HP vs MIDWAY: Kirk Dooley’s Blog

As the Battle of Midway approaches, the Highland Park football team is preparing for the Game of Year with its 11-0 opponents from the suburbs of Waco.Waco-Midway-football-helmet

The Midway Panthers are on the same level as Denton Guyer, Aledo and Mesquite Horn – superlative teams that the Scots have challenged over the past couple of years and teams that can go all the way this year.

Of course, so can the Scots.

On paper, the Panthers have it all – a great quarterback, excellent running back, D1 receivers and an offensive line that is bigger than some colleges. But as good as the Midway offense is, it is no better than this year’s Highland Park offense. The Scots match up at quarterback, running back, offensive line and receivers. The Panthers’ star 6’3” receiver, Devontre Stricklin, may be better than any individual the Scots have, but HP’s four starting receivers are better than Midway’s top four.

Defense? I think this is where the Scots can have the edge. Midway has all-state Lenoy Jones, Jr. at middle linebacker and two outstanding safeties – Marcus Johnson and Kahlil Haughton (who are both excellent kick returners). But as a group the Panther defense has given up 23.8 points per game, which is unusual for a team that rocks an 11-0 record. The Midway offense averages 47.5 points per game and so the team has been outscoring everyone. In their four-game pre-district run, the Panthers won by 8, 10, 7 and 6 points. Two of those teams, Lake Travis and Mansfield Timberview are both 10-1 and still alive in the playoffs. In the only district game where Midway faced a team with a winning record, they beat Copperas Cove, 66-54.

If the Scots put up 54 points, they will win this game. Period.

More than any game HP has played this season, the speed of outside linebackers Hayden Schnieders and Mitchell Kaufman will help determine the outcome of the game. I think the Scots’ defensive line (Danny Gouskos, Nick Waterman and Micheal Thornton) and the inside linebackers (Michael Linehan and Matthew White) will clog up the middle and put the pressure on the OLBs and secondary (Carter McDade, Stephen Briggs, Benji Walzel and Boomer Bakich). These guys seem to thrive on pressure and welcome the challenge. The guys who played last year remember how they outplayed Guyer in the semifinals and were 55 seconds away from beating an unbeatable team.Midway Blue M Panthers outlined color

The HP defense is giving up 12.8 points per game. Midway is averaging 47.5. The Scots defense, if it is firing on all cylinders, will get in the heads of the Midway players when they realize these Dallas guys can stop them and force them to punt.

The Dallas Morning News picks Midway to win, 42-31. I think Highland Park wins the game by that same score, as the Scots defense holds Midway to 16 points below its average. The Panthers won’t see it coming. They are pumped to play Lake Travis next week and, as it’ll turn out, they won’t be playing next week.

BEFORE THE KICKOFF: HP vs Midway

BEFORE THE KICKOFF: HP vs Midway

The Battle of Midway begins tonight and after the smoke clears, the victor will live to battle another week.

midway panther logoMidway is one of the strongest teams in the state this season. The Panthers are 11-0 and are ranked 13th in the AP state 6A rankings. MaxPreps ranks them 6th in Texas and 44th in the nation.

While the Panthers had only one challenge in their district race, their pre-district performance was impressive. In the first game, Midway knocked off Lake Travis, 38-30, then beat Mansfield (24-14), Mansfield Timberview (41-34) and Duncanville (42-36). Both Lake Travis and Timberview are now 10-1, are state ranked and are still alive in the playoffs.

“We’ll need to raise our level of play in order to compete with Midway,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We expect this to be a tough game but we’ll be prepared.”

On offense, the Panthers return six starters from last year’s 9-3 area finalist. Quarterback Ben Hicks (#8, 6-2, 195) threw for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior last year. This season he has completed 182 of 261 passes for 2,816 yards and 25 TDs.

Midway’s top receiver, Devontre Stricklin (#2, 6-3, 160) has caught 51 passes for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns. He won’t have to go far to play college football. He has committed to Baylor. The Scots secondary will need to watch a couple other Panther wide receivers. Joseph Ward (#9, 5-10, 170) has caught 38 passes for 559 yards and eight TDs while R.J. Rangel (#11, 5-10, 200) has caught 22 passes for 364 yards and one touchdown.

