DALLAS — It’s often a myriad of monstrous teams, a gauntlet of giants and an access to the avenue of champions.
That is the Texas high school state championship tournament that captures the attention of thousands within the Lone Star State.
The Aledo Bearcats are the elite, a school that already has captured eight state titles and they are the reigning state champions from 2018.
The Royse City Bulldogs have plenty of championship hardware, just not the state championship variety, yet. But to be the best, you have to beat the best; as the saying goes. And the Royse City Bulldogs drew the best in only the second round of the Region II series.
The Aledo Bearcats and the Royse City Bulldogs met last Friday night at Gerald Ford J. Stadium on the campus of the Southern Methodist University Mustangs. Aledo, now at 11-1 for the season, continued its quest for that next coveted title with a solid 52-24 victory over the 9-3 Bulldogs.
However, don’t let that 28-point advantage take away from the script written at the campus where some of the most prominent athletes of all time have graced the gridiron of greatness. But, and again as they say, throw out the records, toss away the titles and terminate the tremendous trophies in the display case, because Royse City was ready to square off with the Bearcats.
Aledo scored on its first and second possessions. Royse City was left standing still as the Bulldogs were still engulfed in the aura that surrounded the collegiate atmosphere.
Aledo’s Jace McClellan, a University of Oklahoma commit, struck first on a 51-yard touchdown run.
Just minutes later, Money Parks was on the receiving end of a 73-yard touchdown pass from Jake Bishop.
The Bulldogs went to work and capped off a long drive that resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Anthony Ortiz. The first quarter ended with the Bulldogs still in contention, but trailing 14-3.
Royse City junior Damon Dozier intercepted the of his two interceptions in the second quarter. Those two interceptions by Dozier were on back-to-back Aledo possessions and on only three Bearcat plays.
But the gears were well oiled in the Aledo offensive machine and the Bulldogs were still slugging away, but the Bearcats went into halftime with a 21-3 lead.
It was the third quarter when the wheels fell off of the Bulldogs’ hopes and dreams. Successful and successive kickoff recoveries by Aledo set up short Bearcat drives as McClellan returned after the break and scored on touchdown runs of 3, 52 and 6 yards.
The Bulldogs struck back with the first of three touchdown passes to junior receiver Ketron Jackson. However, the third quarter ended with Aledo holding a commanding 42-10 lead.
Jackson finished his night with a 6-yard touchdown pass reception and an 88-yard catch and run with 2:14 to play.
However, McClellan was the difference maker in this game as the running back ran for 240 yards and five touchdowns on 22 carries.
Offensively, the Bulldogs were literally improving by leaps and bounds as the season progressed.
Senior quarterback Tyson Oliver completed his Bulldog career with over 1,900 yards passing and 16 touchdowns with six interceptions. Oliver also rushed for 545 yards on 122 carries and eight touchdowns.
Other senior offensive leaders capping off their Royse City careers were Bryce Martinez with 605 yards on 114 carries and two touchdowns. Martinez missed several games after midseason due to a knee injury.
Payton Petroff finalized his senior season with 780 yards rushing on 153 carries and 11 touchdowns. Petroff also added 31 receptions for 325 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs will have offensive power returning, starting with sophomore tailback Ahmon Petty-Dozier, who in nine games ran for 1,180 yards and nine touchdowns on 142 carries. Petty-Dozier also added 98 yards receiving and a touchdown on receptions and a touchdown.
Junior teammate and receiver Ketron Jackson would finish with 60 catches for 875 yards and nine touchdowns. Jackson also rushed for 100 yards on six carries.
The Bulldogs ended their best season since 2007 when they went 11-1. Royse City will return a very talented core of offensive players for 2020.
It will be challenging however to find a defense that was as successful as the 2019 defense, but there are some incredible athletes that have been waiting in the wings to prove their awaiting success.
