Friday’s district battle between the Scots and the Tyler Lions will have an elephant in the stadium. While the big playoff game against the Lions was two year ago, it will be a major factor in this week’s game in Tyler. At least in the minds of the players, coaches and fans.
In the 2018 state quarterfinals the Scots faced the Lions at the Star in Frisco. Tyler (then called John Tyler) controlled the first three quarters and led 35-14 going into the final period.
The great back-to-back state champions were about to be knocked out of the playoffs for the first time in three years. Some Scots fans were leaving the stadium, thinking the game – and the season – were both over.
When the HP players saw the Tyler players dancing and celebrating their big upset victory, something clicked and the Scots suddenly became laser-focused on salvaging their pride. And they had the personnel to dig out of the hole, including sophomore linebacker Patrick Turner, who had six tackles in the game.
HP quarterback Chandler Morris (now the Oklahoma Sooners’ third-team QB as a true freshman) led his team to one of the most magical quarters in HP football history. Down 21 points, Morris hit Benner Page with a six-yard TD, tightening the score to 35-21. DB Hudson Clark (now an Arkansas Razorback star) stopped the Lions with his second interception of the night. That play electrified the Scots. Morris and his big O-line marched down and scored on a 28-yard TD pass to Bennett Brown.
35-28 with 8:18 left.
The Scots defense stopped the next Tyler drive and the HP offense responded by marching down to the 14 before Morris ran it in himself to tie the score with 3:25 left in the game.
Again, the HP defense held and the Scots offense was given the chance to win the game. An incredible 45-yard pass from Morris to Finn Corwin (who went on to become an Oklahoma Sooner) looked like a TD but the officials ruled him out on the one-yard line. So with nine seconds left Morris scored from the one-yard line to give the Scots a cardiac 42-35 win for the ages and set up their third state championship in a row.
So that brings us to Tyler this Friday. The Lions are 2-4 for the season and 2-1 in district. A win by the Lions would give them a tie for the district lead. In other words, they are very motivated and they also believe they have score to settle from 2018. Beware of high school players with deep emotions.
Tyler QB Ken’Yontae Pinkard (#2) has thrown for 780 yards and run for 209. QB Eli Sanchez (#4) has passed for 377 yards. Top receiver Makavion Potts (#1) is also a dangerous kick returner. On defense Trevion Ates (#7) is averaging 11.7 tackles per game and leads the team in interceptions and tackles for loss.
Nobody wants to beat the Scots more than Tyler. The Scots will need a quick start like they did last week. The last time the Scots beat the Lions it led to a state championship. It’s too early to think about that now but Tyler will learn this Friday that Brayden Schager is the new Chandler Morris and Patrick Turner is the new Patrick Turner.