Mansfield Legacy at HP this Friday Night

by Kirk Dooley Blog

Last year your local back-to-back state champions were picked to finish second in district 6-5A DI.
Rival Mansfield Legacy was predicted to win the district championship and some sportswriters prognosticated that the Broncos would go all the way and win the state title. Highland Park was good but the Scots were basically a statistical afterthought. Runners-up at best.
Legacy was led by a wizard quarterback/safety named Jalen Catalon who was a mixture of Michael Vick, RG3, Kyler Murray and Jett Duffey (who led Mansfield Lake Ridge to the state finals in 2015). Catalon had led his team to the 5A DII state semifinals in 2017 while the Scots were winning their second ring. But in the first game last year tragedy struck early. Catalon suffered a catastrophic knee injury and lost for the season. The proud Broncos fought all season but didn’t have the leader to take them to the promised land. When the Scots played them at Vernon Newsome Stadium, HP drowned the Broncos, 28-7, in a bizarre downpour. Drew Scott scored the first touchdown in that game.
It’s different this year. The 4-1 Scots host the 0-5 Broncos in front of a Highlander Stadium homecoming crowd. On paper the Scots should dominate. The offense is averaging 64 points per game in district and the defense has not allowed a point. Coach Randy Allen has his team approaching this game like any other. He knows that Legacy has a proud history. They have the athletes. They have the coaching. They have playoff experience and they have pride. Like the Scots, the Broncos have had some key injuries and like the Scots, they are getting some of their top players back. Plus they’ve had two weeks to prepare for the Scots.
Lurking down the road for HP are state-ranked Lancaster (Nov. 1) and area ranked Timberview (Nov. 8) to give the Scots some true playoff-like challenges. But every game in district counts so there’s no need to look ahead. Especially this Friday.
While the Scots looked good with Drew Scott and Hunter Heath back from injuries, I was despondent over David Sherer being knocked out of the Bryan Adams game. He had just caught a Brayden Schager third-quarter pass and scampered 16 yards for a touchdown and it was the most dazzling run I’ve seen this year. Who was this guy?! I loved watching him dart through the secondary. A few minutes later he was laying on the sideline with a broken collar bone, out for the season. That’s truly a tough break.
This Friday at halftime of the homecoming game the school will be presented with the 2018 Lone Star Cup. And Coach Randy Allen will be honored for becoming the third winningest coach in Texas high school football history.
If you enjoy watching Scots football and you like history, it all comes together this Friday.
I’ll leave you with a trivia question. During halftime one of the 1969 HP captains, Paul Flowers, will be introduced. What special gifts does he have in common with Coach Randy Allen?

HP vs Woodrow at Hillcrest HS

by Kirk Dooley

Some people think that it’s a trick that the Scots play Woodrow Wilson this Friday at Hillcrest High School.
The fear is that the HP players, coaches, band, cheerleaders, Belles and fans show up at Franklin Stadium on the Hillcrest campus only to find that Woodrow is winning the game by forfeit at different stadium.
But it is no scheme. Each of the DISD stadiums belong to all the schools even if some stadiums stand proudly on certain school campuses. There was a time when the Scots did not play on the HP campus. Does anyone remember when Highland Park games were held at SMU while the new Highlander Stadium was being built?
This Friday’s game is the only away game in your lifetime to which you could easily ride your bicycle. As a matter of fact, Franklin Stadium in half a mile closer to HPISD’s new Boone Elementary School than  Highlander Stadium.
Woodrow is a proud school with a great tradition and loyal alums. And it produces elite athletes. It is the only public high school in the nation to boast two Heisman Trophy winners. While the Scots were winning state in 2005, Woodrow had the best football player in Texas. His name is Sergio Kindle. He was the only player in Texas to be first team all-state on offense and defense.  A running back, he gained 5,627 yards and scored 86 touchdowns. As a linebacker he was named a Parade Magazine all-American and was a finalist for Player of the Year. He also started at center on the Wildcats’ basketball team and ran the 400m in track.
In other words, he was the Prince Dorbah of his era.
While playing for the Texas Longhorns Kindle was the first player ever to be a finalist for both the Butkus Award (best linebacker in the nation) and the Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end in the nation).
This Friday the Wildcats come into the game 0-4 for the first time since 1999. They lost 45-17 to Frisco, 43-28 to Frisco Heritage, 21-18 to Wylie East and 50-14 to Mansfield Timberview. The Wildcats are led by quarterback Sam Fennegan who has thrown for 573 yards, and running backs Evan Blackmon, Jack Wilkenson and Matthew Jackson. The most electrifying skill player is Mileek Gipson, who caught a 47-yard TD pass at the end of the second quarter of the Wylie East game to give the Wildcats a 15-14 halftime lead.
Once again, Woodrow is one of the better DISD schools in our district, and they have the nucleus to challenge the Scots if the Scots don’t have their heads in the game.
Last Friday quite a few HP backups got some serious playing time. Quarterback Brayden Schager hit WR David Sherer with at 16-yard TD strike at the end of the third quarter and Sherer danced into the end zone in one of the most impressive touchdowns of the season. Unfortunately, Sherer was injured later in the game.
Starting QB Chandler Morris completed 16 of 19 passes for 353 yards and five touchdowns.
In the first half!
WR Ben Smith was a Dallas News Player of the Week finalist as he caught eight passes for 215 yards and three TDs, also in one half.
Woodrow has a wide receiver named Ben Smith on its roster. Be careful. It could be a trick.

