Postseason Update: Lady Scots and Blue Wave Advance

Postseason Update: Scots advance to state swim meet 
Lady Scots launch playoff run with bi-district game Monday

The HP Blue Wave boys swim and dive team raced to victory against 32 teams Feb. 4 in the UIL Region 3-5A Championship Finals at the Frisco Natatorium. The boys team outscored second-place Grapevine with a total point score of 318-276. The girls team placed sixth overall with 140 points.

Felix Van Cauwelaert was the leading scorer for the boys team, winning gold medals in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle events. He was the Boys High Point Winner for the meet and was named Boys Swimmer of the Year for the region. Other medalists included:

  • Sophomore Ethan Nguyen: gold in the 100-yard breaststroke
  • Senior Robby King: silver in the 200-yard freestyle
  • Sophomore Peter Paulus: silver in the 100-yard breaststroke
  • Sophomore Henry Wang: bronze in the 100-yard breaststroke

The boys team also won the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays, and placed second in the 200-yard medley relay. Their freestyle relay times posted at the meet are the top seed times going into the state meet.

Six swimmers will represent HP at the state meet Feb. 17-18 at UT-Austin:

  • Felix VanCauwelaert: 200- and 500- freestyles and relays
  • Ethan Nguyen: 100-breaststroke, 50- freestyle and relays
  • Robby King: 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly and relays
  • Peter Paulus: 100 breaststroke and relays
  • Henry Wang: 100 breaststroke and relays
  • Omar Hmimy: relays

The Blue Wave girls team placed sixth overall, finishing seventh in the 200-yard freestyle relay and eighth in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Morgan Rehme led the girls team in scoring, placing seventh in the 100-yard freestyle and ninth in the 50-yard freestyle.

Coach Jesse Cole was named Boys Regional Coach of the Year.

Click here for more results.

Co-district champion Lady Scots enter 5A playoffs
The Lady Scots basketball team finished District 15-5A play as co-champions with a 13-1 record, tied with Wylie East.
HP will launch its playoff run with a bi-district game against Longview Pine Tree at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 at Wills Point High School.
Click here for the playoff bracket.
Go Scots!

HP vs Temple State Championship Game Preview – Kickoff at Noon Sat 12/17 at Cowboys Stadium

by Kirk Dooley

The Scots shocked the world last week by knocking top-ranked Denton Ryan out of the playoffs. The win puts Highland Park in the state finals for the first time in nine years.temple-logo-1
   How did an injury-plagued team with two losses defeat an undefeated, top-ranked football machine boasting a 27-1 record over the past two years?
   Pride. Heritage. Tradition. Solid Leadership. Players with heart. The best high school coaching staff in Texas.
   The best third-string running back in the world. A nifty quarterback with football genes. Backups who stepped up when injuries struck. Linebackers who set the standard for their team. A receiving corps as deep as the Mariana Trench. Two kickers who make each other better. Being part of the winningest high school football program in the state. Playing with great intensity and making plays with the game on the line.
   There was one moment that exemplified the Ryan game in a nutshell. The Raiders quarterback handed the ball to his running back headed up the middle. Just before he got to the line of scrimmage, he was violently hit and went flying backwards. He ran into a charging Luke Blanton like a Smart car smashing into an oncoming freight train. The stunning collision could be felt all the way up in the stands. Thousands of people watching the giant video screen gasped and winced. Mothers covered the eyes of their children.
   The Denton Ryan players realized that they were not going to roll over this team. This was not a game, it was a battle. And none of them wanted a part of Luke Blanton. Or Turner Coxe for that matter.
   So the Scots win the game and advance to the finals. What should they expect in the Temple Wildcats?
   Coach Randy Allen says that Temple looks like Ryan but faster.
   A QB who has thrown for 3,626 yards. A 1,000-yard running back. A 1,000-yard receiver. Three other solid receivers, all named Johnson. (Aren’t there nepotism rules?). They’ve got a fast secondary and fast linebackers.
   All season the Scots defense has eaten 1,000-yard runners like Burger House fries. After Temple has studied film of the HP defense, I would expect them to come out throwing, and they are very good at it. Their go-to receiver is D’Yonte Heckstall (#1) but like the Scots, the Wildcats have a truckload of good receivers. They just all happen to have the same last name.
   Last week Hesse completed 11 passes for 360 yards, including an 89-yard TD. For those of you doing the math that’s an eye-popping 32.7 yards per catch. It looks like HP’s secondary defenders – O’Neil Sitzer, George Stewart, Alex Walzel, James Herring and Zac Folts – will have their work cut our for them. But they have risen to the occasion all season and the state championship game will be like another day going to work.temple-helmet
   The best thing the Scots have going for them is the fact that Temple is picked to win the game. Last week everyone picked Denton Ryan and that ignited an intensity in the Scots that turned them into warriors. With sportswriters picking Temple to beat Highland Park this week, the players have reacted with a deep resolve to prove them wrong again. See paragraph 3 for their weapons.
   Plus, they shouldn’t make Luke Blanton or Turner Coxe mad, but I’m afraid it’s too late for that.
   1945, 1957, 2005, 2016.


