the same time can keep the Aledo Bearcats from standing alone at the top of the mountain when it comes to state titles in Texas.
The Buffs and Bearcats meet at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the UIL Class 5A-Div. II title, and you can hear the game live on vypefortbend.com starting at 10:45 a.m. Central time. Roger Smith and Patrick Kinnick will describe the action, and you can also listen to the game again later, on the podcast, at vypefortbend.com.
Marshall (29-2 in 2018 & 2019) avenged one of those two losses in the fourth round of the playoffs, blowing out Manvel 40-10. Coach James Williams' Buffs suffered their only other defeat during the last two season exactly one year ago – and it was Aledo that handed them that loss, 55-19.
Aledo is 14-1 in the current season, and swept to its 2018 title unbeaten. Multiple teams in Texas have won eight titles, but Aledo is the only school playing at "Jerry World" this weekend with a chance to win its ninth crown
Marshall has an electrifying running back in senior Devon Achane. The Texas A&M commit has rushed for 2,091 yards, an 11.3 yards-per-carry average and 38 TDs. QB Malik Hornsby has thrown 28 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. The Buffs are outscoring their playoff opponents by an average of more than 23 points and blew out Boerne Champion last weekend, 55-21.