The Aledo Bearcats dominated in every aspect of the game last night defeating the Yellowjackets from Arlington Heights 45-2. All week, in fact the whole time I’ve been in Texas, everyone’s told me I should have seen Aledo last year and the amazing senior class that had led the Bearcats to three state championships. While it must have been fun to watch, I have to say that I’m more interested in watching programs that win despite not having great athletes and physical specimens. Winning with a roster full of D-I talent is one thing, but taking average kids and turning them into a great football team takes kids who are willing to commit, maturity to put the team in front of the individual and great coaching.
This is not to say that Aledo doesn’t have talent, they do: Quarterback Pate Davis threw and ran the ball very well, sophomore running back Jess Anders has tremendous speed and moves, and the offensive line is quick and strong. The defense is stifling, knifing and looping into the backfield and holding Arlington Heights to under 50 total yards and just one first down in the first half. The only time Arlington Heights crossed midfield was the very last play of the game.
For all that, what stands out to me about this game and the Aledo Bearcats is execution of a program. Coach Buchanan has been the head coach at Aledo for 19 years and has had the Bearcats in the playoffs for the past 16. This string is a result of a great system that’s been set up by Coach Buchanan and his staff. Yes, there have been great athletes during this time, but the bottom line has been the consistency of a coach who has decided to stay at Aledo and build a program from mediocrity to a 4A powerhouse. If there is one thing I don’t like about the Texas model it is how it encourages coaches to bounce around the state by moving up the latter through multiple ISD’s. It’s good to see programs like Aledo where a coach has built a program rather than find a ‘better one’.
Thanks to everyone at Aledo for my great week there. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Bearcat team and staff. I look forward to watching how they progress.