By Kirk Dooley
In their final district road game, the Scots will head east on Interstate 30 this Friday to take on the Royse City Bulldogs. This game – and this team – should remind us of Forney. Potentially threatening but possibly over at halftime.
Highland Park will need to come out fast and strong and not let the Bulldogs think they can stay in the game. Like the Forney contest last Friday, the hope is that the HP backups will be unleashed in the second half. As you recall from a week ago, the Scots jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and pulled the starters. Christian McAnalley came in at quarterback and hit Camden Clark with a 25-yard touchdown pass in the third period to give the Scots a 35-0 lead. Not much of a dropoff from John Stephen Jones’ dazzling night of completing eight out of 10 of his passes for four touchdowns in less than one half. A lot of bench warmers got to play in the Forney game and 22 defenders were credited with at least one tackle.
To me, that was the most amazing statistic of the night.
Royse City won all three of its pre-district games – over South Garland, North Garland and Waco Connally. Reality then set in when the Bulldogs opened district play against West Mesquite and got drilled, 41-3. RC then lost a close one to Forney, 30-27, before beating Wylie East, 32-25. The last two weeks have not been kind to the Bulldogs as they found out that North Forney is for real, 67-28, and Poteet is still dangerous, 36-14. The Bulldogs now stand 4-4 for the season and 1-4 in district play.
Royse City quarterback Matthew Yelverton has passed for 743 yards and six touchdowns, but he also has suffered six interceptions. Meanwhile HP quarterback Jones has thrown for 2,121 yards and 28 touchdowns, good enough to be ranked third among area 5A quarterbacks. Like Forney’s QB, Yelverton’s top receiver is his little brother. Elijah Yelverton has caught 25 passes for 266 yards. At the same time, HP’s top receiver, Cade Saustad, a lacrosse all-American, has caught 36 passes for 746 yards, good enough to be ranked fifth among area 5A receivers. College football coaches are still crying about one of the state’s top 6’5” receivers taking his talents to a different sport. Hard to recruit against that.
My sophisticated computer analytics tells me that Royse City will score 24 points against the Scots. The Bulldogs are averaging 24.9 points per game and the Scots are allowing 24.3.
However, I think I’ll toss my computer out the window because I predict a shutout.
Last Friday the Bulldogs held Poteet running back Seth McGowan to 195 yards rushing. The only way they’ll hold Paxton Alexander and Conner Allen to a combined 195 yards is to make sure they don’t play in the second half.