Put Scots Illustrated in the palm of your hand!  Click to download!


Tickets, Seating and Parking Information:

After a thrilling win over Denton Ryan, the Highland Park Scots are headed back to the state championship game for the first time since 2007. HP will face the Temple Wildcats in the title game at noon Saturday, Dec. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Tickets for the game will be on sale this week at the following times at the Highlander Stadium Box Office (4233 Grassmere Lane, Dallas, TX 75205).

  • 8:30-11:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 16

Tickets purchased at Highlander Stadium are $14 for adults and $10 for students.

Tickets may also be purchased online through Ticketmaster. Online tickets are $24.75 each, including all service fees. Tickets can be purchased Saturday at AT&T Stadium for $15 each.

Parking is $10 per vehicle in lots 5, 6, 7 or 11, and the lots will open at 10 a.m. Fans may enter the stadium through gates C or H beginning at 10:30 a.m., and seating is general admission. HP fans will be seated on the south side of the stadium. Click here for entry and seating diagrams, and click here to view the stadium’s bag and purse policy.
“Our goal is to have more fans at the game than Temple,” HPISD Athletic Director Johnny Ringo said. “Temple has a tremendous football tradition, and they will have a large, vocal crowd and band at AT&T Stadium.”
To celebrate the team’s march to the finals, Highland Park High School will host a state championship pep rally for the community at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 in the main gym. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and students will sit on the east side of the gym and parents and families will sit on the west side. You may also join the community for a team send-off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in front of Highlander Stadium.
The victory over Denton Ryan was Highland Park’s 800th overall victory, a state record. The Scots won the game 31-24, led by four touchdowns from running back Paxton Alexander. Click here to read Todd Jorgensen’s recap in Park Cities People.
This is the seventh time in school history the Scots have reached the state championship game, and the Scots have won the championship in 1945, 1957 and 2005. Help cheer your Scots on to their fourth state championship this weekend.
Click here to view a photo gallery from the Highland Park/Denton Ryan game.



For those of you who want to listen to the awesome Russell Scott, Jim Castellaw and Jae Ellis on the radio here is the info you will need…

kaam-bannerThe radio broadcast of the Highland Park vs. Temple Championship Game will be carried on KAAM 770 AM  throughout the Dallas area.  Pre-Game starts at 11:00 AM with kickoff slated for Noon.

Fans listening at home (or anyplace other than the stadium) can hear the game by any of the following methods:

1. With a radio tuned to 770 AM.
2. On a mobile phone or computer by going to … then clicking the “Listen Live” button.
3. By going to App Store and searching for “Legends 770 KAAM” and then downloading the free app.

For those fans who are attending the game at AT&T Stadium:

1. Tune your transistor radio to 1670 AM. You should be able to hear our simulcast from KAAM.
2. If you are inside the stadium, do NOT try to listen on your phone or computer. Your phone or computer will delay the transmission by 7-10 seconds and therefore what you are hearing will not “match-up” with what you are seeing. This delay does not occur when listening on a transistor radio.


Preview State Semifinal: HP vs Denton Ryan — 1:30pm Sat, 12/10, at AT&T Cowboys Stadium

by Kirk Dooley

Of all the flashy stars from both teams in Saturday’s state semifinal shootout between Highland Park and Denton Ryan, the MVP could very well wind up being Matteo Cordray.
   Cordray, a junior kicker at HP, stepped in when talented starting kicker Jackson Hubbard suffered an injury. Like Dak Prescott, Cordray has done quite well and hasn’t given the starting job back.denton-ryan-logo
   This state semifinal game pits two offenses that can light up a scoreboard against two defenses that have sucked all the oxygen out of North Texas. Usually we’re trying to predict which team will slow down the other team’s offense. This game could beg the question, “Which defense will shut down the other team’s offense?” While it’s hard to believe that Saturday’s offensive fireworks could be suffocated, the reality is that this game could go 10-7 either way. In that case, my money is on Cordray.
   He was a middle school soccer standout when PE coach Ryan Gibbs pulled him aside and asked if he had ever thought about kicking a football.
   “No, sir. I never thought about it.”
   Gibbs, the Scots’ running backs coach, has a nose for talent and he helped Cordray develop into a solid and dependable football kicker. If a field goal beats Denton Ryan Saturday, the assist goes to Gibbs.
   While Denton Ryan will be the best team the Scots have faced in several years, HP has a great advantage in playing Frisco Independence, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Mansfield Legacy in the playoffs leading up to this game. Those three playoff wins featured a Highland Park defense that shut down three of the best offenses in North Texas. The fact that the Scots neutralized Legacy’s Kendall Catalon last week means that HP has the ability to neutralize Ryan’s QB Spencer Sanders (which, by the way, nobody has come close this season).
   Ryan is averaging 40.4 points per game. HP is averaging 38.6. Ryan is giving up 16.1 points per game. HP is giving up 13.5. Ryan is coached by a former Highland Park assistant. He knows what makes the Scots special. Can he outfox his former mentor? Although he has the D-1 talent to beat some colleges right now, I think he will face the best prepared team he’s seen in his three years in Denton.
   On paper nobody can beat Denton Ryan. They are said to have the best 5A defense in North Texas but I think the Scots’ defense will be better on Saturday. Spencer, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, could get rattled if his offense gets throttled early. His team is not used to being behind.
   This game should be a defensive death match. When was the last time the Scots won a game like that?
   Well, last week. 
   I know it’s not this simple, but let me repeat my theory: If you can corral Kendall Catalon, you can corral Spencer Sanders. And if that happens, the Scots will be playing next Saturday for the state championship.



