Friday, September 26, 2014; 7:30pm Kickoff at Mesquite Hanby Stadium
Over the next five weeks, the Scots will play more games in Mesquite Hanby Stadium than their own Highlander Stadium. Highland Park travels east to play the North Mesquite Stallions this Friday, Sept. 26 … the Mesquite Horn Jaguars on Oct. 10 … and the Mesquite Skeeters on Oct. 24.
Hanby, on the campus of Mesquite High School, is the old stadium in town. It is more intimate and has more tradition than the newer, bigger and fancier Mesquite Memorial Stadium, where the Scots got used to playing West Mesquite and Poteet. Hanby was built in 1956 and holds 11,950 fans. Memorial, built in 1977, is next to the West Mesquite campus. It has a capacity of 20,000 and is a good playoff stadium for the Scots, except when it is late November and a Blue Norther blows in. There is nothing to block the wind and a wintery mix in a stiff wind can be devastating. HP fans have ice cycles dripping from their stadium blankets.
I remember going to a freezing-cold playoff game at Mesquite Memorial a few years ago. I was late, arriving in middle of the first period and as I walked in, there was a stream of football fans already leaving the game. In the first period! It was that miserable.
As the Scots prepare for their first 2014 trek to Hanby Stadium, they need to be thinking about how to stop the Stallions’ sophomore quarterback, Ja’quez Gooch. In his first game as a starter, Gooch picked up 141 yards on 12 caries (11.75 yards per carry) and ran for touchdowns of 63, 10 and 17 yards. In last week’s 41-20 win over South Garland, Gooch ran for 109 yards (10.9 yards per carry) and completed 11 of 13 passes for 119 yards. When Gooch isn’t using his 4.5 speed to make big plays, his running back Dreshawn Minnieweather is putting ups close to 100 yards per game.
The Stallions beat Naaman Forest in the season opener, 30-24, even though NF had more first downs and more total yards. Big plays, like DeKeddrick Henderson’s 65-yard fumble return, were the difference in the game. Arlington Sam Houston beat NM by two points in the second game, 12-10, even though Sam outgained NM 371 total yards to 198. The Stallions racked up 108 penalty yards on 11 flags. In their most recent game against North Garland, the Stallions jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the second quarter and I think that’s the team that will take the field against the Scots.
HP is 3-0 going into district play. The Scots have defeated Frisco Centennial and Prosper by a combined score of 101-0, and they beat the team that should have punted some, 48-42.
Campbell Brooks and Kevin Ken have already combined for 28 receptions for 536 yards and seven touchdowns, with Andrew Frost and Sam Welfelt each catching nine passes for a combined 285 yards. Quarterback Brooks Burgin has completed 52 of 77 passes (68 percent) for 844 yards and eight touchdowns. Stephen Dieb has run 35 times for 203 yards and four TDs. The Scots defense has pitched two shutouts.
The stats look good. But 6A begins this Friday. The Stallions will be the first of many new big school challenges for the Scots, who are prepared for – and anxious to – meet those challenges.