Running back Eric Clayburn (#29, 6-0, 180) will be tough to bring down. He has already picked up 1,385 yards on 205 carries, scoring 17 touchdowns on the ground.

But the secret behind this prolific offense is the college-size offensive line that the Panthers have. They average just under 300 lbs. each and give Hicks plenty of time to find Stricklin.

Scoring? The Panthers average 47.5 points per game and hold opponents to 23.8.

midway football-headerLast week Midway faced Tyler Lee in the first round of the playoffs. Lee received the kickoff. On the first play from scrimmage, Marcus Johnson (#27, 5-10, 170) intercepted a Lee pass. On the second play, Hicks hit Stricklin with a touchdown pass. And it went downhill from there for Lee. Midway scored four times in the first 14 plays and led 41-7 at the end of the first quarter, then 62-14 at halftime. The Panthers scored on all of their possessions en route to a 76-47 win.

But perhaps the most impressive win for the Panthers was in the battle for the district 12-6A title. The only other team in the district with a winning record was Copperas Cove and the two teams lit up the scoreboard as Midway won, 66-54. The two teams combined for 1, 286 in total yards (591 yards rushing and 695 passing) and 65 first downs.

The good news is that the Scots should be able to move the ball on the Panthers. The bad news is that Midway has a very potent offense. The Panthers have many weapons and they are all lethal. But the Scots boast one of the most brutal defenses in the Dallas area, holding teams to an average of 12.8 points per game – the best 6A effort in the Greater Dallas area right now.

This major battle – the Midway offense against the HP defense – should determine who advances. “To win this game we’ll need to focus on limiting turnovers, making explosive plays, third-down conversions and field position in the kicking game,” said Allen.

The Scots eliminated 5-5 Irving Nimitz last Friday, 49-17, in a game that was close in the first half (21-17). The Vikings had the ball and the momentum at the beginning of the second half when HP’s own personal Pick-6-Machine, Mitchell Kaufman (#10, 6-3, 225) grabbed a Viking pass out of the sky and sprinted 38 yards for a touchdown that changed the momentum of the game.

“We never looked back after that play,” said Coach Allen. “Mitchell really has a knack for knowing where the ball is being thrown. He’s got good hands, good agility and can jump, but his ability to make plays like that comes from his reading the quarterback’s eyes and watching film to study offensive tendencies.”

Scots quarterback Brooks Burgin (#5, 6-2, 190) threw for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the Nimitz win, giving him 3,000 passing yards for the season.

The game tonight is being played in Midlothian, which is 32 miles from Highland Park and 85 miles from Waco. The winner of this match will advance to play the winner of Lake Travis and Spring. As many Texas high school coaches are fond of saying,

“There are no turkeys in the playoffs after Thanksgiving.”

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP: HP vs Midway

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP: HP vs Midway

Highland Park Scots

Offense

WR 3 Andrew Frost

WR 2 Campbell Brooks

LT 55 Jack Sides

LG 76 Rees LeMay

C 50 Clayton Woods

RG 60 Josh Leachman

RT 78 Austin Webb

WR 17 Kevin Ken

WR 9 Sam Welfelt

RB 34 Stephen Dieb

QB 5 Brooks Burgin

Defense

DE 95 Michael Thornton

NG 94 Daniel Gouskos

DE 44 Nick Waterman

OLB 40 Hayden Schnieders

OLB 10 Mitchell Kaufman

ILB 35 Michael Linehan

ILB 49 Matthew White

CB 31 Benjamin Walzel

CB 6 Carter McDade

SS 11 Boomer Bakich

FS 4 Stephen Briggs

 

K 98 Grayson Borrego

K 99 David Wiggs

DS 50 Clayton Woods

P 10 Mitchell Kaufman

 

Waco Midway Panthers

Offense

WR 2 Devontre Stricklin

WR 11 RJ Rangel

LT 67 Layne Clendenin

LG 62 D’undre Brown

C 64 Andy Mills

RG 72 Eusebio Esquivel

RT 73 Antonio Dalessio

WR 9 Joseph Ward

WR 7 Treston Womack

RB 29 Eric Clayburn

QB 8 Ben Hicks

Defense

DE 6 Jace Hawkins

NG 35 Cameron Mills

DE 37 Josh Turner

OLB 45 Logan Paschal

ILB 18 Lenoy Jones, Jr.

