Probable Starting Lineups

HP vs J.J. Pearce

J.J. Pearce Mustangs

 

Offense

WR 6 Jake Griffin

WR 4 Ryan Hart

LT 57 Sam Davis

LG 71 Kenneth Lawrence

C 53 Alec Harmon

RG 78 Patrick Mulvihill

RT 65 Andrew Arnold

WR 9 Reese Svetgoff

WR 12 Connor Rennick

RB 27 Jake Hercamp

QB 11 Hank Hughes

K 18 Spencer Lange

 

Defense

DE 41 Arrian Curry

DT 92 Kasra Karimi

DT 90 Keevron Williams

DE 62 Ryan Cafiero

LB 38 Travis Barnett

LB 47 Kaleb Gillenwater

LB 8 Dominic Reyes

CB 23 Max Beckum

CB 24 Matt Lane

S 45 Rob Kuhne

S 39 Dakota Pearle

 

Highland Park Scots

 

Offense

WR 3 Andrew Frost

WR 2 Campbell Brooks

LT 55 Jack Sides

LG 76 Rees LeMay

C 50 Clayton Woods

RG 60 Josh Leachman

RT 78 Austin Webb

WR 17 Kevin Ken

WR 9 Sam Welfelt

RB 34 Stephen Dieb

QB 5 Brooks Burgin

 

Defense

DE 95 Michael Thornton

NG 94 Daniel Gouskos

DE 44 Nick Waterman

OLB 40 Hayden Schnieders

OLB 32 Zach Snelling

41 Josh Block

ILB 35 Michael Linehan

ILB 49 Matthew White

CB 31 Benjamin Walzel

CB 6 Carter McDade

SS 11 Boomer Bakich

FS 4 Stephen Briggs

K 98 Grayson Borrego

DS 50 Clayton Woods

P 14 Kyle Burnett

Highland Park vs J.J. Pearce

Friday, October 3, 2014; 7:30pm Kickoff at Highlander Stadium

As the J.J. Pearce Mustangs ride into town for its first 6A battle with the Highland Park Scots, the red, white and blue ponies are glad to see a familiar face in the UIL big boys club. The Scots are also glad to reunite with their former district rivals. The two schools, with similar student bodies, similar sports traditions and similar quest for excellence, are both glad they didn’t stumble into district 6-6A (like McKinney did two years ago). That district includes four of the largest 10 schools in the state: Allen (5,987 students), Plano (5,395), Plano West (5,531) and Plano East (5,300).

Highland Park (2,106) is the smallest 6A school and Pearce (2,177) is close. They are both happy to be in a district with nearby Richardson and Mesquite schools, with whom they have been district rivals – off and on – for decades.
While the Scots have dominated the Mustangs in football, Pearce fans can hang their hats on that one brief, shining moment when Pearce beat Highland Park in double overtime in 2001. What is incredible is that HP’s loss at Eagle-Mustang Stadium that year has been one of only two district losses since Randy Allen arrived at HP in 1999. (That’s an incredible feat. Maybe Allen, Plano, Plano West and Plano East are the ones thrilled that the Scots didn’t join their private club.)
The Scots are playing well. Quarterback Brooks Burgin is the polished, talented and experienced signal caller the coaches created in a QB lab in the basement of HPHS. His offensive line is experienced and strong. No team can concentrate on the Scots’ top wide receiver because there are half a dozen of them. The defense has pitched two shutouts and held a good North Mesquite offense to one touchdown. And that was without Mr. Pick 6 himself, Mitchell Kaufman, a defensive leader who has been sidelined with a back injury. Last week Michael Linehan led the team with 17 tackles (including nine solo).
The Scots are 4-0 going into this game while the Mustangs are struggling at 1-3. Pearce has a major threat in Hank Hughes, who is 6’2”, runs a 4.6 and can line up anywhere on the field and be dominant. He is set to start at quarterback so watch for number 11 making plays with his legs and his arm. Pearce also has one of the top wide receivers in the area, Jake Griffin, who has caught 22 passes for 261 yards. The likely scenario will be Hughes to Griffin passes. If Griffin is covered, look for Hughes to run.
The Scots do need to get out of bed before the second quarter. The slow starts could haunt this team tonight or next week against Horn.
I asked my voodoo friend what the final score will be Friday night and he just smiled and said, “Don’t let it go into overtime.”

