ARLINGTON — Having first-and-goal on the 1-yard line on the opening drive and coming up empty-handed was a major momentum-killer for the Red Oak Hawks as they took on eight-time state champion Aledo in the Class 5A Division II region semifinals.
The Hawks’ defense hung tough for a while, but the Bearcats finally wore them down in a 34-14 final score in their Region I semifinal contest on Friday night at AT&T Stadium.
Red Oak finishes with an 11-2 final record, setting a school record for wins and points scored while advancing to the third round for just the third time in the program’s history.
Running back Jase McClellan rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns as Aledo (12-1), now winners of 12 straight after a season-opening loss to Denton Guyer, advances to face Ennis for the Region II title on Friday night at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
The game started off promising for the Hawks as they drove down to the 1 on the game’s opening possession. However, consecutive runs were stuffed on first and second downs, the Hawks drew a false-start penalty that backed them up five yards, and quarterback Joshua Ervin was sacked for an 11-yard loss, leading to a missed 37-yard field goal try as the game stayed scoreless into the second quarter.
Aledo’s McClellan then helped break the scoreless tie with a pair of second-quarter touchdown runs, including a 62-yard run, to go with a 10-yard fumble return for a score by Bryan Allen on a bad punt snap. McClellan’s 1-yard plunge with seconds left in the half gave the Bearcats a 21-0 halftime lead.
Midway through the third, after forcing a Bearcat punt, the Hawks went for it near midfield on fourth-and-5 and came up a yard short. Four plays later, Aledo’s Jake Bishop passed to Jo Jo Earle for a 6-yard touchdown, and the Hawks’ school-record 11-game win streak was in jeopardy.
Red Oak finally got on the scoreboard with 7:47 left in the game on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ervin to Coby Cavil, averting what would’ve been an astonishing shutout for a team that came in averaging 56.7 points per game.
CJ Palmer capped the game's scoring with a 2-yard run with 1:07 left, with Cavil adding the 2-point conversion.
Cavil finished with 11 catches for 111 yards, while Palmer added 106 yards rushing. Ervin was 22-of-30 for 227 yards and a TD.