Written by Matt Wixon
Aledo vs. Mesquite Poteet preview
CLASS 4A DIVISION II STATE SEMFINAL
7:30 p.m. Friday, Mansfield's Vernon Newsom Stadium
Radio: KEOM-FM 88.5; TV: Ch. 21 (Delayed, 11 p.m.)
Aledo (14-0): The defending 4A Division II state champs have won 27 straight games. Junior running back Johnathan Gray has rushed for 2,462 yards and 35 touchdowns this season and averages a whopping 9.6 yards per carry. When defenses load up to stop Gray, quarterback Matthew Bishop can make them pay. The junior has thrown for 20 touchdowns, including three in last week's 18-10 victory over Stephenville. The Aledo defense has held eight opponents to 10 points or less this season.
Poteet (12-2): Forcing three turnovers last week helped Poteet knock off Bastrop, 42-35. Poteet has 44 takeaways this season, a big reason the Pirates are making their deepest playoff run in school history. Senior quarterback Beau Nowell has thrown for more than 3,000 yards this season and has nine touchdowns and only one interception in the playoffs. Receivers Justin Velasquez (85 catches, 1,197 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Courtland Crumby (five TD receptions in the playoffs) are favorite targets. Three of Poteet's four playoff wins are by a touchdown or less.