HP at Forney: 7:30pm Kickoff Tonight


by Kirk Dooley

   The Scots took care of business last Friday, knocking off district rival Poteet, 40-29, to retain first place in district 15-5A with three games remaining.
   Highland Park did it the hard way, spotting the Pirates 15 points early in the second quarter. The Scots were down by six at the end of two quarters and made some good adjustments at halftime to command the third quarter with 24 straight points to ice the game.
   By rolling up more than 600 yards of total offense and holding the Pirates to under 240, the Scots made its most significant statement of the season against a very good team. Now the Scots, undefeated in district play, face Forney, Royse City and Wylie East to close out the regular season.
   This week Highland Park travels to Forney to hunt some Jackrabbits. Forney is 3-4, with wins over Berkner, Lindale and Royse City along with losses to Terrell, Poteet, Lovejoy and West Mesquite. They are 1-3 in district play but have fought most teams to close games.forney-jackrabbits-logo-1

Click Here for directions to game.  7:30pm kickoff tonight, October 21, 2016.

The Jackrabbits’ quarterback is junior Devon Rideaux who has completed 53 of 129 passes for 755 yards and six touchdowns. He is also the team’s second leading rusher, totaling 430 yards on 84 carries. If the Scots focus on Rideaux, they need to be careful because then Aaron Rideaux can hurt you. He is the team’s third leading rusher and third leading receiver. It’s confusing when they’re both in the backfield at the same time.
   Forney also has some excellent talent at center (all-district Ethan Hanley), linebacker (all-district Brendan Vaughn and defensive line (all-state Jaylon Hutchins). While taking a break from starring on defense Vaughn is also the team’s leading receiver (23 yards per catch) and Hutchins is the team’s leading rusher (526 yards on 79 carries). These guys are good but they will also be good and tired.
   The number for the Scots to be concerned with is six. That’s the number of yards per carry that Hutchins, Rideaux and Rideaux each average every time they run with the ball. That sounds like a lot of first downs…
   Last month an intoxicated man from Terrell stumbled into a Forney fast food restaurant and demanded some free enchiladas. When he wasn’t given any, he got into an argument and so his buddy took him outside. There the two of them got into a fight and enchilada man bit the ear off his buddy. I mention this as a reminder to all Scots fans who go to Forney this Friday. If you stop for dinner and order enchiladas, make sure you let your waiter or waitress know that you fully intend to pay for them.

Mesquite Poteet at HP Friday, 10/14– Kickoff 7:30pm

by Kirk Dooley

What is the key word in this week’s Scots-Pirates battle?
The Poteet Pirates have plenty of it and the Scots will need to overcome it. Coach Randy Allen calls it “sprint relay speed” and he’s right. The Pirates have it on offense. They have it on defense. They have speed on special teams and they even have it when the team runs onto the field before the game. These guys are FAST.
The Pirates and the Scots come into the game undefeated in district play and this game is what everyone predicted when the schedules were announced – a battle for the district championship. Each team still has three more district games after this one, and the Scots must travel to Wylie East to close out district play, but the Poteet battle is the home game of the year for Highland Park.img_0409
Please note that Poteet has already defeated Wylie East, 26-14. The Raiders held the Pirates to 91 yards passing, 48 yards rushing and only six first downs for the night. Yet Poteet scored 26 points. The Pirate defense allowed Raider quarterback Eno Benjamin 190 yards on the ground but won the game because they kept him out of the end zone. That’s the point, right?
But let’s look at those 26 points. Cha Cha Corbin, a (fast) Poteet wide receiver, caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Kaleb Fletcher, who is also fast. Da’Michael Smith ran back a punt 86 yards for touchdown. We assume he didn’t stroll all the way to the end zone. The Pirates added two field goals by two different kickers. The first one out there gets to kick?
In Poteet’s 42-3 win over North Forney last Friday, Cha Cha Corbin had a 48-yard touchdown run, Daiquan Jackson had a 47-yeard TD run and Josh Johnson topped them both with a 57-yard run for a score. It seems that we can deduct that if any of these guys turn the corner or get into open space, it’s six points.
The Scots go into this game prepared and focused. They know this is a big game and they know they have the horses to win it. Outside of Denton Ryan, Poteet has not seen a defense like Highland Park’s. My gut feeling is that HP will keep the Pirate passing game off balance and will limit the big plays enough for the Scots offense to control the clock and the scoreboard.
HP quarterback John Stephen Jones has completed 60 percent of his passes this season for 1,335 yards and 10 touchdowns. The weather forecast calls for rain all night Thursday and much of Friday. Will a wet Highlander Stadium field force the Scots to abandon its superlative passing game? Well, maybe not. The best way to quickly dry off a soaked football field is to hover a helicopter over it.
I’m just sayin’…

