by Kirk Dooley
With Waxahachie and two Mansfield football teams already dispatched by the Scots this season, Highland Park now faces the Big Kahuna of district 10-5A – the Lake Ridge Eagles.
The Scots knocked Mansfield Summit out of Ford Stadium last Friday night, 52-20. Earlier in the season HP beat two other 10-5A teams, Waxahachie (32-21) and Mansfield Timberview (34-32). But Lake Ridge is the district champion and will provide the Scots with their most significant playoff challenge. The Eagles have the added incentive of avenging the 41-27 loss to the Scots last season which knocked them out of the playoffs.
Highland Park and Lake Ridge are both coming in with 12-game winning streaks after both teams lost their opening games to 6A opponents. Both teams are ranked. Both come from competitive districts. Both are used to winning. Coach Randy Allen compares this year’s Lake Ridge team to last year’s Mansfield Legacy team, which lost a nerve-racking defensive battle to the Scots, 14-7, in last year’s quarterfinals. That game featured one of the most crucial defensive plays in HP football history when defensive back George Stewart knocked a pass away from the waiting hands of a Legacy receiver in the end zone on Legacy’s last play of the game. Without that big play, there goes your state championship.
Lake Ridge returns its starting quarterback, Jason Bean (#16), who can run and pass. The Eagles also have another quarterback, Chandler Rogers (#4) who can also beat you with his arm or his legs. They have two dynamic running backs, Dewone Jackson (#11) and Cartraven Walker (#10), who run behind an NFL-size offensive line. Example: Their tackles are 6’4”, 325 lbs. (Will Ready #79) and 6’7”, 305 lbs. (Blake Lodes #72). Last Friday Walker gained 250 yards on 23 carries and scored four touchdowns. Number 10 is the guy to stop Friday and force the Eagles to use their other weapons. Which they will.
The Scots are coming off their most complete game of the season and their most inspired defensive performance, featuring three interceptions and one fumble recovery. Mr. Touchdown, Finn Corwin, is now averaging three touchdowns per game at SMU’s Ford Stadium. The HP offense has proven to be unstoppable so far, but Coach Allen is braced for a low-scoring game Friday.
Will the explosive Scots skill players be slowed down by Lake Ridge’s speed and athleticism?
The way I look at it, if the SMU end zone wall can’t stop Cade Saustad, nothing can.