Written by Corbett Smith
Aledo's Johnathan Gray rushes to another record in blowout win against Birdville
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Johnathan Gray rarely plays into the fourth quarter.
Birdville kept it just close enough to see what would happen if he did.
Gray set a new state record for consecutive 100-yard games, rushing 30 times for 254 yards and seven touchdowns in a 67-42 win at Birdville.
It was Gray’s 44th 100-yard game in his record-setting career, as Aledo (7-2; 6-0) secured at least a share of the 5-4A title on a nationally televised broadcast.
“I love to stay in the game,” Gray said, laughing.
Gray did something special the first time he touched the ball. The Texas pledge broke through the Birdville defense on the first offensive play of the game, outracing the secondary for a 61-yard touchdown run.
Gray scored twice more in the first quarter, putting Aledo up, 21-0, looking like it would be another short night of work.
“He never fails to amaze me,” Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said.
But Birdville scrapped back, behind the ground game of quarterback E.A. Northey and sophomore running back Xavier Turner. Northey and Turner combined for 353 yards rushing, gashing Aledo’s defense time and again.
A Tyler Klutts 1-yard run with 1:26 left in the first half closed Birdville’s deficit to 28-21, set up by a 37-yard run by Turner earlier in the drive.
“That’s got me concerned,” Buchanan said of his rushing defense.
But, just before half, Matthew Bishop hit Michael Mann for a 28-yard completion, and Gray scored his fourth touchdown of the half, running it in from seven yards with eight seconds remaining.
He tacked on another touchdown on Aledo’s first drive of the second half, and Birdville never really challenged again.
With 42 points on the night, Gray passed former North Carolina State running back T.A. McLendon for second on the nation’s all-time scoring list, with 1,100 points.
“My main focus is on my team …” Gray said. “The record … like I tell everybody else, if it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. That’s not something I’m going to dwell over.”