When College Station opened its doors six years ago, head coach Steve Huff and the Cougars’ coaching staff went to Aledo looking to learn how to model their program after the dynasty the Bearcats have built.
Saturday afternoon, that process came to fruition when College Station took advantage of two missed extra points by the Bearcats to hold on for a 20-19 win in the Class 5A Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium, with the Cougars winning their first state title in its first state appearance.
“To be here at this point and win a state championship is a credit to these guys,” Huff said. “When we got beat in the semifinals last year, I told these guys that we are 0-0 and we’re at the bottom of the heap and we needed to start over again. They never batted an eye.”
The game-winning touchdown was set up by a 78-yard return by Jaelin Campbell to the Aledo 18-yard line. College Station defensive lineman Ben Wolz helped sack Aledo quarterback Jake Bishop in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead.
Aledo had won its last seven appearances in a state title game. The last loss for the Bearcats in a championship game was in 1974.
College Station quarterback Marquez Perez completed 18 of 25 yards for 143 yards and ran for 73 yards. DaDa Anderson carried the ball 14 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns, averaging just over seven yards a carry.
Jase McClellan led the Aledo offense with 137 yards and two touchdowns. Bishop was 7 of 14 passing for 77 yards and a score and Money Parks caught three passes for 45 yards and a score. All three players are sophomores.
“If you’ve been in between the white line, you understand how much this hurts,” Aledo head coach Steve Wood said. “I feel like I let them down. We’re fortunate to be in a great place and have great players. We’re not going to make excuses or point fingers.”
College Station settled for a field goal early in the second quarter. Aledo responded on the next drive, scoring on an 18-yard pass from Bishop to Park.
Anderson broke the biggest play of the first half with just under three minutes left to play, scoring on a 60-yard run right through the middle of the Bearcats’ defense. The Cougars settled for another field goal as the first-half clock expired.
McClellan started things with a bang for Aledo in the third quarter when he broke a 76-yard run on the first drive of the second half. But Aledo missed the extra point to see the score tied at 13 points apiece.
Aledo’s second drive of the half was a 15-play, 63-yard series that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. After a big return by Jaelin Campbell, College Station answered in under two minutes on a touchdown run by Anderson.
College Station played its first UIL section varsity season in 2014. Four years later, the Cougars are state champions.
“I remember the first day of school, there were two bikes on the bike rack and 11 cars in the parking lot,” Huff said. “Going from that six years ago to where we’re at right now, that’s what I’m most proud of.”