ILB 53 Landon Jones

OLB 14 Brenndan Johnson

CB 5 Christian Davis

CB 4 Keith Henson

S 27 Marcus Johnson

S 15 Kahlil Haughton

 

K 1 Jackson Smith

ROSTER: WACO MIDWAY PANTHERS

ROSTER: WACO MIDWAY PANTHERS

midway football-headerNo. Name Position Height Weight Class

1 Jackson Smith K 5’10” 155 11

2 Devontre Stricklin WR 6’3″ 170 12

3 Erick Torres WR 5’6″ 145 12

3 Andrew Sober QB 6’2″ 160 11

4 Keith Henson DB 5’9″ 145 12

5 Christian Davis DB 6’0″ 160 11

5 Colton Lewellen DB 5’11” 145 11

6 Jace Hawkins DL 6’1″ 195 12

7 Treston Womack RB 5’7″ 155 11

8 Ben Hicks QB 6’3″ 200 12

9 Joseph Ward WR 5’9″ 150 11

10 Earnest Landrum DB 6’0″ 160 12

10 Meet Naik QB 6’0″ 160 11

11 RJ Rangel TE 5’11” 195 12

11 Josh McKerall QB 6’2″ 165 11

12 Sam Glaesmann QB 6’4″ 185 11

13 Jake Graham TE 6’2″ 165 11

14 Brenndan Johnson LB 5’11” 170 12

15 Kahlil Haughton DB 6’2″ 180 12

16 Artez Rhymer WR 5’11” 165 11

17 De’Eric Alexander LB 5’8″ 150 11

18 Lenoy Jones Jr. LB 6’1″ 215 12

19 Toby Jowers LB 5’10” 185 12

20 Chris Jones DB 5’6″ 160 12

21 Desmond Lacy DB 6’2″ 175 12

21 Garrett Jones TE 5’10” 150 11

22 Ger’Markee Satterwhite RB 5’10” 170 10

22 Jaylan Moss RB 5’11” 170 11

23 Tyriek Williamson LB 5’10” 170 10

23 Granger Crow LB 6’0″ 155 11

24 Tyris Pullen RB 5’8″ 155 12

25 Antwonie Betters WR 6’4″ 185 12

25 Hunter Williamson DB 5’9″ 160 10

26 Larry Parks LB 5’11” 175 11

27 Marcus Johnson DB 5’10” 170 12

28 Stieler Harris DB 6’3″ 180 11

29 Eric Clayburn RB 6’0″ 180 11

30 Gillen Graves LB 5’8″ 180 11

30 Greg White WR 5’8″ 150 11

31 Brian McGee DB 5’8″ 140 11

31 Malik Collins RB 5’8″ 160 9

32 Sam Richards QB/LB 6’0″ 185 11

32 Nick Hickman WR 5’4″ 130 11

33 AJ Head LB 5’9″ 200 11

33 Chase Fortenberry RB 5’7″ 140 11

34 Korey Chatman RB 5’6″ 185 11

34 LaMarcus Yannis LB 5’10” 180 11

35 Camron Mills DB 5’10” 150 12

36 Casen Renfro RB 5’8″ 165 12

37 Josh Turner DL 6’1″ 220 12

38 Dae-Dae Walker DB 5’9″ 150 11

39 Nick Lucas DB 5’9″ 150 11

40 Mundhir Hamad DB 5’10” 165 12

40 Chance Sweet LB 5’10” 160 11

41 Jack Gary RB 5’9″ 165 9

41 Malik Toussaint DB 6’1″ 145 11

42 Dan Butler K 5’10” 150 11

43 Tanner Mordecai QB/DB 6’1″ 175 9

43 Skylar Weaver DB 5’9″ 165 11

44 Wade Liescheski DL 6’1″ 180 11

45 Logan Paschal DL 6’2″ 200 12

46 Garrett Young DB 5’11” 155 12

47 Javen Ritcherson DB 5’7″ 135 11

48 Nathan Ash DB 6’1″ 155 12

49 Elijah Espinoza LB 5’10” 180 11

50 Riley Aguilar OL 6’2″ 270 11

51 Ryan Cook OL 6’0″ 225 12

52 Jackson Webb DL 6’1″ 185 11

53 Landon Jones LB 5’11” 190 11

54 Chandler Chick OL 6’0″ 210 12

55 Jon Ladner DL 6’2″ 245 12

56 Alexander Hill DL 6’0″ 190 11

57 Nick Sheldon OL 6’2″ 245 11