 

HP vs Bryan Adams Tonight

by Kirk Dooley

The Scots are still one of the best 5A teams in the state.
But.
They got knocked off their throne last Friday night at Highlander Stadium by a Frisco Lone Star team that now sits upon that throne – and deservedly so. With the state’s longest winning streak (33) coming to an end, the number-one ranking now out the window and the Scots’ first home loss to a Texas school in the Randy Allen era (21 years) the Highland Park football team now comes back down to Earth.
But let’s stop a moment and review. To win 33 games in a row means a team had to win at least two straight state championships and this program has won three. To put that into perspective, the storied Highland Park football program won exactly one state championship between 1946 and 2004. Those in AP Math can tell us that we’re talking about more than half a century. Then here comes these new high-voltage Scots who have won three in a row. What would legendary 1940s running back Doak Walker think?
Well I’m sure he’s up in that Highlander Stadium in the sky bragging to his buddies in heaven that his grandson is the starting at running back for the Scots this week. Original Doak – who several sportswriters said was the best running back to ever play football – never won a state championship but grandson Doak has.
The number one ranking in the AP state poll? The Scots won three state titles and were never ranked number one during those seasons. Being the underdog has served this locker room well.
The home record is the most amazing of recent HP superlatives. With last week’s loss, the Scots now stand at 102-2 at home during the Randy Allen/Grayson Wells regime. A big reason this coaching staff is so successful is that the coaches emphasize getting better every week. And their teams do. The quarterfinals Scots will be a totally different team that the pre-district Scots. That’s why my money is still on the coach’s son.
Bryan Adams stands in the way of HP being undefeated in district play after game one. The Cougars come into the contest with a one-game winning streak after beating Fort Worth Southwest last week, 12-0. They won one game last season so they already have a better start. BA quarterback Amari Jones (#7) has thrown for 42 yards this season compared to Chandler Morris and his 990 yards. Top BA receiver Diaron Carey (#1) has 27 yards receiving while Ben Smith leads the Scots with 319.
The Cougars have two good defensive linemen to keep an eye on. Tackle Chimeremeze Nwanju (#44) and end Semaj Kimbrough (8) are plenty talented. Safety James Murphy (#9) and linebacker Antoine Murphy (#5) each had an interception last week. Antoine also had a TD in the first game when he returned a fumble 83 yards for a score.
Highland Park has 111 more players on its roster than Bryan Adams, 148 to 37. Counting only juniors and seniors, the Scots have 146 compared to the Cougars’ 24. Of course, each team can play only 11 at a time.
If the Scots take care of business, quite a few reserves will be able to play this Friday. And they can be key parts of their team kick-starting another home winning streak.