Athletic Director for Boys Athletics and Head Football Coach David Petroff completes his seventh football season at Royse City. The former Defensive Coach of the Year at Class 6A Waco Midway has continued his success at RCISD. His seasons here in Royse City have steadily improved every year since 2013. The 2019 season may have ended, but 2020 could face even bigger challenges if Royse City’s enrollment numbers will possibly move them from Class 5A Division II to Class 5A Division I. Those changes will not be confirmed until Feb. of 2020 when realignment numbers and districts will be announced.
2019 Royse City Herald Banner Players of the Year
Co-Offensive Players of the Year
Payton Petroff and Ketron Jackson share our Offensive Players of the Year for 2019.
receiver Ketron Jackson was one of several offensive weapons that the Bulldogs featured in 2019. A four-star athlete that already has 16 Division I athletic scholarship offers including Alabama, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Illinois, LSU, Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kansas, Ole Miss, TCU and Nebraska. Jackson completed his first season with the Bulldogs with an 88-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the area round of the Texas high school playoffs against the No. 1 team in the state. Jackson ended his junior season with the Bulldogs with 975 total offensive yards and nine touchdowns.
Payton Petroff completed his senior campaign with 1,150 all-purpose yards. The bullish Bulldog was the choice for the tough yardage and also at scoring within the red zone. Petroff scored 13 touchdowns and 6six two-point conversions this season. Ten of the tailback’s touchdowns were scored rushing and he also grabbed three touchdowns receiving.
Co-Defensive Players of the Year
Our Defensive Players of the Year could actually be many more than just two, but the difficult choice to single out one player on that side of the ball was impossible, so we decided on Co-Defensive Players of the Year and awarded that honor to Jamie Cortez and John Klump.
Two different positions, two different playing styles and yet common approaches to the mindset of playing your career on defense.
J amie Cortez at 275 pounds and literally the central figure on the Bulldog’s defensive line, had legs that were tested by lifting over 700 pounds at the state powerlifting championship. Add quickness and a nose for the football and you have the perfect combination that every offensive coordinator feared. Every game featured offensive lines double and triple teaming Cortez, yet the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year for the district was nearly unstoppable. Cortez had nine sacks, 32 quarterback hurries, 61 tackles, 27 assisted tackles, 25 tackles thrown for a loss, 80 yards thrown for a loss, a caused fumble and countless numbers of offensive disruptions that resulted in defensive stops.
John Klump played his way to his position. That means that the outside linebacker for the Bulldogs led his team in tackles and in the energy linked to lead the Bulldogs to their best season since 2007. All eyes on No. 14. If No. 14 was in the area, you knew the football was there as well. Klump was a fan favorite, a center point of attention and a leader that will be very hard to replace. Here are his stats; 61 solo tackles, 56 assists, 9.8 average tackles per game, six tackles thrown for a loss, five sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, two interceptions, 68 interception return yards, two passes defended, four fumble recoveries, one fumble caused, two caused safeties, one fumble recovery for a touchdown, four points in safeties and a total of 10 defensive points scored.
Newcomer of the Year
Sophomore tailback Ahmon Petty-Dozier only played in nine games this season, but if you take into consideration that a couple of those games, he was used sparingly as a backup tailback. So essentially, the sophomore sensation played in seven games but rushed for 1,180 yards, scored nine touchdowns rushing and one touchdown receiving. Petty-Dozier is a serious candidate for a 2,000-yard rushing campaign for Royse City before his Bulldog football career is complete.
Special Teams Players of the Year
Payton Petroff is one of the most prolific punters in Bulldog history. The senior tailback/punter/punt returner punted the football 47 times in 12 games for 1,481 yards. He averaged 31.1 yards per punt, which is deceiving, because he placed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line. Petroff’s longest punt for the season was 63 yards.
Senior kickoff specialist and field goal kicker Anthony Ortiz had 71 kickoffs this season totaling 2,959 yards. Eight of his kickoffs were for touchbacks, but most were strategically kicked to avoid runbacks. Ortiz successfully kicked 39-of-39 extra points. He also booted 13 of 18 field goals for a total of 78 points, averaging 6.5 points per game and the team’s second-leading scorer. Ortiz kicked a 49-yard field goal for his longest successful attempt of the 2019 season.