58 Cole Howard DL 5’10” 225 11

59 Miguel Anderson LB 5’8″ 165 11

60 Antonio Dalessio DL 5’11” 175 11

60 Zach Molina LB 5’8″ 150 11

61 Evan Mock OL 5’11” 200 11

62 D’Undre Brown OL 6’0″ 315 12

63 Macky Fox OL 6’0″ 225 11

64 Andy Mills OL 6’0″ 250 12

65 Andrew Gochis OL 5’9″ 170 11

66 Jay Bartz OL 5’11” 185 11

67 Layne Clendenin OL 6’2″ 260 12

68 Dylan Moore OL 5’11” 190 11

69 Reece Anderson OL 5’10” 190 11

70 Matthew Wallace OL 6’4″ 305 11

71 Bertin Young OL 5’6″ 225 11

71 Seth Snyder DL 5’9″ 220 11

72 Eusebio Esquivel OL 6’5″ 335 12

73 MJ Morris OL 6’2″ 275 12

74 Clay Lester OL 5’9″ 180 12

75 Matin Dawood OL 5’11” 215 11

76 Dalton Hays OL 6’0″ 305 12

77 Logan Nordhausen OL 6’0″ 190 11

78 Austin LeBeuf OL 6’4″ 235 11

79 Jarrod Griffin OL 5’11” 380 12

80 Jordan Brooks WR 5’10” 155 12

81 Cristion Gonzales RB 5’10” 150 11

82 Allen Stroud WR 5’9″ 135 11

83 Bryce Johnigan WR 5’10” 155 11

84 David Ash WR 6’1″ 150 12

85 Miles Langerman WR 6’0″ 155 11

86 Matt Shillinglaw WR 5’9″ 150 11

87 Teddy Brister TE 6’1″ 160 11

88 Ryan Dean DB 5’6″ 120 12

89 Conner Adair WR 5’9″ 140 11

90 Garrett Byford TE 5’10” 190 12

91 Zach Haverly DL 6’1″ 200 11

92 Jer-Markise Haynes DL 5’8″ 220 11

93 Clint Biarnesen TE 5’9″ 210 12

94 Adrian Cox LB 5’10” 180 12

95 Bryce Anderson DL 6’0″ 200 11

97 Devin Green DL 5’9″ 210 11

98 Michael Sulak LB 6’0″ 185 10

99 Anthony Flowers DL 6’1″ 235 11

COACHES AND ADMIN: WACO MIDWAY PANTHERS

COACHES AND ADMIN: WACO MIDWAY PANTHERS

Superintendent

Dr. George Kazanas

 

Principal

Jeff Gasaway

 

Athletic Director

Randy Weisinger

 

Head Coach

Terry Gambill

 

Assistant Coaches

Shane Anderson

Derek Alford

Dustin Davisson

Jessie Fanning

Cody Gambill

Brad Griffin

Lenoy Jones

Bryan Kelley

Dustin Loyd

Dustin Sykora

Ed Trochim

Lance Wineinger

Mark Villarreal

 

Athletic Trainer

Chad McCune

Chen-Wen Lee

 

Cheerleader

Sponsors

Cindy Gambill

Katie Kelley

 

Colors

Red and Blue

Kirk Dooley’s Blog: HP vs Irving Nimitz

It is easy to dismiss a 5-5 playoff opponent and the Highland Park coaches know that. With Murder’s Row waiting for tonight’s victor, the biggest mistake the Scots can make is to look ahead.

vikings Nimitz black and silver logo big

“We’ve lost in the first round before,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “It can be the hardest playoff game because once you start competing in the playoffs, the games become more intense. Teams can be flat. I think our players will be ready because they are playing for their first trophy. They are not satisfied. They need to continue to improve and that will be their ticket in the playoffs.”

