Football ready for one of state’s best

Redhawks face 3-time defending state champion Aledo

The+Redhawks+27-24+win+over+Lovejoy%2C+the+states+%232+ranked+5A+Division+II+team%2C+earned+the+team+a+share+of+the+District+7-5A+championship.+On+Friday%2C+the+Redhawks+take+on+Aledo%2C+one+of+the+top+programs+in+the+state.+The+kicks+off+at+7+p.m.+at+UNTs+Apogee+Stadium+in+Denton.+

Scott McGarrh

The Redhawks 27-24 win over Lovejoy, the state’s #2 ranked 5A Division II team, earned the team a share of the District 7-5A championship. On Friday, the Redhawks take on Aledo, one of the top programs in the state. The kicks off at 7 p.m. at UNT’s Apogee Stadium in Denton.

Harley Classe , Sports Editor

The Redhawks (10-1) head into the second round of UIL Division 7-5A II playoffs on Friday when they take on Aledo High School (11-0) at 7:00 p.m. at UNT Apogee Stadium.

The Bearcats enter Friday’s game as a 3-time defending state champion, and the winner of 10 state championships since 1998 (1998, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020). 

“Aledo has a historic program,” Redhawks head football coach Matt Swinnea said. “They’ve won more state championships than anybody, they’re defending champions, and just a good program. One of the exciting things about that is that they’re number one and we’ve already taken out one number one before.”

For Bearcats head coach Tim Buchanan, the Redhawks will be a tough opponent. 

“We are expecting a very well coached football team that does not make mistakes,” Buchanan said via email. “We have just been working every day to get better because Liberty is one of the top teams in 5A.”

Facing one of the state’s best programs, Swinnea doesn’t feel the Redhawks will back down from the challenge as they have had a similar season so far.

Just three seasons removed from going 0-10, the Redhawks have undergone a dramatic change in fortunes as the team seeks its 11th win of 2021. 

“We’re having a pretty historic season ourselves,” Swinnea said. “It’s just a matter of going out and having fun, relaxing, and doing our best and that’s all we’re gonna have to do. We’ve already proven we can play a great game against a great opponent, we just need to do it again.”

For quarterback, junior Keldric Luster, the past few wins against Denison (49-44), Lovejoy (27-24), and Forney (45-21) have given himself as well as the rest of his teammates the confidence they need headed into Friday’s game.

“We really have a lot of eyes put on us,” Luster said. “You know, winning these past few games have really just set the tone of the season. Knowing we beat a lot of great teams when we weren’t picked to win, It’s really just a great feeling for us. All we have to do now is execute.”