HP at West Mesquite– 7:30pm Kickoff Friday, October 7, 2016

Highland Park put together its most complete game of the year two weeks ago against North Forney, crushing the Falcons, 66-7. After the Sept. 30 open date, the Scots are now rested and ready to face their five remaining district games.

   The Scots travel to Mesquite Memorial Stadium this Friday (Oct. 7) to face the West Mesquite Wranglers. HP, West Mesquite and Poteet are the leaders of the district race with 2-0 records. While 15-5A is predicted to come down to last team standing between HP, Poteet and Wylie East, this Friday’s game will alert the world to a potential West Mesquite challenge.
   Here’s why the Scots should be concerned about Friday’s game in Mesquite. The Wranglers exploded into a superteam in the fourth quarter against Lovejoy two weeks ago. Trailing 37-6 with three and a half minutes left in the third quarter, the Wranglers watched as their season was slipping away. Then, incredibly, they stepped out of the phone booth and reeled off 40 straight points in 15 minutes to stun Lovejoy, 46-37.
   Did anyone get the license number of that orange-and-white truck that knocked the joy out of Lovejoy?
   With 3:37 left in the third quarter Wrangler quarterback Connor Neill hit Eric Knight with a 48-yard TD pass to tighten the score to 37-13. After an interception, the Wranglers went into an unstoppable Wildcat offense and didn’t throw another pass the rest of the game. Three plays after the pick, Demarcus Crockett scored from the nine. PAT blocked. Score: 37-19 with a minute left in the quarter.
   Was this comeback for real? Ask Jaylon Monroe, who picked off a Lovejoy pass on the first play of the final quarter and ran it back 44 yards for a touchdown. 37-26.
   The Wrangler defense then forced not one, not two, but three straight Lovejoy three-and-outs. With 9:16left in the game, Ja’Coty McCoy scored on a 16-yard run. 37-32. Then a minute-and-a-half later Crockett ran in from the 31 to give the Wranglers their first lead, 39-37. With two minutes left in the game West Mesquite put the game away with an eight-play, 61-yard drive to go up 46-37.
   Forty unanswered points in 15 minutes. And just as incredible is the fact that during that offensive rampage, the Wrangler defense held the Lovejoy offense to minus-15 yards and grabbed two interceptions.
   Most followers don’t know if West Mesquite will make the playoffs. I’m here to tell you that if the Wranglers play the rest of the season like they did in that 15-minute window against Lovejoy, not only will they make the playoffs, they’ll win the state championship.
   The Scots played like Supermen against North Forney two Fridays ago. At Mesquite Memorial Stadium, they’ll face some focused Wranglers who now believe they ARE Supermen. The Scots need to be concerned with any high school football team that suddenly has great confidence in its abilities.
   That confidence is the kryptonite of Friday Night Football in Texas.

HP at N Forney Friday, 9/23 – 7:30pm kickoff

By Kirk Dooley

Moving into the second game of district play, it is probably a good time to note the fact that the 3-1 Highland Park Scots have played one team with a winning record.

HP had been one of the state’s Top 10 teams before the Waxahachie loss, but the Scots shouldn’t worry about the polls at this point. They should focus on being one of the Top Four teams in 15-5A.
Rockwall (1-3), Waxahachie (4-0) and Lovejoy (1-3) all challenged the Scots while Mansfield Timberview did not.

