By Joshua Koch
Arlington, Texas – The 4A, 5A and 6A State Championships take center stage the next two days inside AT&T Stadium.
Aledo 24, Calallen 16
In the middle of AT&T Stadium, his team celebrating the program’s Aledo coach Steve Wood called it their toughest game of the year and didn’t stop short of crediting Calallen for a hard-fought game.
Wood had just witness his team go toe-to-toe and down to the wire beating Calallen 24-17 in the Class 5A Division II State Championship game.
The Bearkats have won seven state championships in program history, six of those coming since 2009 and third since 2013.
Aledo (16-0) struck first with a five-yard run by Rhett Harris, then both teams would chip in field goals to give a 10-3 halftime score.
The Bearkats offense opened the third quarter with a 59-yard touchdown run by Jase McClellan, giving Aledo the 17-3 lead.
McClellan finished with 98 yards on 13 carries with the score.
Just three minutes later, Calallen (14-2) finally got into the end zone as Gaige Lamb rushed in from 32 yards, making it 17-10.
Lamb finished 4 of 5 for 95 yards, then rushing for 34 yards on 21 carries and a score.
With time running down in the game, Aledo got what would end up being the game-winning score as Donnie Evans dove in from two yards outs, making it 24-10.
Evans finished with 32 yards on eight carries and the score.
Calallen would fight to the end, Alec Brown waltzing into the end zone with 1:34 left. After a missed extra point, trailing 24- 16, the Wildcats needed an onside kick to go their way.
It didn’t and Aledo kneeled its way to the victory.
Carthage 31, Abilene Wylie 17
Keaontay Ingram left his stamp firmly on Carthage’s fifth state championship in program history when everything was said and done on Friday night.
Ingram put the offense on his back in the fourth quarter rushing for 84 yards and a score in the quarter alone, while the defensive unit created two interceptions leading Carthage to a 31-17 victory in the Class 4A Division I State Championship game.
This marks the fifth state championship since 2008 for Carthage. The Bulldogs have won titles in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and now 2016.
In the opening minutes of the game, Abilene Wylie (12-2) jumped out early with a 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Zach Davis to Gatlin Martin.
From there it was all Carthage.
The rest of the way, Carthage (14-2) owned the game, outscoring Abilene Wylie 31-3 the rest of the way.
Ingram finished with 180 yards on 28 carries for two scores and three catches for 23 yards.
Kason Davis finished the game 12 of 21 for 134 yards and a score.
For Abilene Wylie, Zach Smith finished 9 of 18 for 147 yards, two scores and four interceptions. Brooks Pepper led the rushing attack with 45 yards on 10 carries.
West Orange-Stark 24, Sweetwater 6
Heading into the matchup the favorite was clear – the defending 4A Division II State Champions.
Despite just leading 7-6 at the half, the Mustangs took care of business out scoring Sweetwater 17-0 in the second half to win 24-6 in the Class 4A Division II State Championship game.
West Orange-Stark has won back-to-back titles in 1986-1987 and 2015-2016 and have won 27-straight games dating back to last season.
West Orange-Stark heading into the game had given up just 63 points and Sweetwater tried to upend that.
Early on Sweetwater (13-2) gave them trouble.
On the opening drive, West Orange-Stark (16-0) put the ball on the ground and Luke James scooped it up taking it to the house from 96 yards out, giving Sweetwater the 6-0 lead.
Nearing the half, a West Orange-Stark’s offense, one that had averaged 52.5 per game this season, were held scoreless for the first 23:31 of the game.
Jeremiah Shaw answered the call.
Shaw, who finished with 13 carries for 89 yards and a score, punched in the first offensive touchdown of the game on a two-yard run.
Leading 10-6 with 7:58 left in the game, West Orange-Stark struck again with a one-yard run by Jack Dallas.
Dallas, who was named the Offensive MVP of the game and a Lamar commit, finished 14 of 22 for 98 yards and rushed four another 19 yards on six carries and the score.
Defensively, Justin Brown left his mark on the game with six tackles, but the biggest moment for him came with a 31-yard pick six with 5:38 left in the game to seal the 24-6 victory.
Brown was named the Defensive MVP of the game.
Sweetwater was led by Chris Thompson, finishing 9 of 20 for 67 yards and eight carries for 39 yards.