After a season of upheaval and disrupted schedules, a pair of state-ranked powers will take the field Friday at Newsom Stadium with a district title on the line.
Second-ranked Aledo, riding back-to-back state championships, visits 7th-ranked Mansfield Timberview with the District 5-5A Division II title hanging in the balance.
Aledo is 4-1 on the year, 2-0 in district play, and won their zone on the strength of convincing wins over Everman and Arlington Seguin.
Timberview is 6-0 for the first time in school history and won their zone after dispatching Cleburne, Burleson, and Joshua.
Now the two clear-cut favorites in this district get to settle it on the field, after a two-week delay. The teams were originally scheduled to play on Nov. 5, but three COVID-19 positives in the Aledo program led to roughly half the roster being in quarantine.
Head coaches Tim Buchanan and James Brown agreed to delay the district championship game that was scheduled for that Thursday night and allow the Aledo program to get healthy.
Now, tonight, they are able to get back on the field. It will be Aledo's first game in three weeks.
The Bearcats were healthy enough to play last week, but their game against Joshua was canceled due to coronavirus cases in the Joshua program. So Aledo will likely have some rust to kick off tonight.
Timberview comes in off an impressive 55-28 win over Dripping Springs last week. The Wolves have a tremendous defense, led by two FBS commits at defensive end, in Terrell Tilmon and Raam Stevenson.
Landon Hullaby, a 4-star prospect with 28 collegiate offers, roams the secondary for the Wolves. Only twice all season have the Wolves given up more than 20 points.
Offensively for Timberview, it all begins with quarterback Simeon Evans. A transfer from Bishop Dunne, Evans has dazzled this season, combining for 18 touchdowns (13 passing, 5 rushing) and throwing just two interceptions.
Evans pairs with senior running back Deuce Jones to form a strong running game for the Wolves. The offensive line for Timberview is massive.
And the foursome of receivers at Evans disposal are very strong -- Justin Kimber, Andre Williams, Bearin Loftis, and Titus Evans all are tough covers and can challenge a secondary.
Aledo is led by a very strong defense, featuring four-star LSU commit BJ Allen at safety, and three-star UNT commit Chris Wright at defensive end.
DeMarco Roberts is a three-star prospect who will play cornerback at Lamar but has moved to running back this year for Aledo.
Middle linebacker Sam Forman is one of the most improved players on Aledo's roster in recent years and has become a very reliable player in the middle for Buchanan.
Offensively for Aledo, JoJo Earle is the bellcow in so many ways. A four-star wide receiver committed to LSU, Earle is a tremendously gifted player who can impact the game through the air and on the ground.
Earle is averaging over 10 yards per touch this season, catching 29 passes and carrying the ball 33 times this year. He has six total touchdowns. He'll also take the snap from center on occasion.
Earle combines with running backs DeMarco Roberts and Ryan Williams to round out the Aledo offensive attack, running behind a quality offensive line.
Kickoff tonight is at 7 p.m. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on the WFAA YouTube channel.