Hawkins looking for strong showing

By Zach Duncan
June 13, 2014

In his last high school football game, Aledo linebacker Matthew Hawkins walked off the turf at AT&T Stadium a state champion.

While he called the Bearcats’ 4A Division II state title run an amazing experience, Hawkins left with a bittersweet taste in his mouth after Aledo’s 38-10 victory over Brenham.

The outside linebacker had made five tackles against the Cubs, but it was the plays he didn’t make that frustrated him.

“It was one of my worst games fundamentally speaking,” Hawkins said. “I missed a wide-open pick and I missed some tackles — I hadn’t missed any of those in the playoffs until then. I missed some gap assignments, too.

“I was a little upset with myself I had to end on that note, so hopefully I make up for it in the Oil Bowl.”

Hawkins was a first-team all-district selection who made more than 130 tackles his senior year. He was one of 10 senior starters on an Aledo defense that allowed an average of nine points.

But he knows that’s not what the 2013 Bearcats’ lasting legacy will be. Aledo scored a national high school record 1,023 points, breaking the previous record in a 69-14 state quarterfinal win over Wichita Falls High School.

“It was definitely a season to remember,” Hawkins said. “We’re kind of used to (the offense getting attention). That’s how Aledo is I think, especially with Johnathan Gray coming through.”

Aledo also drew national buzz when a FW Western Hills parent filed a bullying report after Aledo crushed the winless program, 91-0. It was one of many blowouts Hawkins didn’t finish.

“We weren’t trying to run the score up or anything,” Hawkins said. “We had our third and fourth string in. I think (the starters) were out by early in the second quarter.

“The main thing our coaches kept telling us before every game was to get better than we were the week before.”

Denton Guyer was the other Class 4A state champion, and the Wildcats were also the last team to beat Aledo early in the 2012 playoffs. There was lots of message-board banter between the two towns about who was the best 4A program last fall.

“I really wanted to play them, but I’m also really happy with how the season ended for us too,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins is still looking for a place to play at the next level and has been talking to some Division III and NAIA schools. But first he’ll be looking for a little redemption Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

OIL BOWL NOTES

While Hawkins is the only Oil Bowl participant to play in a state football championship game this year, Amarillo’s Chris Scott appeared in the 4A boys basketball title game. The Sandies fell to Dallas Kimball 52-37, and Scott came off the bench to score three points in the semifinal win over Schertz Clemens.

Three other Oil Bowl players appeared in Texas state semifinals. Running back Nicholas Gabriel and receiver Marcus Daggs helped Ennis make the 4A Division II semifinals, where Aledo ended the Lions’ season, 29-6.

Graham running back Dillon Gonzales was a big reason the Steers went to the 3A Division II semifinals, where they lost out to Argyle, 38-14. The Eagles won the title the next week.

The Oil Bowl Banquet will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Maskat Shrine. Tickets are $15 and will be sold at the banquet. The banquet speaker is Galveston Burn Center Public Relations Specialist Dustin Johnson.

The teams will go through one final practice Friday at Memorial Stadium. West Texas practices from 8:30-9:45 a.m. with East Texas following behind at 9:45-11 a.m.