Highland Park vs North Mesquite

Friday, September 26, 2014; 7:30pm Kickoff at Mesquite Hanby Stadium

Over the next five weeks, the Scots will play more games in Mesquite Hanby Stadium than their own Highlander Stadium. Highland Park travels east to play the North Mesquite Stallions this Friday, Sept. 26 … the Mesquite Horn Jaguars on Oct. 10 … and the Mesquite Skeeters on Oct. 24.
Hanby, on the campus of Mesquite High School, is the old stadium in town. It is more intimate and has more tradition than the newer, bigger and fancier Mesquite Memorial Stadium, where the Scots got used to playing West Mesquite and Poteet. Hanby was built in 1956 and holds 11,950 fans. Memorial, built in 1977, is next to the West Mesquite campus. It has a capacity of 20,000 and is a good playoff stadium for the Scots, except when it is late November and a Blue Norther blows in. There is nothing to block the wind and a wintery mix in a stiff wind can be devastating. HP fans have ice cycles dripping from their stadium blankets.

I remember going to a freezing-cold playoff game at Mesquite Memorial a few years ago. I was late, arriving in middle of the first period and as I walked in, there was a stream of football fans already leaving the game. In the first period! It was that miserable.

As the Scots prepare for their first 2014 trek to Hanby Stadium, they need to be thinking about how to stop the Stallions’ sophomore quarterback, Ja’quez Gooch. In his first game as a starter, Gooch picked up 141 yards on 12 caries (11.75 yards per carry) and ran for touchdowns of 63, 10 and 17 yards. In last week’s 41-20 win over South Garland, Gooch ran for 109 yards (10.9 yards per carry) and completed 11 of 13 passes for 119 yards. When Gooch isn’t using his 4.5 speed to make big plays, his running back Dreshawn Minnieweather is putting ups close to 100 yards per game.

The Stallions beat Naaman Forest in the season opener, 30-24, even though NF had more first downs and more total yards. Big plays, like DeKeddrick Henderson’s 65-yard fumble return, were the difference in the game. Arlington Sam Houston beat NM by two points in the second game, 12-10, even though Sam outgained NM 371 total yards to 198. The Stallions racked up 108 penalty yards on 11 flags. In their most recent game against North Garland, the Stallions jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the second quarter and I think that’s the team that will take the field against the Scots.

HP is 3-0 going into district play. The Scots have defeated Frisco Centennial and Prosper by a combined score of 101-0, and they beat the team that should have punted some, 48-42.

Campbell Brooks and Kevin Ken have already combined for 28 receptions for 536 yards and seven touchdowns, with Andrew Frost and Sam Welfelt each catching nine passes for a combined 285 yards. Quarterback Brooks Burgin has completed 52 of 77 passes (68 percent) for 844 yards and eight touchdowns. Stephen Dieb has run 35 times for 203 yards and four TDs. The Scots defense has pitched two shutouts.

The stats look good. But 6A begins this Friday. The Stallions will be the first of many new big school challenges for the Scots, who are prepared for – and anxious to – meet those challenges.

Before the Kickoff

HP vs J.J. Pearce

October 3, 2014

jj pearce mustangs logoAn old rivalry renews tonight as the Highland Park Scots and J.J.

Pearce Mustangs battle for the first time as 6A warriors.

Reunited in District 10-6A, the two schools are known for the

similarities in their sports teams, student bodies and winning traditions.

While the Scots lead the Mustangs in wins on the gridiron,

nobody can forget the 2001 double-overtime thriller in

Richardson when Pearce handed HP one of its only two district

losses during the Randy Allen era, dating back to 1999.

“Our games with Pearce are always emotional,”

said Allen. “They were excited

when we joined their 10-6A district. Their

school is in close proximity to ours and our

kids know their kids. This game renews an

old rivalry.”