Waxahachie turned out to be one of the better 5A teams in North Texas and deserves to be in the state’s Top 10. It’s star receiver, Jalen Reagor, leads the Area in receiving with 513 yards and seven touchdowns, and is second in scoring (62 points) behind a gentleman we will see on November 4, Eno Benjamin (74 points).
Benjamin is the star athlete for Wylie East and he may turn out to be the difference between Highland Park winning the district championship or not. He currently leads the Dallas area in rushing with 808 yards on 94 carries. He has scored 12 touchdowns in four games and leads the area in that category also. The last time I looked, the Wylie East coaches put him at quarterback so fasten your seat belts for the final district game, when the Scots face Benjamin and the Raiders in Wylie.
Go ahead and mark Nov. 4 on your calendar. Just write “Eno” across the page.

imageBut that is then and this is now. The Scots travel to North Forney for a game between two 3-1 teams. The Falcons have beaten Mount Pleasant (50-21), Creekview (33-14) and Spruce (49-13) and then last week lost to Wylie East (56-28). So far this season the Falcons have score more points than HP or Wylie East. Quarterback Colby Suits has completed 59 of 110 passes for 1,001 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s ranked fourth in 5A passing, one spot above HP’s John Stephen Jones (69 of 110 for 980 yards and seven TDs). Falcons receiver Barclay Ford (sounds like an HP name) is fifth in receiving with 21 catches for 398 yards and three scores.  The Falcon defense is ranked 10th in the Area, holding teams to only 273 yards of total offense per game.

North Forney is a good team with solid skill players, a tough defense and a well-earned 3-1 record. The Falcons will face an HP team led by Dallas Morning News 5A Defensive Player of the Week Matt Gahm, better known as the second coming of Mitchell Kaufman. Gahm’s pick six propelled the Scots to victory last week. Cornerback O’Neil Sitzer had two key interceptions and was a runner-up for the DMN Defensive Player of the Week against Lovejoy. Two Scots. Three picks.

Traditionally the Scots transform from boys to men during the bye week as they get serious about moving into district play. But this season the bye week won’t take place until next week and by then HP will have two district games under its kilt. The Scots survived a serious Lovejoy scare last Friday and on paper North Forney looks better than Lovejoy.

The Falcons must be taken seriously. The Scots need to get serious and mature quickly or they could go into the bye week with a big ‘ol black eye.

HP vs Lovejoy – 7:30pm HP Homecoming 9/16/16

by Kirk Dooley
   You gotta love a team that has a middle linebacker named Bumper Pool.
   Lovejoy slips down below LBJ Freeway Friday night to open district play against the Scots at Highlander Stadium. Bumper Pool is 6’3”, 220 lbs. and is the best player on the team. Last year he made 148 tackles and forced five fumbles.lovejoy-leopards
   Can Mr. Pool and his teammates challenge the Scots? The answer is yes but the Leopards are coming off a 62-31 loss to Frisco Lone Star, which may prove to be the best 5A team in the state. How the Leopards compete against the Scots could predict the playoff future for Highland Park. Lovejoy lost to 4A powerhouse Argyle, 33-21, in the season opener but Argyle is picked to make it to the state finals for the third year in a row. Holding the Eagles to 33 and scoring 21 on them is not a bad effort in the grand scheme of things.
   Lovejoy did get a W in the second game of the season, a 21-14 win over Frisco Wakeland. It was our man Bumper who stopped a Wakeland running back in his tracks on a 4th and one from the 18 yard-line. Excellent timing for a loss on the play. Not only did that keep seven points off the board, but it gave the Leopards the ball back. In the third quarter Pool came in at quarterback and ran the ball in from the one to ice the game.
   When Lovejoy opened a few year ago, it was said to be the next Highland Park. Over the years that’s what they said about Lake Highlands, Plano West, J.J. Pearce and Rockwall Heath. Lovejoy did have a principal it hired from Highland Park and that led to a handful of teachers and coaches leaving HP for Collin County. Similar pay, similar students, affordable nearby housing and no commute made sense to several teachers, coaches and administrators who lived up near there.
   This is the first time for the Scots and the Leopards to be in the same district but they could become strong rivals. I miss the intensity of the Pearce battles in all sports and I think Lovejoy could replace that rivalry.
   The game this Friday should be a tough one for the Scots because they face a team that won eight games last season and were Area finalists. Lovejoy has a winning tradition. They are picked to make the playoffs this season and they return 10 starters. There is reason to be worry about the Leopards if the team that led Frisco Lone Star, 24-20, shows up. But the Scots might exploit the Leopard team that then allowed Lone Star to score 35 straight points after that.
   We liked John Stephen Jones’ numbers in the Timberview game last Friday. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown (to Scully Jenevein) and scored two touchdowns on runs of 20 and 24 yards. His ability to run gives the Scots an added lethal arrow in their offensive quiver.
   Last Friday one of HP’s best weapons was all-district left tackle Thomas Shelmire, who squared off against Timberview’s star defensive end, David Anenih. There was one play where Shelmire stood up Anenih and pushed him backwards all the way to the sideline. It looked like that great scene in “The Blind Side” where a Michael Oher pushed his opponent all the way down the field and over a fence.
   Shelmire enjoys wearing out defensive ends. Let’s see how much he enjoys playing bumper poolthis Friday.

