District championship on the line at Lancaster

by Kirk Dooley

click reference For months the Highland Park Scots have circled Friday, November 1 on their calendars. That would be the day the proverbial rubber would meet the proverbial road.
And here we are.
Going into this season, HP and Lancaster were predicted to battle each other for the district championship. Although the road has not been especially challenging for either team, this Friday is when the competition gets serious and the district title is literally on the line.
As badly as the Scots have beaten their district foes, the Tigers have equalled those lopsided scores. Where we have a big difference is that the only team that can spook either the Tigers or the Scots – Mansfield Timberview – lost to Lancaster last week, 33-10, the only normal score so far in district 6-5A Div. I. The Scots host the Wolves next Friday in the district finale.
Going into this Friday’s game in Lancaster, the Tigers have the opportunity to win the district title by beating the Scots. They would secure the number one seed in the playoffs in the event of a tie for the district crown. If the Scots beat Lancaster and Timberview loses Friday, then HP wins the district title.
Highland Park, Lancaster and Timberview have all secured playoff spots and they are the only 6-5A teams with winning records. The fourth playoff spot is very competitive and there is a chance of a five-way tie for that position, although Sunset would have to win its final two games for that to happen.
Lancaster is led by shifty running back Tre Bradford, who has run for 682 yards on 59 carries and 13 touchdowns. He averages 11.5 yards every time he touches the ball. He’s a first down machine. Receiver La’Trell Caples is a legitimate threat with 434 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Glenn Rice, Jr. has thrown for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns to eight different receivers.
They are all fast. All quick. All athletic. The Scots defense will need to keep pressure on Rice and keep Bradford from turning the corner. The Tigers will be tough to slow down but they – like the Scots – are used to being up by 30 points and so being down by 14 could get in their heads.
This will be Lancaster’s Super Bowl. The players, coaches and fans will be rabid to dethrone Highland Park. The Scots have been down this road and now is the time to flex their muscles. Instead of feeling guilty about scoring 60 points, HP may need to score 60 points if they wind up in a track meet against Lancaster.
My advice: Slow the Tigers down, don’t try to race them.
I’m optimistic because the chains finally come off for the Scots on Friday. They will need to go hard for all four quarters and I think they are ready for their first 48-minute explosion since Sept. 13.
The Tigers are fast but Scots find a way.