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Players to watch: Aledo, Texas

11/13/2011

Everyone who follows high school football knows Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas/Aledo). With the records, statistical milestones and back-to-back state championships – as well as the 2,684 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns this season – it’s hard not to know all about the five-star running back, Under Armour All-American and Texas commit.

What Aledo coach Tim Buchanan wants many to know, however, is that there are other solid players on a team that has advanced to the second round of the Texas Class 4A Division II state playoffs. Aledo beat Fort Worth Dunbar 59-10 this weekend, and while Gray had 196 rushing yards and three touchdowns, other players also turned in quality performances.

Here are six Aledo players not named Gray to keep an eye on as the team continues its quest for a state championship three-peat.

Matt Bishop, Sr., QB: When teams try to contain the run, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound signal-caller makes sure they pay. Bishop completed 21 of 23 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns against Dunbar. He has thrown for 2,262 yards and 24 touchdowns with only four picks this season.

Jonny Carter, So. CB: One of the youngest members of the Aledo team, Carter has been a staple in the secondary. He has decent footwork and respectable make-up speed, and he’s only going to get better. At 5-9 and 155 pounds, he still has a little bit of filling out to do, but he can be a playmaker.

Todd Christian, Sr., DB: Before the playoff game against Dunbar, Christian had been having a decent but relatively quiet season. He re-established himself as a threat on the defensive end, as he intercepted two passes in the win. Listed at 5-8 and 160 pounds, he is looking to impress scouts during the postseason.

Willie Gibson, Jr., WR: Gibson might be Aledo’s best home run option. He is averaging almost 20 yards per catch, and he showed his big-play ability with a 72-yard touchdown catch against Dunbar. A 6-foot, 160-pound receiver, Gibson has caught 22 passes for 430 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Hayden Lambert, Sr., OG: At 6-5 and 251 pounds, Lambert is strong enough and quick enough to play guard or tackle for Aledo. It was his versatility that attracted Texas State, as he committed to the Bobcats in August. Lambert is a big reason Gray’s numbers are so gaudy.

Michael Mann, Sr., WR: As Bishop throws the ball, he looks to one of his favorite targets in Mann. At 5-10 and 160 pounds, Mann has been a reliable option in passing situations, accounting for 42 receptions, 632 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Mann caught six passes for 117 yards and a touchdown against Dunbar.

Michael Wilson, Sr., OT: Gray is the first to admit that without a solid line none of his achievements would be possible. At 6-6 and 265 pounds, Wilson is the anchor of Aledo’s highly underrated offensive line. Wilson, a four-star Texas A&M commit, can play both the guard and tackle positions.