This is a rebuilding year for the Mustangs.

They are coming off a 5-6 season in 2013

where they squeaked into the playoffs. This

season they come into Highlander Stadium

with a 1-3 record. Pearce has been defeated

by McKinney, 26-22, McKinney North,

54-16, and Richardson, 48-30. In Week 2

the Mustangs beat South Garland, 49-42.

In last week’s contest against the Richardson Eagles, Pearce used

two quarterbacks, Hank Hughes (#11) and Austin Noland (#7).

Hughes completed 11 of 21 passes for 117 yards while Noland

connected on 10 of 14 passes for 75 yards. The top three wide

receivers are Jake Griffin (#6) with 22 receptions for 261 yards,

Hughes with 10 receptions for 143 yards and Ryan Hart (#4) with

six catches for 122 yards.

The Mustangs have three runners with over 100 yards. Hughes

leads the team with 197 yards on 39 carries while Jake Hercamp

(#27) has 118 yards on 20 carries and Alex Silva (#22) has gained

112 yards on 23 carries. The number to remember is that each of

these Mustangs is averaging more than five yards per carry.

The Scots will try to keep Hughes bottled up wherever he lines

up and keep Griffin from nabbing too many passes.

A potent Highland Park offense that is averaging 44.5 points per

game will face a Pearce defense that is allowing 42.5. Conversely, a

Scots defense that is allowing 13 points per game will square off

against a Mustang offense that averaging 29.

In last Friday’s 29-9 win over North Mesquite, the Scots started

slow, falling behind 9-0 in the second quarter. The spirited

Stallions defense bottled up the Scots, keep them from a first down

until midway through the second quarter. Then HP quarterback

Brooks Burgin (#5, 6-2, 189) hit wide receiver Andrew Frost (#3,

6-0, 180) with a 24-yard touchdown strike to allow the Scots to go

into halftime with a small 9-7 deficit.

During halftime the Scots players made adjustments and decided

that they’d like to play more efficiently. The second half Scots

looked like a new team. The offense scored 22 points while the

swarming defense shut out the Stallions, allowing them only 48

total yards in the second half. The game ended after HP’s 29 unanswered

points propelled them into the new

world of 6A football.

“We need to start faster,” said Allen.

“North Mesquite was emotional and they

executed well. We were a little stale after

our open date. Once we got in sync we

were able to score 29 points and hold

them. We played a good team and got our

first 6A win. We won the fourth quarter.

Our defense was consistent throughout the

game and our offense showed signs of running

the ball well. Our kicking game was

solid all night and we had two play-action

passes for touchdowns.”

Running back Stephen Dieb (#34, 5-7, 145) made some NM

defenders think he was 6’3″ and 240 lbs. as he ran over, ran

around and ran through several Stallions en route to a 140-yard

game. Dieb averaged more than eight yards per carry.

Burgin finished the night completing 12 of 27 passes for 175

yards and three touchdowns. Frost caught three passes for 89

yards and two TDs, Kevin Ken (#17, 6-0, 170) grabbed six passes

for 57 yards and one touchdown.

Linebacker Michael Linehan (#35, 6-1, 230) had a monster

game against North Mesquite, with 17 tackles (nine of which were

solo) and earning The Dallas Morning News Defensive Player of

the Week honorable mention. Hayden Schnieders (#40, 5-10,

195) had 14 tackles, Matthew White (#49, 6-2, 205) had 12,

Danny Gouskos (#94, 5-9, 210) had nine, Nick Waterman (#44,

6-2, 217) had eight while Benji Walzel (#31, 5-10, 170) and Zach

Snelling (#32, 6-0, 205) each had seven.

Injured linebacker Mitchell Kaufman (#10, 6-3, 225) is expected

to rest again tonight. In his place the Scots will continue to play

Snelling and Josh Block (#41, 5-10, 180).

