HP vs Richardson Eagles: Kirk Dooley’s Blog

The Richardson Eagles soar into Highlander Stadium tonight for the final district game of the season. The Scots are already in the playoffs, probably facing Irving Nimitz next weekend. But Richardson must win this game to make the playoffs. Therein lies tonight’s drama. Win and they’re in. Lose and their season is over, something that will sink in during a long bus ride back to Belt Line Road.

Richardson Eagles 2 helmets

Can the Eagles beat the Scots? Yes. If HP looks past a worthy opponent, especially one with playoff urgency, the Scots can lose their home winning streak.

But that’s what the HP coaches are drilling into these guys. Don’t look past this game. Be prepared. Execute. If the Scots play the game they way they are capable, a lot of backups will get to play in the second half.

I think back to 2008, the Rockwall Heath game at Wilkinson Stadium when Hawks beat the Scots in an overtime nail-biter, 38-31. A running back named Kendial Lawrence put the team on his back and carried the ball 39 times for 365 yards and five touchdowns (70 yards, 44, 24, 18 and 1). He gained 226 of those yards after halftime.

It was the most impressive running performance I had ever seen in person. Nobody could stop the guy. On paper, he beat the Scots by himself. In reality there were 10 Hawks who went on to play Division 1 football the next year. Mickey Moss’ team was loaded with college talent.

When my research reveals a player coming into Highlander Stadium who puts up impressive numbers, I cringe, thinking he might be the second coming of Kendial Lawrence. That thought recently crossed my mind when I saw how Richardson junior Kahlil Lacy caught an 87-yard touchdown strike to win last week’s game against Mesquite. And the week before, the Eagles beat the Berkner Rams by three, in a game where Lacy had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Kahlil Lacy is no Kendial Lawrence. The only thing they have in common is that their first names are frequently misspelled. But Lacy comes into Highlander Stadium with the speed and electricity to go all the way whenever he touches the ball. Although Eagles running back Daevon Woods (#21) will probably cause the Scots more headaches than Lacy, we should all keep an eye on number 12.

Especially when he needs about 90 yards to score.

HP vs Richardson Berkner: Kirk Dooley’s Blog

It’s scary playing football on Halloween night.

Highland Park takes its 4-1 district record on the road to face the 0-5 Berkner Rams this Friday and there’s nothing scarier than playing a team that has not won a district game. Knocking off Highland Park would salvage the season for the Rams and it could happen if the Scots are looking past Berkner and are thinking about where they’ll go trick-or-treating after the game.berkner-rams-helmet2

The Rams opened the season by knocking off South Garland, 55-27, and Naaman Forest, 45-27. Averaging 50 points per game was a good start but it’s been downhill for the Rams ever since. Poteet popped Berkner 45-14 in the final pre-district game. This season 10-6A has been unkind to the Rams. Lake Highlands beat them, 37-22, before Horn beat the Rams by 50 points, 62-12. North Mesquite beat Berkner by six, Mesquite scalped them, 28-7, then last weekend Richardson won the battle for last place in a 27-24 squeaker.

That leaves Berkner with a 2-6 record for the season and 0-5 in district. The best this team can hope for is to beat both Highland Park this week and J.J. Pearce next week, and even if they do they’ll still finish in last place. Tonight’s battle against Berkner will take place at Lake Highlands. Go figure.

The Rams are led by quarterback Davis Steelman, who has completed 104 of 198 passes for 1,288 yards and nine touchdowns. He has also given up seven interceptions and gained 285 yards on the ground. His favorite target is Isaiah Betters who has caught 36 passes for 527 yards and six TDs. The top Berkner runner is CaDarius Edwards who has gained 845 yards, averaging six yards per carry. He also has two capital letters in his first name, so he’s someone to pay attention to. Also keep in mind that kicker Tanner Lange is deadly when he’s inside the 40. Few high school teams can boast that.

In last week’s Richardson game, Berkner churned up 443 yards in total offense but lost by a field goal. They actually played well enough to win but Kahlil Lacy’s 98-yard kickoff return for a Richardson Eagle touchdown in the first quarter was the actual difference in the game. One special teams play. The Scots will get to face Lacy and his bunch next Friday.

This week the Scots have the challenge of not being lulled to sleep by the Rams’ winless district record. Berkner cannot make the playoffs even if they pull off the upset, so that takes away a big incentive. A handful of HP sophomores are being pulled up to Varsity and they may get a chance to play on Halloween. I don’t know if that’s scary for the sophomores or for the Rams.

We’ll find out tonight.

HP vs Mesquite: Kirk Dooley’s Blog

It’s back to Hanby Stadium for the Scots on a perfect Texas high school football night. This week’s Mesquite host will be the original Mesquite Skeeters, a team that has been a rival of Highland Park’s since Mesquite was a dusty little farm town lost somewhere between Dallas and Shreveport. mesquite skeeters helmet

Today that farming community is a major Dallas suburb that dwarfs the Park Cities in population and has five large high schools. Part of the school district lies inside of the LBJ Freeway loop, so it’s not considered far away anymore.

Last year the Skeeters snuck into the playoffs with a 3-3 district record before they were eliminated by Sachse in a razor-thin close game. This year’s version of the Skeeters is 2-5 but have playoff potential with a 2-2 district record. Last week Mesquite used a 21-point fourth quarter to put away Richardson Berkner, 28-7.

But two weeks ago the fireworks were flying when the Skeeters battled a red-hot Richardson Pearce team. The Mustangs prevailed but it was exciting. With three minutes left in the game Skeeters quarterback Dazmon Scott hit wide receiver Jordan Rider with a 91-yard touchdown pass to tightened the score to 45-41. But the Mustangs held the ball on their final drive and scored at the end of the game to win, 52-41. Both teams combined for 1,256 yards of total offense along with 64 first downs. It was a track meet. In that game, Pearce quarterback Hank Hughes completed 32 of 41 passes for 498 yards and four touchdowns. Not a bad day at the office. He also ran 22 times for 97 yards. The Skeeters allowed Pearce receiver Jake Griffin to grab 17 passes for 269 yards. Conversely, the Scots defense managed to keep a lid on Griffin.

Mesquite is battling for a playoff spot so its players will be desperate for a win. To do that they’ll need their tandem quarterbacks – Anthony Tennison and Scott – to be on target. The Skeeters’ top two receivers are Chance Fisher (90 receptions for 607 yards and six TDs) and Scott, who has caught 34 passes for 286 yards and five touchdowns, presumably when he was not playing quarterback.mequite skeeter emblem

On paper, Mesquite will not be as challenging as the two other Hanby hosts, but they have beaten Berkner and Lake Highlands over the past three weeks. So this is no time for the Scots to look past their opponent. To have a 2-2 district record puts the Skeeters on the playoff bubble, and as we’ve seen over the years, anything can happen when high school football players pull together with a quest to make the playoffs.

They won’t be Horn, but they could be a thorn.