Frisco Lone Star Plays HP Friday the 13th

by Kirk Dooley

When HP quarterback Chandler Morris led his team to a tight victory over Frisco Lone Star last year, Garret Rangel was a mere freshman at Lone Star. Fast forward 12 months and Morris will go head-to-head with Rangel in a classic Texas football battle between the state’s first- and fourth-ranked 5A teams.
Rangel, like Rockwall’s Braedyn Locke, is a sophomore quarterback who plays like a college senior. Rangel is averaging 410 yards per game passing and he is blessed with one of the best high school receivers in our great nation. Marvin Mims, who will be playing for Stanford next year, is averaging 239 yards per game. Coach Randy Allen says Mims reminds him of Rockwall’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Allen would rather not be reminded of him. Smith-Njigba and his 311 yards scorched HP’s secondary in the season opener.
Right now the Dallas area’s leading 6A quarterback is Locke and the leading 6A receiver is Jaxon-Njigba. The leading 5A quarterback is Rangel and the leading 5A receiver is Mims. What they have in common is an opponent named Highland Park, the state’s top-ranked 5A team.
Last year HP and LS rolled into this game with big wins and big expectations. With one second left in the game the score was 7-7, not 66-59. Both defenses stepped up and stole the stage from two hyper-successful offenses. What will happen this year’s game? The Rangers are averaging 65 points per game and I predict they will finish below their average. I further predict that a last-second field goal won’t win the game.
I would take Chandler Morris and his merry band of receivers led by Case Savage and Ben Smith over the Rockwall and Lone Star superstars because with Morris, Savage and Smith comes the rest of the Highland Park Scots. The offensive line, their brothers on defense, the coaches, the tradition, the quest for excellence, a zillion teammates, a kick-ass drum line and the best drill team this side of New York City.
Coach Randy Allen has won 394 games in his career, tying him for the third most wins in Texas high school football history. The Scots have won more games than any school in the state. Right now the Scots are riding a 33-game win streak, the longest in Texas. Two weeks ago Morris broke the Highland Park QB records for yards in a game and total offense in a game. Think about the HP quarterbacks who have come before him – Bobby Layne, Matthew Stafford, Lance McIlhenny, John Stollenwerck, Scott Smith, John Stephen Jones, Casey Clyce, Sam Gibbons, the Webb brothers, Marshall Smith, Bill Foran, Luke Woodley, the Burgin brothers and many others. None have personally accounted for 664 yards in a game. Until now.
But Morris isn’t thinking about breaking records, Each week he is thinking about leading his team to victory. With that said, Friday’s Lone Star game will be the biggest game of his life.
My money is on the coach’s son.

Scots at Mesquite Horn for Game 2

by Kirk Dooley Blog

The Scots will line up against their old friends, the Mesquite Horn Jaguars, Friday at Hanby Stadium in Mesquite. The former district rivals still maintain a deep respect for each other although one lives in the 6A world and the other in 5A.
Both Horn and Rockwall are in the same district (11-6A) along with Longview, which ran the table last season won the 6A Div. II state title with a 16-0 record.
Last weekend Horn took a road trip to Tyler’s Christus Trinity Mother Francis Rose Stadium – home of the Scots’ 2005 state championship win over Marshall, 59-0 – and challenged the Tyler John Tyler Lions, ranked sixth in the state.
Remember them?
Their most recent loss had been in the state quarterfinals last season to the Highland Park Scots. In that game the Lions had built up a 35-14 lead going into the fourth quarter and were celebrating on the sidelines when they awoke a sleeping giant. With 10:18 left in the game our man Chandler Morris began one of the most magical quarters in Highland Park football history. When the dust had cleared the Scots had scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win the game, 42-35.
Last Friday the Horn Jaguars made several big plays to upset John Tyler, 39-17. That’s two losses in a row.
Here’s how Horn did it and here’s what the Scots need to prepare for:
Quarterback Davazea Gabriel hit Charles Crawford III with a 52-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring. Last year Crawford started for Bishop Lynch, where he ran for 1,785 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. A few minutes later N’Kowsi Emory returned a kickoff 96 yards for another Jaguar TD. Towards the end of the game the Jaguars held the Lions on a fourth-down play on the eight-yard line. On the next play Crawford ran 92 yards for another Horn touchdown. The Jaguars score 90-yard touchdowns as often as we eat at Goff’s.
The Jaguars didn’t sneak up on the Lions, they dominated them in their home stadium where one can still sense the ghost of Matthew Stafford.
Horn is for real. Last year they lost their first seven games then righted their ship and went three games deep in the playoffs. It was the best turnaround in the state last year.
Charles Crawford III, the former Friar, is the guy to stop. N’Kowsi Emory is the guy to kick away from.
Last week we said keep an eye on Rockwall sophomore Alex Orji. That was hard to do because he had transfered to Bishop Dunne and is now starting for the Falcons. The plot thickens because Jaden Hullaby had just transfered from Bishop Dunne to Mansfield Timberview. Last week he totaled 217 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolves, and so we’ll talk about him in early November when Timberview visits Highlander Stadium.