by Kirk Dooley
All the Scots who suit up this Friday night have gotten some game action over the past two weeks. When HP zapped Samuell, 49-0, and then smoked Sunset, 72-0, the starters exited the games early and the reserves were given the chance to play under the Friday night lights. That makes for a happy locker room.
The talent level changes this week. The Scots face a severe test Friday night as they host the Lancaster Tigers on Senior Night and Blue Out Night at Highlander Stadium. The Tigers entered the season as a team that was picked to finish third or fourth in the district. They lost their first two games (to Duncanville, 34-0, then to South Grand Prairie, 13-7) and their game against West Mesquite was canceled the night HP beat Mesquite Horn at 12:30 a.m. in a rain storm with 18 fans in the stands.
So district play starts and everyone has written off winless Lancaster. In yet another rainstorm Lancaster faces district favorite Mansfield Legacy (without Jalen Catalon) and the Tigers pull off the upset, 21-8. Then they clobber three DISD schools by a combined score of 189-6. The real test came last week when Lancaster battled Mansfield Timberview and skinned the Wolves, 49-18.
Let me repeat. Lancaster skinned Mansfield Timberview, 49-18.
That sets up tonight’s game. The winner of tonight’s game wins the district championship.
Who is Lancaster and why are they so good? Let’s start by saying Lancaster wins state in track as often as Highland Park wins state in tennis. Like every year.
Randy Allen told me that Lancaster has Manvel speed and that sent shrivers down my spine. Of my decades of covering high school football, I’ve never seen speed like Manvel. I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, wondering if the Scots actually won the Manvel game last year.
Rod Hudson III (#6) is the Tigers quarterback and he leads the team in passing and is an excellent runner. And their running backs? Forget how many yards they’ve gained. Just focus on this: Tre Bradford (#2) averages 9.7 yards per carry, Karon Neblett (#7) averages 13.2 and DQ James (#20) averages 12.9. And their receivers? Latrell Caples (#1) averages 21.4 yards per catch and Ketron Jackson (#8) averages 34.3. These are D-I athletes who can score any time they touch the ball. All they need is one step and it’s an 85-yard touchdown.
On defense they’ve got two Prince Dorbahs: Xavier Newman (#42) and Tykino Davis (#52) who are excellent pass rushers. On special teams they’ve got punt returners and kickoff returners who are good for six points at any given moment. The Scots’ punter, Andrew Stanzel, is injured and will be replaced by kicker Wesley Winters. My advice is to kick it out of the end zone and punt it out of bounds.
The Scots have the weapons to win this game. But do they have the speed?
Both teams are 5-0 in district play. Neither has seen a team as good as their opponent this Friday.
The Scots probably won’t stop Lancaster’s big plays all night. But if they slow them down enough, that will give Chandler Morris and crew the chance to score enough points to win the district championship.
I hope you get the chance to go to this game. It should be a classic.