Some how, some way, the royal "we" found a way to get through this hectic, unprecedented season. There was always concern lurking in the background that the season would be further delayed or wouldn't even finish.
But here we are. The final week of a 21-week season with the final four games here.
And in this space, we're going to change up the preview style. Instead of previewing both teams, we'll take the local angle and dig deep into the DFW teams - starting with Aledo in its matchup with Crosby for the 5A Division II State Championship.
For the 12th time in its school history - second most in state history - Aledo is playing for the state title, and it's the 10th appearance since 2009 with the only year not appearing being 2012.
That is quite the run.
Ironically enough, this wasn't the strongest Aledo team, and despite being near the top of the 5A DII state rankings all year, there was a consensus that this was the year Aledo's run to state would end.
Not the case, and now Aledo is gunning for a state record 10th state championship.
HOW ALEDO GOT HERE
It's been about offense for Aledo since the playoffs started. In the regular season, Aledo averaged a solid 44 points per game but somewhat struggled to really find an identity on offense. At times it looked unstoppable (see a 70-point outburst to open the season against rival Weatheford), and at times it struggled to get the ball to its playmakers (see the 17-point struggle against Cedar Hill).
But then the playoffs hit and Aledo has turned it on offensively, relying heavily on the run game during this run. The offensive production has jumped by 11 points per game as it has scored 45 points or more in the five playoff games.
It doesn't mean there hasn't been some struggle in the playoffs. The defense had a tough time against previously-undefeated Lovejoy in the 5A Division II Region II final needing a 24-point fourth quarter and heroic effort from running back Demarco Roberts to extend its season.
HOW ALEDO WILL WIN
Running the ball. In the age of air raid, run-and-gun offenses, Aledo will need to continue to utilize its running attack with Roberts and the jet sweeps to JoJo Earle and let them get into space to make plays.
That formula has worked in the playoffs and with a more competent passing game than Liberty Hill, which Crosby faced last week, it should be more than enough to have Aledo win No. 10.
HOW ALEDO LOSES
Getting too cute and falling behind. Aledo doesn't have the razzle-dazzle of year's past to go to this well too often. Crosby has relished in the underdog role during the playoffs, and will look to do that once more. Taking Crosby lightly will spell doom as well.
The Lovejoy game probably refocused Aledo as it was able to dominate Rider last week. It cannot lose that focus and expect to win just because of its name.
Aledo should get its 10th state title but not without a strong effort by Crosby. Demarco Roberts will have another big game - most likely taking home offensive MVP - to lead his team to another 'chip.
The defense makes enough stops late to help Aledo pull away.
Aledo wins 44-31
KICKOFF: 1 p.m. Friday @ AT&T Stadium (Arlington)
LINE: Aledo favored by 8
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