If the Scots beat Nimitz, they will earn the right to challenge Waco Midway, then Lake Travis. Rockwall and Spring Westfield could be lurking in the future. No matter who it is, each team will be extremely tough.

“It will be like playing Guyer or Horn every week,” said Allen. “I think this year Division II has many of the better teams.”

There won’t be any 5-5 teams after Nimitz. But the Scots have not beaten them yet, so it’s a moot point until tonight’s game is over.

The Vikings are led by quarterback Jimmy Clark, who has completed l28 of 193 passes for 2,016 yards and 21 touchdowns. His 66.32 percentage is a tad better than Brady Burgin’s and Clark has been picked off only three times this season.

Wait until he meets Stephen Briggs. He also got three interceptions.

Last week.

Clark’s biggest threat is WR Sam Berry, who is averaging 29 yards per catch this season. The other two receivers to watch are D’Angelo Allen (42 catches for 583 yards) and Michael Scott (21 receptions for 289 yards). Running back Mark Eugene has run 123 times for 873 yards, a 7.1 average. He and Berry have eight touchdowns each.

On defense, focus on the two outside linebackers, a couple of 6’5” clones named Delonte Scott and Michael Scott. Michael is also the Dez-Bryant-looking wide receiver. The Scots must be ready for the Scotts.

Highland Park is playing its best football of the season. The momentum is there because the playoffs are here. They must focus and take care of business against Nimitz tonight.

Assuming the Scots survive this first round game, everything changes next week.

My prediction? Highland Park 49 – Nimitz 28.

Consider it a tune-up for Midway. Next weekend the Scots will face their greatest challenge of the season and they will be ready for it. Midway will be 11-0 but they haven’t played Highland Park yet.

HP vs Irving Nimitz: Before the Kickoff

Before the Kickoff

 

Highland Park vs. Irving Nimitz Don’t let Nimitz’s 5-5 record fool you. Any team in the playoffs can get hot and take down a 9-1 or 10-0 team. Every Texas high school team that makes the playoffs can be dangerous.

Nimitz_Viking

For the 9-1 Scots, the danger is looking past the Vikings. Out in the future lie challenges like Midway, Lake Travis, Rockwall, Cedar Hill and Southlake Carroll – if the Scots stay alive in the playoffs. Thinking about these 6A powerhouses now is a recipe for a 5-5 team to surprise the Scots and send them home early.

 

Highland Park is playing as good as one would hope at this juncture in the season. The Scots have dominated on both sides of the ball in their nine wins and they’ll need to continue that level of play if there’s going to be a 10th win.

 

Quarterback Brooks Burgin (#5, 6-2, 190) is coming off one of his most impressive performances as the Scots shut out the Richardson Eagles, 43-0, last Friday. He

completed 20 of 25 passes (80 percent) for 441 yards and six touchdowns.

 

It was also a banner night for the Scots wide receivers. Kevin Ken (#17, 6-0, 170) caught six passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns of 49 and nine yards. Andrew Frost (#3, 6-0, 180) caught four passes for 103 yards and two scores. Campbell Brooks (#2, 6-0, 175) hauled in six passes for 100 yards and one TD. Sam Welfelt (#9, 6-2, 180) had two catches for 64 yards, including a 52-yard TD reception on the final play of the third quarter. Running back Stephen Dieb (#34, 5-7, 145) caught two passes for 53 yards and picked up 40 yards on the ground.

 

The Scots offense rolled up 510 yards in total offense – 66 on the ground and 444 in the air. On the other side of the ball, the Scots defense pitched its fourth shutout of the season, limiting the Eagles to 161 yards – 117 on the ground and 44 in the air.

 

“It was Senior Night at Highlander Stadium and we were able to honor our seniors on a memorable night,” said Scots coach Randy Allen. “Our defense got another shutout and Brooks had one of his best nights. All of our seniors played in the game. With a 9-1 record we go into the playoffs with some momentum.”