 

HP vs Prosper
September 12, 2014

The Prosper Eagles soar into Highland Stadium for the first time
to battle the Scots, who boast an 80-game home winning streak.
That streak looked vulnerable last Friday with five and half minutes
left in the first half against Pulaski Academy of Little Rock.
The Bruins had just scored to go up 28-14, testing the Scots, the
coaching staff and the jam-packed home crowd.
A minute later the Scots offense reached into its own quiver of
electricity and pulled out a lightening bolt as scatback Stephen
Dieb (#34, 5-7, 145) scored on a nine-yard
run to tighten the score, to 28-21.
Then lightening stuck again 20 seconds
later as linebacker Mitchell “Pick Six”
Kaufman (#10, 6-3, 225) stepped in front of
a Pulaski pass and returned it 33 yards to tie
the contest and change the complexion of
the battle. It was a game-changing play.
With the momentum dramatically shifted
in Highland Park’s favor, the defense smothered
Pulaski’s fourth down attempt on its
own 32-yard line and then it took quarterback
Brooks Burgin (#5, 6-2, 189) two
plays to put the Scots ahead at halftime. He hit Sam Welfelt (#9,
6-2, 180) with a 22-yard strike, then Dieb ran it in from the
10-yard line with 2:32 remaining in the half.
That third lightening bolt put HP ahead 35-28. The Scots had
scored 21 points in less than two minutes and never trailed again.
In the third quarter the Scots defense stopped the Bruins again
on a fourth down attempt at the Pulaski 30-yard line. (Maybe it’s a
good idea to punt sometimes.) Burgin hit Andrew Frost (#3, 6-0,
180) with two strikes for 21 yards, Dieb picked up two more then
Burgin ran it in from the seven, giving the Scots a 42-28 cushion.
In the fourth quarter Dieb scored his third touchdown to put the
Scots up, 48-28. The Bruins came back strong at the end of the
game, scoring twice and tightening the score to 48-42 but the HP
kickoff return team warriors recovered the Bruins’ final onside
kick … as they had done with every onside kick all night, giving
the HP offense nice field position throughout the entire game.
“Our ability to get the onside kicks was important,” said HP
head coach Randy Allen . “Our defense got better as the game
went on. We scored 34 unanswered points and had a seven-point
halftime lead, which was important. I think that Mitchell
Kaufman’s interception return for a touchdown was important.
“Pulaski was as good or better than we had thought. They had
solid blocking and good players at skill positions. Their quarterback
was good and their team is used to winning. I think it is
important that we didn’t play our best game and still beat a good
team. Their offense ran 93 plays – 60 is normal – so our defense
was on the field a lot. We had players cramping but they were
never demoralized. I give them credit for adjusting to the fourthdown
plays and finding a way to win. It was an exciting game and
we came out healthy and came out with a win. Plus we were
exposed to some new formations and schemes. We’ll be better prepared
next season when we play them.”
Tonight the Scots face Prosper, which
beat Birdville, 41-20, and lost to Justin
Northwest, 42-19. The Eagles were 3-7 last
season after graduating star quarterback
Davis Webb (Texas Tech) and receiver
Torii Hunter (Notre Dame), who had led
Prosper to gridiron glory.
“Prosper is good offensively,” said Allen.
“They’ve got a running back (Robert
Mahone ) who ran a kickoff back 90 yards
for a touchdown against Justin Northwest.
Their quarterback (Colton Hepp ) wears
number 90. He’s a good passer and good runner. Prosper has a lot
of pride and good school spirit. They are a classy group and they
want to be the best.”
Against Birdville, Hepp passed for 210 yards and Mahone had a
95-yard touchdown run. The Bruins kicker, Liam Gamboa , connected
on a 40-yard field goal.
In the first two games of the season, Scots QB Burgin has completed
33 of 48 passes (69 percent) for 517 yards, four touchdowns
and one interception. Dieb leads the team in rushing with
136 yards on 23 carries (six yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
Campbell Brooks (#2, 6-0, 175) has caught nine passes
for 228 yards and four touchdowns to lead the team in receiving.
Leading the Scots in tackles against Pulaski were linebackers
Matthew White (#49, 6-2, 205) and Michael Linehan (#35, 6-1,
230), followed by defensive ends Michael Thornton (#95, 6-2,
215) and Nick Waterman (#44, 6-2, 217) and linebacker Hayden
Schnieders (#40, 5-10, 195). The HP defense will have a healthy
Danny Gouskos (#94, 5-9, 210) back at nose guard tonight.
“Our depth was important in our victory over Pulaski,” said
Allen, “and it will be just as important against Prosper.”