HP vs Mansfield Timberview – 7:30pm kickoff at Highlander Stadium 9/9/16

by Kirk Dooley
Mansfield Timberview logo
   Last week the Scots caught a glimpse of a couple of skill players who were as good as Randy Allen has ever seen. HP fans in Waxahachie who saw Jalen Reagor catch six passes for 191 yards in the second half would agree. (By the way, has anyone seen a wide receiver in high school, college or the NFL gain 191 yards in one half? Neither have I.)
   This week the Scots get to see a couple of defensive ends who will also command attention. David Anenih and De’Andre Holloway anchor the Mansfield Timberview defense. Anenih (#7) goes 6’3”, 215 lbs. Holloway  (#47) is 6’1”, 230 lbs. They will be one of the best sets of defensive ends the Scots see this season.
   The Wolves are in district 10-5A, along with Waxahachie, Lancaster and three other Mansfield schools. That means that the Scots could face Timberview or Waxahachie in the third round of the playoffs.mansfield timberview logo 2
   Holding the Scots to 37 points normally doesn’t assure a victory, but it did last week. Timberview probably won’t score 40 points but its defense should be better than Waxahachie’s. The best way to neutralize the Wolves twin pass rushers is to throw short and quick, which is one of the top weapons in the HP wheelhouse.
   In Week One, Timberview beat a very good Everman team, 21-7, and that “7” is what jumps out. The Wolves defense forced six turnovers and that is the script that the Highland Park offense needs to study before Friday’s kickoff. Last week the Wolves lost to Frisco Lone Star, 20-14, in game that could have gone either way. The Wolves held a five-point halftime lead and the Rangers won the game by recovering a fumble in the end zone and kicking a 21-yard field goal. Lone Star, by the way is ranked second in 5A in North Texas, a position the Scots held a week ago.
   The HP players have been replaying the third quarter scenario in Waxahachie where they scored a touchdown to take a 17-point lead but a penalty nullified the play. The Indians got the ball back and Reagor immediately caught a 73-yard TD strike. Boom. It’s a three-point game. That sequence of events was not the end of the game but it helped determine the outcome of the game.
   Although the Scots go into Friday’s game without a few starters (Jack Kozmetsky, J.T. Dooley, Turner Coxe), their replacements (Jacob Urbanczyk/Paxton Alexander, Ryan Waters and Tres Page) have been impressive getting the job done when called upon.
   Very few teams have a couple of quarterbacks on the bench who could start at many schools. A good example of that is the gadget play Coach Allen called last Friday where QB John Stephen Jones lateraled the ball to Michael Clarke (who was in for one play) and he stopped and threw a 74-yard touchdown strike to Kozmetsky.
   It’s like the legendary phrase “One Riot, One Ranger” except in this case it’s “One Play, One Touchdown”.

HP at Waxahachie – 7:30pm Kickoff Friday, 9/2/16

By Kirk Dooley

I believe that Jon Kitna is building a powerhouse high school football team in Waxahachie, similar to what Sam Harrell created at Ennis a few years ago.

One of the biggest similarities is that Harrell’s sons were superstar quarterbacks in their dad’s system and Kitna’s superstar QB son was also until he went down with an injury last year. One of the biggest differences is that Waxahachie has a couple of exemplary players and Ennis had a half-dozen.

Sam Harrell told me at one point that he recruited some of his all-state receivers from the Ennis gym and talked them into playing football. Kitna is grooming the same kind of talent in WR Jalen Reagor (an Oklahoma pledge) and jack-of-all-trade talent Kenedy Snell (a TCU pledge), who will line up as a slot receiver, running back or special teams magician.

In last week’s 46-34 win over against Lakeview Centennial, the Indians used two explosive third quarter plays to alert the world what they can do. The Highland Park coaches took note and the Scots fans should also.

