by Kirk Dooley
The Jesuit Rangers ride into town to battle the Highland Park Scots tonight in a match that marks the first time in 80 years that these two legendary North Dallas programs have ever played each other in a district game.
This will be the second sellout in a row for the Scots at Highlander Stadium. There is excitement in the air because these two teams are playing for the district title and it’s still just September.
Jesuit leads district 7-6A with a 3-0 record. Right behind the Rangers are HP and Irving MacArthur at 2-0.
During halftime Highland Park will honor two of its outstanding alums, Dave Richards and Jack Collins. In 1957 Collins was a running back who led the Scots to the state championship. In 1983 Richards was the first offensive lineman to be named the Parade Magazine National High School Football Player of the Year.
Collins went on to lead the Texas Longhorns to Southwest Conference championships in 1959 and 1961. In 1959 he was named all-SWC while leading the Horns in rushing, receiving, total offense and all-purpose yards.
At 6’5”, 310 lbs., Richards was an all-SWC guard at SMU his sophomore year and an all-SWC tackle his junior year. When SMU was faced with the death penalty Richards transferred to UCLA for his senior year. He was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers and spent five seasons as a starter. In 1993 he signed a three-year $5.1 million agreement to play for the Detroit Lions. He later played for the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.
Jesuit, Highland Park and Lake Highlands were pre-season favorites in district 7-6A. HP and Jesuit have both beaten Lake Highlands so now it’s a two-pony race. All three will be in the playoffs.
The Rangers have beaten Hebron (38-7), J.J. Pearce (40-13), Lake Highlands (32-31) and Irving (56-7) and were defeated by Rockwall (51-23). The key game was Lake Highlands, a close battle that ended with a Jesuit field goal with 3:10 left in the game to win it by one point. Conversely, the Scots swamped the Wildcats, 52-21.
Last week the Rangers beat Irving, 56-7. Quarterback Charlie Schmidt (#17) passed for 132 yards and a touchdown and ran for two scores, from the two and from the 40. The Jesuit running attack was led by running back Jake Musso (#7) who picked up 139 yards on just five carries. For those keeping score, that’s 27.8 yards per carry. He scored twice. The other Jesuit running back, Cameron Martin (#25), scored once and picked up 51 yards on seven carries, a more human 7.29 yards per carry.
Scots quarterback Brennan Storer (#7) has thrown for more than 1,000 yards in four games. The O-line is giving him time and his receivers are all weapons. Throw in running back Jay Cox (#5) who scored six touchdowns in the first half of his most recent game. He carried the back six times and scored TDs on five of them. Toss in a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown and we can all agree that Mr. Cox had a decent first half. He and the other starters spend the second half on the sideline cheering on their teammates.
Eleven Jesuit Rangers attended either Highland Park Middle School or Christ the King Catholic School on Colgate. This is one of those games where emotions can propel a team to play with more intensity than usual.