Highland Park vs Prosper Eagles

Highland Park vs Prosper Eagles

7:30pm Kickoff, Friday, September 12, 2014

Their quarterback wears number 90. What’s up with that? Is he a converted nose guard?
Prosper’s QB, Colton Hepp, has a name as cool as his number. In his first two games he has completed 31 of 45 passes (69 percent) for 395 yards and four touchdowns. His key receiver, Zack (with a “k”) English, has caught 13 passes for 215 yards and three scores.
But the guy to keep an eye on is running back Robert Mahone, who in the first two games has run back a kickoff 90 yards and has a 95-yard run from scrimmage. Both for touchdowns, obviously.
The Eagles fly into Highlander Stadium for the first time ever. Years ago, Prosper was a dot on the road north of Dallas and now it’s got a school with 1,600 students, impressive facilities and a strong tradition of winning over the years. The Eagles are learning the hard way that 5A is a far cry from 2A and 3A, where they used to mop up (much like Forney did). They were 3-7 last year and are not projected to do much better this season.
But two years ago they were flying high. Led by high-profile quarterback Davis Webb, who is now starting at Texas Tech, Prosper was 10-3 in 2012 and went three games deep into the playoffs. Webb’s top receiver was Torii Hunter, Jr., who caught 71 of Webb’s passes for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 17.4 yards per reception. He now plays for Notre Dame.
The Scots are coming off an important win over Pulaski Academy of Little Rock, Arkansas, which had won 125 of its previous 144 games, and averaged 50 points per game going into Friday night’s fight.
It didn’t take long for the Scots to realize that these guys were for real. The Scots looked up and found themselves losing 28-14 and couldn’t stop Pulaksi’s offense. Stephen Dieb scored to tighten the score to 28-21 when linebacker Mitchell Kaufman made the play of the game, snatching a Pulaksi pass out of the air and running it back 33 yards to tie the score. The huge momentum shift continued, the HPdefense stuffed the Pulaski offense and the Scots scored 34 unanswered points to defeat the Bruins 48-42.
A few HPtouchdowns came about due to great field position that was the result of recovering onside kicks and stopping fourth down plays deep in HP territory. Maybe it makes sense to punt every once in a while.
“I think it is important that we didn’t play our best game and still beat a good team,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “It was an exciting game and our guys found a way to win.”
It was a good team win. But Kaufman, who is also a Scots basketball standout, gets the assist.
Pulaksi goes to Florida to play a game this weekend. The Bruins may be discombobulated because they’re not used to coming off a loss. But the Bruins and the Scots both benefited from last Friday’s game.
They will play again in Dallas next year. Pulaksi already has it circled. They want another shot at the Scots’ home winning streak, now sitting at an incredible 80 games.

Highland Park vs Pulaski Academy of Little Rock, Arkansas

Highland Park vs Pulaski Academy of Little Rock, Arkansas

7:30pm Kickoff, Friday, September 5, 2014

Well, this is going to be interesting.  The mad genius of football, Kevin Kelley, is bringing his Pulaski Academy Bruins from Little Rock, Arkansas, to show North Texas how different high school football can be.

