by Kirk Dooley
Every game in the playoffs is a big game. Every player knows that it could be his last dance.
The Scots are treating the Frisco Lone Star rematch like another weekly challenge. They have been preparing to play their best against a team that is generally considered to be the top 5A team in the state.
Let’s back up. In Week Three the Scots hosted the Rangers at Highlander Stadium. HP was ranked number one in the state and Lone Star was ranked fourth.
The Scots kicked off to the Rangers and Marvin Mims returned the kick 54 yards to the HP 45-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage sophomore quarterback Garret Rangel hit Mims for a 45 yard touchdown. Boom! That was the first of 24 unanswered points the Rangers scored on the Scots in the first half. The HP defense had a nice goal-line stand, holding the Rangers scoreless after a first and goal from the four. And the HP offense moved the ball but turnovers kept them off the scoreboard.
In the second half the Scots settled down, scoring 19 points and holding Lone Star to two field goals. But the 24-0 deficit was too much to overcome and the Rangers won 30-19, taking the state’s number one 5A ranking away from the Scots and keeping it for themselves ever since.
Watching HP’s biggest playoff games over the past three years, I’ve been amazed at how the Scots can dig deep and find a gear nobody knew they had. Much of it is coaching. HP goes into a big game they’re picked to lose and they find a way to win. That’s the emotion you’ll see the day after Thanksgiving, only 10 times more.
I think this game is the biggest game for Highland Park in the past several years. Unlike the Denton Ryan, Temple, Manvel and Shadow Creek games, the Scots are playing a team that beat them earlier this season. There’s a score to settle and the HP players be rabid like we haven’t seen this season.
I do think it is important to note that the Rangers have never seen Hunter Heath or Drew Scott or Will Gibson play. The Scots are playing on all cylinders right now and relish the chance to fight as underdogs. Something magic happens when the Scots are picked to lose.
Coach Allen and his staff know how big, fast, strong and athletic Lone Star is on offense and defense. Highland Park will have to play its best game of the season to advance. It may take 50 points to win this game but whatever it takes, I believe the Scots will find a way.