Aledo shuts out Stephenville; no records for ejected Johnathan Gray

MIDLOTHIAN — Football-wise, it was perfect for Aledo. 33-0 over rival Stephenville. A revenge shutout for a zero week loss that snapped a 29-game winning streak.

But there was the one distraction, the ejection of star running back Johnathan Gray for two excessive celebration personal fouls. The second penalty, late in the third quarter, nullified a 33-yard touchdown run that would have given him 60 for the season, breaking his own state record.

Gray said the referee told him he opened up his stride too early, high-stepping into the end zone. The first call involved him making a throat-slashing gesture after a touchdown. Gray said he was signaling to fans in celebration, not taunting the opponents.

“I’m glad for our team,” he said. “I’m glad we won. I’m not all about myself. I apologized for it, getting kicked out of the game. They made some terrible calls. But that’s what you have to live with.”

Aledo coach Tim Buchanan reprimanded Gray on the sidelines and also told the team it couldn’t lose its composure in the postgame huddle.

Fortunately for Aledo (12-2), it didn’t need Gray by that point. Its defense rarely allowed Stephenville past midfield. If it did, it would quickly shut Stephenville down. At halftime, Stephenville had 125 total yards. It had 190 for the game.

Quite the change. Earlier this year, Stephenville scored 48 points and gained 450 yards. In Stephenville’s zero week victory, Aledo, with four sophomores on the defense, couldn’t hold a 14-3 first quarter lead or 27-17 halftime lead.

“It got everybody motivated,” Buchanan said. “We had all gotten a little soft, not just the kids but the coaches, too. … That brought us back to reality.”

Said senior linebacker Dayne Davis: “Everybody has grown as a team. … After all the experience through district and the playoff games, it just came together today.”

On offense, Aledo had two touchdowns of 70 yards or longer. Matthew Bishop and Caleb Frysinger connected for a 72-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Gray started the onslaught with a 75-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game. He finished with 195 rushing yards before he was kicked out.

The ejection slowed Gray’s chase for the national career rushing and state’s season records held be Ken Hall of Sugar Land. Gray, however, passed Traylon Shead of Cayuga for No. 2 in state history.

Buchanan said the ejection wouldn’t carry over to the next week.

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