Kelley is the most unorthodox football coach in America. He makes the mad pirate of Washington State, Mike Leach, look as boring as an old SEC offense. If he weren’t so successful, people might think he’s crazy. But he is successful – winning 125 of 144 games the past 11 years – and still some think he’s off his rocker.
Why? Because he approaches football from a whole different perspective. He doesn’t think like the conventional coach. He questions everything and has the moxie to act on it. The result is the most unconventional football team in America at any level. You can’t call them weird because they win 87 percent of their games.
Pulaksi never punts. Kelley thinks that punting is offensive failure. They go for it on all fourth downs and get a first down 50 percent of the time. Professor Kelley likes the percentages. He knows that the odds of a team getting the ball inside the Pulaski 10-yard line will score 92 percent of the time. He knows that punting out to the 30- or 40-yard line gives his opponent a 77 percent change of scoring. He’ll take that 15 percent difference because his team will get a first down on 50 percent of its fourth-down attempts. Half the time he keeps the ball and the other team doesn’t have it so it doesn’t matter what yard line they would have been on.
Every Pulaksi kickoff is an onside kick. They have 12 different onside kick formations and they’ve become very good at using it as a key offensive weapon. Against one rival they ran up a 29-0 score before the other team ever touched the ball. You will never see a better team at onside kicks.
Opponents recovering an onside kick will be an average of 14 yards ahead of where they would have been (on average) after a regular kickoff return, so we can begin to understand the logic behind the madness.
On defense, Pulaski blitzes 80 percent of the time. On punt returns, they have nobody deep … and they don’t try to block the kick. On offense they average 520 yards per game. Next week they play against a high school team in Florida. None of this is conventional, folks.
The Scots coaches have not been able to scout the Bruins. The HP game is their first game of the season. The HP coaches have film from last year but most of those players have graduated.
I don’t think that Pulaski never punting is going to throw off the Scots defense but I do think that the Bruins onside kicks can be damaging because of their expertise at it. The best way to negate that possibility is to keep them from scoring in the first place.
Keep a team averaging 50 points a game from scoring? Yes, if the Scots defense can keep them out of the end zone each quarter, then the percentage chance of Pulaski scoring becomes zero.

Highland Park vs Frisco Centennial

Highland Park vs Frisco Centennial

7pm Kickoff, Saturday, August 30, 2014

The 2014 edition of Highland Park football storms into the Ford Stadium spotlight Saturday evening in a Tom Landry Classic battle with the strong Frisco Centennial Titans.
While the world is clammering about Highland Park moving up to the large 6A classification, the Scots will have their hands full with the local powerhouse from the lower 5A level.
“Centennial has emerged as the best team in its district,” said HPhead coach Randy Allen. “The Frisco teams are good and Centennial has averaged 11 wins a season over the past three years.”
The Scots last tangled with the Titans in the 2010 playoffs, with HP dominating, 49-7. In that game Jake Howeth completed seven of nine passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 146 yards and two more scores. But it was also a preview of HP’s next big quarterback. Brady Burgin stepped in the spotlight, completing 12 of 12 passes for 180 yards.
Brady’s younger brother, Brooks, returns as the Scots starting quarterback and reigning district MVP. Last season he led his team to the state semifinals as he passed for 3,500 yards and 31 touchdowns and ran for 725 yards and 19 more TDs. Then, as now, he has been operating behind a big, talented offensive line.
The Titans boast some serious D-1 talent. Offensive tackle Trace Ellison, who is 6’5”, 280 lbs., has committed to play for Texas Tech where he may someday protect its potential Heisman quarterback, Davis Webb. The King brothers, Jack and Sam, are two other offensive linemen who are both 6’5” and 300 lbs. The Titan center is another returning starter, as are three wide receivers. Devin McCord, with 4.5 speed, is the one to watch for going deep.
Centennial returns only three starters on defense but one of them is an aggressive linebacker named Brandon Anderson, who has 4.4 speed and can be found making tackles all over the SMUcampus. Watch for him playing some offense against the Scots.
HPcoach Randy Allen enters the game as the 6th winningest coach in Texas high school football history. The irony is that his opposing coach, Mark Howard, got his start in coaching as an assistant at Brownwood, where he was hired by its young head coach, Randy Allen.
“Mark Howard is a very steady professional,” said Allen of his former assistant. “He has his life in perspective.”
Howard remembers Brady Burgin completing 12 of 12 passes against his playoff team in 2010. He just hopes that little brother Brooks doesn’t have a perfect game this Saturday night.
But he knows it’s possible. He’s got good perspective.