Aledo coaches accused of bullying

Aledo football coach Tim Buchanan was sitting in his Texas office Saturday morning watching game film from a 91-0 victory over Western Hills on Friday night when an email popped up on his computer.

The subject line read "Bullying report."

Buchanan couldn't believe it and thought it was a joke until he read the email and realized a Western Hills parent had filled out the district's online form, accusing the coaching staff of bullying thanks to the lopsided score.

Buchanan spent an hour in the superintendent's office this week and the school is currently investigating, as mandated by the state. The Aledo principal told Buchanan that a written report is expected in the next day or so, something required by state law. Buchanan -- who is in his 21st season as head coach at Aledo and said he has never been accused of bullying -- said he has the support of the Aledo administration.

"[The report filed] compliments our players, saying they showed extremely good sportsmanship," Buchanan said Tuesday morning. "This was not directed at our team, but the coaching staff for not instructing our players to ease up and quit playing hard once the game was in hand."

Western Hills coach John Naylor, whose team dropped to 0-7, didn't have any issues with how Buchanan and his staff handled the game, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the athletes played hard and didn't "talk at all."

"They're No. 1 for a reason, and I know Coach Buchanan," Naylor told the newspaper. "We're fighting a real uphill battle right now."

Undefeated Aledo, No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll (the second-highest classification in the state), is racking up ridiculous yardage and crushing opponents this season. They are averaging just shy of 70 points per game, making some of those games essentially over before halftime.

In fact, at the half Friday, it was 56-0 and Buchanan and his coaching staff spent the intermission trying to figure out how to tap the offensive brakes without embarrassing Western Hills or hindering his own team's progress. Buchanan had one thought: "What are we going to do to not score 100?"

But he was also balancing that with the fact that his team is going to start facing tougher competition in the coming weeks and he wants to be sure his starters are used to playing at least some in the second half.

Buchanan simplified the playbook. He put in the second- and third-team offensive line and got the backups as much time as he could, while still playing a few starters here and there at the beginning of the third quarter. He told his punt returner to fair-catch the ball. All told, his offense had 32 snaps. His starters began coming out in the third quarter, some of them having played just 16 snaps, Buchanan said. The Bearcats rushed for 391 yards with eight touchdowns.

Buchanan said his starting running back touched the ball six times and scored four touchdowns. His backup kept finding holes as well, even without the starting offensive line in the game.

"I can't tell the backups not to play hard," Buchanan said. "They've worked their tails off all week. They've lifted weights in the offseason. I'm not going to tell them not to play."

But he did whatever he could to try to slow down his offense short of taking a knee in the third quarter.

The result was another easy win, but also some time in the principal's office after the report was filed.

Buchanan is now trying to focus on preparing his team for the schedule to stiffen and to be fully ready for the playoffs and a shot at a state title.