Braxton McCullough

Braxton McCullough and the third-grade Cleburne Yellow Jackets finished as runners-up in the 2021 Metroplex Youth Football Association season, losing to Aledo, 16-6, in the super bowl on Saturday.

JOSHUA — The third-grade Cleburne Yellow Jackets came up a few plays short of an undefeated season in a 16-6 loss to Aledo in the Metroplex Youth Football Association Super Bowl on Saturday at Owl Stadium.

Cleburne entered the game with a perfect record, including a week 1 win over the same Aledo team, but the Bearcats used a ball-control offense to keep the junior Jackets in check.

Aledo received the opening kickoff and possessed the ball nearly the entire first quarter, including four third-down conversions, as the Bearcats scored on an eight-yard touchdown run — and added the two-point conversion — with 1:42 left in the first quarter.

Cleburne’s first possession was the exact opposite as the Jackets failed to pick up a first down and turned the ball over on downs to end the first quarter.

From there, Aledo again went on another time-consuming drive, picking up small gains of yardage but consistently converting on third downs before finishing it off with an 11-yard touchdown run. Another successful two-point conversion gave the junior Bearcats a 16-6 lead with 2:25 left in the first half. Aledo’s first two possessions accounted for 11:53 of the opening 13:35 of game clock.

Cleburne then put together an impressive drive, including a fourth-and-long conversion through the air, before finding the end zone on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left. But the two-point conversion failed so the Jackets faced a 16-6 deficit at halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Jackets faced a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line to open the fourth quarter — the play of the game — but Aledo held Cleburne to a one-yard gain as the Jackets turned the ball over on downs. From there, Aledo again used its “four yards and a cloud of dust” offense to move the ball out of the shadow of its own end zone to run the clock down and hold on for the win.

Congratulations to the third-grade Jackets — Zander Allen, Gunner Argo, Liam Bicknell, Jamaral Brown II, Evrett Cason, Anthony Castillo, Mitchell Gentry, Abbott Hatchett, Ky Hatchett, Aryonn Hibbler, Elyijiah Izaguirre, Zayne Jaquiz, Ryker Kelley, Ezekiel Kinere, Braxton McCullough, Enrique Mondragon, Logan Ramirez, Waylon Rogers, Braxton Simpson, Kooper Sisk, Seven Smith, Maddox Spohn and Brantley Wallace — and their coaches on a great season.

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