4A-II preview: All eyes Gray, Aledo in Reg. 1


Overview: It’s hard to look at this region without fixating on Aledo (8-2).

The Bearcats are looking for their third straight state title, and running back Johnathan Gray gets closer to breaking national records with each Aledo win. The rest of the field has to be sized up by its ability to upset the Bearcats, and that means keeping pace with an offense that’s scored less than 50 points just twice all season (47, 49).

There are other teams in the region with high-octane offenses. Lake Dallas (7-3), Stephenville (8-2) and Mansfield Summit (9-1) are no strangers to lighting up the scoreboard, but with a region that includes much of West Texas, there are dead spots in the bracket.

Favorite: Do you really need to ask? Aledo has won the last two state titles in impressive fashion, and the catalyst for those titles, Gray, is playing his last year of high school football. He’s running with determination as he chases the names ahead of him in the record books. He’s already run for 2,491 yards and 47 touchdowns in just 10 games. Aledo’s two losses came against rival Stephenville and four-time state champion Austin Lake Travis.

Watch out for: Lake Dallas. This team's offense has the potential to go off against any opponent. QB Dalyn Williams finished the year as the area’s leading 4A passer with 3,211 yards, 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Falcons will play out west for the first two rounds before a potential meeting with Stephenville.

Can’t wait to see: Waco vs. Mansfield Summit (7:30 p.m. Friday, Waxahachie's Lumpkins Stadium). Don’t expect many close games in the first round of this region, but Waco (7-3) could end Summit’s playoff run before it gets going. The Lions aren’t getting much attention around the state, but their three losses are respectable – two close defeats at the hands of 5A Copperas Cove and Mesquite and a road loss to Stephenville to close the season. Summit won its district games by an average of 31 points.

We hope to see: Aledo vs. Stephenville. They played one of the best regular-season games of the year in Zero Week. The Yellow Jackets stuffed Johnathan Gray on a two-point conversion attempt at the end of the game to seal a 48-47 upset. These two bitter rivals always seems to find each other in the playoffs – Aledo has ended Stephenville’s season the last two years. They may meet again in the region final.

Talent pool (FBS recruits): Aledo: RB Johnathan Gray (Texas), OL Michael Wilson (Texas A&M), OL Hayden Lambert (Texas State); Fort Worth Dunbar: DB Ashton Lampkin (Oklahoma State); Mansfield Summit: DB Micah Awe (Texas Tech); Waco: DB Will Hines (Missouri), RB Darrell Harris (uncommitted); Lake Dallas: WR Dontonio Jordan (Stanford), QB Dalyn Williams (uncommitted), RB Tre Dickerson (uncommitted); Stephenville: RB/DB Aiavion Edwards (Baylor); Everman: LB Torey Boozer (Missouri); WR/DB Horace Richardson (SMU); DE Lincoln Richard (SMU).