by Kirk Dooley
It’s Homecoming weekend at Highland Park as the Scots host the Nimitz Vikings at Highlander Stadium. Both teams come into the game on winning streaks but aside from that, they are not similar at all. The Vikings’ winning streak stands at one after they won their first game of the season last week in an exciting 30-25 win over the Irving Tigers. The HP winning streak stands at six and the undefeated Scots are state-ranked as they barrel towards the playoffs.
The Vikings’ win last week against Irving was a thriller. The Tigers kicked a field goal with 2:11 left in the game to take a 25-24 lead. With Nimitz then facing a fourth and 14 play on its final drive, quarterback Pedro Maldonado hit Christopher Hernandez with a shocking 59-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds left. It took a Nimitz interception to ice the game, 30-25.
On September 15 the Scots also defeated the Tigers. But the score of that game was 63-0.
In the Vikings first four district games, they have allowed an average of 55 points per game. It is a young team, probably the youngest the Scots have seen in several years. There are 40 players on the Vikings roster and half are sophomores and freshmen.
For the Highland Park players, the HPHS student body and the Park Cities community, this has been a tough couple of weeks. On Saturday, Oct. 1 senior cheerleader Grace Scheipe was critically injured in an auto accident and remains in the ICU at Parkland Hospital. Her struggle has united the entire community. A prayer vigil held on the field at Highlander Stadium drew more than 1,000 students and community members.
Then on Sunday, Oct. 2, Dan Lyke, the father of Highlander Band president George Lyke, died suddenly while walking his dog at a local dog park. Dan Lyke was a very popular band dad and his passing has stunned the band community. At his standing-room-only funeral mass this past Monday, George and his brother Henry both gave eulogies which were heartfelt, articulate and wonderful legacies for their father.
Like the Highlander Band, the HP cheerleaders and the Scots football team, the entire Park Cities community holds the Scheipe family and the Lyke family in their thoughts and prayers.
With that as a backdrop, this Friday’s game and Homecoming festivities will be a reminder of what is important in life.
Coach Randy Allen and the other HP coaches share the concern their players have. Their job is to use that emotion to keep focused when they take the field Friday night. The Scots did a good job against Berkner last Thursday and they hope to keep up their focus this Friday. Winning the game and going 7-0 for the season are the Scots’ goals. They also want to work on improving and building up depth by having back-ups see significant game action.