In the span of three minutes Reagor collected a 93-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jalen Salik and then Antywan Redic returned an interception 88 yards for another Waxahachie score. Also that night Snell scored three rushing touchdowns and the Indians came away with a 12-point win.

Meanwhile the Scots unveiled their new quarterback, junior John Stephen Jones, who was impressive in his first varsity action, completing 18 of 22 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns as HP beat a good Rockwall team, 43-21.

My favorite play of the game was in the third quarter when center JD Beverly alertly recovered a loose ball in the end zone and found himself one of the team’s leading scorers. That’s high cotton for an O-lineman.

When teams play Highland Park, there is an edge the Scots bring to the table that is hard to quantify. The players turn themselves into formidable athletes using an off-season program called Performance Course. All of them improve while some of them improve substantially. This year’s Performance Course Awards:

100 Percent Award – Zac Folts, Thomas Shelmire, Ryan Webb, Blake Bowman, Ian Raphael, Davenn Robinson, Nolan Roberts and Babe Walker

Belief Award – Babe Walker, John Stephen Jones and Luke Blanton

Leadership Award – Bennett Brock and John House

Attitude Award – Ryan Kheton and George Stewart

Consistency Award – Jack Fain and Davenn Robinson

Effort Award – Ryan Waters and Matt Gahm

Desire Award – Walker French and Cole Jackson

Star of the Year Award – John House

All of these players deserve a pat on the back for their efforts in making themselves better athletes and helping make their team better.

I’ve been around the block enough to know that this list of award winners is also a list of guys we’ll all be working for in 10 years.

HP vs Rockwall: Friday, 8/26 7:30pm Kickoff at Highlander Stadium

   It’s like the Scots never left 6A.
   With the Yellowjackets swarming in from the northeast Friday night, Highland Park opens the 2016 season with another tough 6A opponent. Seem like that’s all HP has played the past couple of years. Rockwall is picked to finished first in a district that includes perennially dangerous teams such as Longview, North Mesquite, Tyler John Tyler and Mesquite Horn. As a matter of fact, District 11-6A seems like the district the Scots just left – with HP being replaced by a couple of East Texas powerhouses.
   The Scots’ 6A run wasn’t the end of the world like some fans had predicted. After a couple of years in District 10-6A, the Scots rolled up a 20-4 record, including winning the district championship last season with an undefeated district record. Although HP didn’t make it past the second round of the playoffs the past two years, winning 20 games in two years is impressive. Anytime. Anywhere.
   Going into the 2016 season, the Scots have the most wins in the history of Texas high school football (787) … the most 10-win seasons (36) … the most district championships (48) … and the most playoff appearances (57). It’s a tradition that began more than 90 years ago and has blossomed under the leadership of Head Coach Randy Allen who, by the way, is now the fourth winningest coach in Texas high school football history.
   So with the Scots now back in 5A, the biggest difference in football will be in the playoffs. But other sports at HP will compete better with schools that are closer to the same size. (Although Allen is triple the size of Highland Park, the Scots beat them in basketball.) The 5A competition should be just about as strong as 6A but the playoff runs should be a little longer.
   The Highland Park coaches will tell you that it doesn’t matter to them who the Scots play. They’ll line up against anyone in 5A or 6A or the Big 12. While HP is not known for the quantity of Division I college players, the quality is there, starting with 1948 Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker, who legendary sportswriter Blackie Sherrod said was the best running back he had ever seen play football.
   Recent NFL players from HP include Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions), Daniel Sepulveda (Pittsburgh Steelers), Kyle Williams (Seattle Seahawks), Dave Richards (San Diego Chargers) and Anthony Schlegel (New York Jets). But the most amazing story is how quarterback Bobby Layne and running back Doak Walker led the Scots to the state semifinals in the ‘40s, then reunited in the same backfield a decade later to lead the Detroit Lions to the NFL championship.
   Doak’s son, Russ, started on the Scots’ 1977 state quarterfinalist team, and now Russ has a son who is playing on the Highland Park freshman team. So the grandson of the greatest football player in Highland Park history is carrying on a family tradition.
   Oldtimers will get misty-eyed at hearing the freshman’s name.
   Because Doak Walker is back at Highland Park.