AUSTIN -For the first time in their improbable and spectacular postseason run, the Brenham Cubs couldn't quite come all the way back.
Aledo running back Johnathan Gray ran for 252 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bearcats to the Class 4A Division II state championship over Brenham here Saturday at Royal Memorial Stadium.
The Wildcats took control of the game in the opening plays of the fourth quarter as senior quarterback Trey Ozee, who was in the game only because sophomore Matthew Bishop was injured the week before, scored on a 26-yard run through the heart of Brenham's defense.
But as they had done so many times before, the Cubs came back. Ty Schlottmann connected with Derek Edwards on a 42-yard pass over the top of the Bearcat secondary, and led Brenham to Aledo's 32-yard line before he limped off the field with a leg injury. For the second time in the playoffs, senior backup quarterback Michael Buro stepped onto the field and threw a touchdown in his only pass of the game, this one a 33-yard strike to Edwards in the end zone.
After Rodney Hubert knocked down a third-down pass attempt by Ozee, the Bearcats were forced to punt and the Cubs again threatened, reaching Aledo's 10-yard line before needing a couple yards on fourth-and-2.
On fourth down, the Cubs handed the ball to sophomore running back Troy Green, who would finish the game with 119 yards. But he would gain just one yard on the play, giving Aledo the ball back with less than three minutes remaining.
Gray ran for 125 yards in the first half, sparking the Bearcats to a 21-14 halftime lead, but he was largely silent through the third quarter while Ozee provided the Bearcats with their biggest chunks of yardage, breaking free for 34- and 26-yard runs. Ozee started the season as Aledo's starting quarterback, but after an ankle injury forced him to miss five weeks of the season, he found that Bishop had established himself as the team's signal caller, and he was moved to wide receiver.
Until Saturday's game, that is.
The Cubs had more than a few stars of their own. Green's 119-yard performance was his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the postseason, while Schlottmann threw for 195 yards and ran for another 68.
Senior Terrell Reese, an Associated Press Sports Editors all-state selection, pulled down a spectacular 30-yard touchdown pass over two defensive backs for the Cubs' first touchdown of the game, and Edwards grabbed six passes for a career-high 141 yards.
Schlottmann found Emon Smith for a 4-yard touchdown pass that tied the game 14-14 with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Brenham graduates 14 seniors from a fairly young roster, including Jeremy Hall, Russell Sinegal, Brandon Fielder, Buro, Walker, Christian Jernigan, C.J. Anderson, Ken-neth Allen, Chase Coghlan, Joey Burns, Mason Hartnett, Arthur Morgan, Reese and Thomas Newman.
Brenham lost to Denton Ryan 38-8 in its only previous state championship game in 2002.
It was Brenham's second second-place finish in the past month, as the Brenham volleyball finished second in the state volleyball tournament in November. In the last calendar year, Brenham has advanced to state in football, volleyball, baseball, boys soccer and won the Class 4A Region III championship in track.