 

The defense was led by Players of the Week Hayden Schnieders (#40, 5-10, 195), Michael Thornton (#95, 6-2, 215) and Nick Waterman (#44, 6-2, 217) – and Stephen Briggs (#4, 6-0, 175) who pulled down three interceptions. He looked like his uncle, John Briggs (former HP and SMU basketball star) rebounding a trio of Richardson passes out of the sky.

 

What should Scots fans look for tonight?

 

Highland Park needs to take away the Vikings’ biggest success, QB Jimmy Clark’s deep passes to wide receiver Sam Berry. Clark has passed for more than 2,000 yards and has a similar completion percentage to Burgin – 66.32 to 65.4 – and has tossed only three interceptions this season. He can also run. Clark has 577 yards on the ground, with four more TDs.

 

Clark’s most dangerous receiver is Berry, who has caught 22 passes for 640 yards, a 29.1 yards average. Eight of his 22 receptions have gone for touchdowns. He had two TD catches in the fourth quarter against MacArthur last Friday.

 

But if teams double up on Berry, then D’Angelo Allen and Michael Scott can burn them. They have combined for 872 yards and nine TDs. Last week D’Angelo scored on an 86-yard Clark bomb.

 

The leading Viking running threat is Mark Eugene, who has rushed for 873 yards on 123 carries for eight touchdowns.

 

The Nimitz defense is strong but inconsistent. They shut out Haltom, 45-0 but have given up more than 50 points to Keller Timber Creek, Skyline and Jesuit.

 

The Scots should be concerned with the Scotts.

 

The Vikings have two brothers, Michael and Delonte Scott, who are 6’5″ outside linebackers with speed, size and agility. Michael also plays wide receiver. If you run or throw away from one of them, you will heading right to the other. Together, they control much of the field. Linebacker Noah Spears is a strong player as is nose guard Joseph Mitchell.

 

“We think we’re still improving,” said Allen. “We’re not satisfied yet but we’re getting better. This will be our first chance to win a trophy this season and that’s a motivation for our players.

 

“We’ve lost in the first round before and it hurts. Every game in the playoffs is intense and a team can be flat. That’s why it’s so important to focus on the game at hand.

 

“The biggest difference between 5A and 6A is the playoffs. In the 6A playoffs it’s like playing Guyer or Horn every game. And I think many of the better 6A teams are in Division II this year.”

 

The winner of tonight’s bi-district contest will advance to play the winner of the Waco Midway–Tyler Lee game.

HP vs Irving Nimitz: Probable Starting Lineups

Highland Park Scots

 

Offense

WR 3 Andrew Frost

WR 2 Campbell Brooks

LT 55 Jack Sides

LG 76 Rees LeMay

C 50 Clayton Woods

RG 60 Josh Leachman

RT 78 Austin Webb

WR 17 Kevin Ken

WR 9 Sam Welfelt

RB 34 Stephen Dieb

QB 5 Brooks Burgin

 

Defense

DE 95 Michael Thornton

NG 94 Daniel Gouskos

DE 44 Nick Waterman

OLB 40 Hayden Schnieders

OLB 10 Mitchell Kaufman

ILB 35 Michael Linehan

ILB 49 Matthew White

CB 31 Benjamin Walzel

CB 6 Carter McDade

SS 11 Boomer Bakich

FS 4 Stephen Briggs

K 98 Grayson Borrego

K 99 David Wiggs

DS 50 Clayton Woods

P 10 Mitchell Kaufman

 

 

Irving Nimitz Vikings

 

Offense

WR 17 D’Angelo Allen

WR 1 Michael Scott

11 James Rodriguez

LT 52 Chris Garduno

LG 77 Luis Ortega

C 55 Franklin Rosales

RG 63 Brian Garcia

RT 70 Willi Joya

WR 3 Jerod Velasquez

WR 16 Sam Berry

RB 21 Mark Eugene

QB 2 Jimmy Clark

 

Defense

DE 51 Stephen Yarbrough

NG 36 Joseph Mitchell

DE 42 Jared Kennedy

OLB 2 Delontae Scott

ILB 9 Noah Spears

ILB 34 David Gloeckner

OLB 1 Michael Scott

CB 6 Jared Jenkins

CB 14 Dermonty Brewer

S 8 Joe Pena

S 28 Michael Perez

 

K 45 Bryan Minero