by Kirk Dooley
When Coach Randy Allen scattered mousetraps throughout the Scots locker room last week, the players either thought there was a rodent problem or they thought their coach was losing it.
As it turned out, there were no mice and Coach Allen was simply a genius.
When he called the team together he talked about their opponent, Mansfield Timberview, who the Scots had beaten 42-7 three weeks before in their final district contest. It is human nature for one to assume one can defeat an opponent one thrashed 23 days before. It is very difficult to keep football players focused and hungry when in they assume that all they have to do it show up and they’ll win.
“It’s a trap,” warned Coach Allen.
He talked to them about how Timberview had improved and was playing with confidence. They had upset their first two playoff opponents, both good teams. Their star running back, Stacy Sneed, was averaging 200 yards per game in the playoffs. The Scots had to stay focused. They had to avoid the trap.
On the third play of the game Chandler Morris hit Finnegan Corwin for a 61-yard touchdown. Three drives later the Scots were up, 24-0. Just before the end of the first quarter Corwin returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown and HP led, 31-0. The Mansfield team’s confidence was already shaken and they were ready to get on the bus and go back home.
While the offense was putting up points – 38 at half time and 52 after three quarters – the defense shut down the Wolves and forced five turnovers. Sneed finished the night with 29 yards on eight carries.
That same hunger will be imperative as the Scots face a stronger, bigger, faster John Tyler team on Saturday. The fact that John Tyler beat the snot out of a very good Frisco Lone Star team means that the Lions are peaking at the right time, just like the Scots.
They have several players who are a heartbeat away from six points at any given moment from anywhere on the field. Stopping the big plays will be the key for the Scots, who are getting pretty good at containing skill players who are faster. HP defenders must continue doing a good job of getting off their blocks.
Much of the Lions’ success against Lone Star was taking away the Rangers’ top receiver and harassing a good quarterback into completing only two out of 12 passes for the night.
Will that strategy work against Highland Park? When they double-team Corwin, the Scots have a stable of excellent receivers ready to take up the slack. And I’ll take Chandler Morris over any QB in the state.
John Tyler averaged 5.36 yards per carry on the ground in their win last week. The Scots will need to whittle that number down. The Lions’ quarterback, Devlen Woods, is a good passer and runner who is very slippery. His scrambling could be the difference in the game. The Scots have three giant mouse traps – Jack Jurgovan, Jeremy Hanes and Prince Dorbah – who could be the difference in the game if they can set a trap for him in the backfield.