Highland Park will face Denton Ryan at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Click here to order your tickets online now. Prices are $13.80 online or $15 at the stadium box office. Parking is $10 per vehicle in lots 5, 6, 7 or 11, and the gates will open at 4 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the HPISD Athletic Office.


This is the first time the Scots have been in the final four of the playoffs since 2013. Head Coach Randy Allen and Athletic Director Johnny Ringo are excited that the community has been so supportive of the team so far, and they are looking forward to a large, vocal crowd at the upcoming game.
HP fans will be seated on the south side of the stadium. Click here for entry and seating diagrams, and click here  to view the stadium’s bag and purse policy.
The winner of this game will compete in the state championship against the winner of the Temple/Richmond Foster game. Click here to view the playoff bracket. The state championship game is scheduled to be played at noon, Saturday, Dec. 17 at AT&T Stadium.

For those of you who want to listen to the awesome Russell Scott, Jim Castellaw and Jae Ellis on the radio here is the info you will need…

Our radio broadcast of the Highland Park vs. Denton Ryan State Semifinal Playoff Game on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 10th will be carried on 103.3 ESPN (KESN) throughout the Dallas area. Pre-Game starts at 12:30 PM with kickoff slated for 1:30 PM. Fans listening at home (or anyplace other than the stadium) can hear the game by any of the following methods:

1. With a radio tuned to 103.3 FM
2. On a mobile phone or computer by going to … then clicking the “Play” (right) arrow to “Listen Live”.
3. By going to … then downloading the free app via the link on the homepage.

For those fans who are attending the game at AT&T Stadium:

1. Tune your transistor radio to 103.3 FM ESPN. You should be able to get reception on the FM station inside the stadium. If you are having trouble getting steady, clear reception, try moving to another seating location. The signal tested “good” in most locations on the Highland Park side of the stadium.
2. If you are inside the stadium, do NOT try to listen on your phone or computer. Your phone or computer will delay the transmission by 7-10 seconds and therefore what you are hearing will not “match-up” with what you are seeing. This delay does not occur when listening on a transistor radio.

The game will be broadcast live on KTXA-Channel 21.
Go Scots!

HP vs Mansfield Legacy at AT&T Stadium – 5:30pm kickoff Friday, 12/2

by Kirk Dooley

It’s right about now that we should be glad the Scots lost to Wylie East in the final district game.
   Not that we’re pleased with a loss (especially the first loss in HP history to a Wylie team) but it did expose some HP weaknesses and it propelled the Scots into the playoffs with that bitter taste of defeat in their mouths. The players left their Superman capes in the phone booth and came out with a blue-collar resolve to prove to the world that they had what it takes to be champions.
   And win they did. In the first three playoff games they have averaged 52 points per game and kept the bad guys out of the end zone the first 10 quarters of the playoffs. These Scots have matured, come together, overcome injuries and have the zeal to leave a football legacy like previous generations of Scots before them.mansfield-legacy-helmet
   And now Mansfield Legacy walks into their crosshairs. This is the best Mansfield team, not that the other two HP beat this season were slouches. The only two losses Legacy has suffered have been to Aledo and Lancaster, both of which are playing this weekend in the state quarterfinals.
   Like Poteet, Legacy has sprinter speed. Randy Allen says that this is the fastest team the Scots have faced this season. They have a 2,000-yard running back (Cameron Session), A wide receiver (Trenton McDonald) who runs back kickoffs for touchdowns as often as Southwest flies to Houston, a sophomore free safety (Jalen Catalon) who has 140 tackles and seven interceptions and a quarterback (Kendall Catalon) who has thrown for 1,581 yards and run for 1,036, accounting for 47 touchdowns.
   Kendall Catalon injured his shoulder last Friday and didn’t play in the second half. Will he and his 47 touchdowns play this Friday against the Scots? Coach Allen says he probably will. If he doesn’t, I think his little brother, Jalen, will fill in and could be a challenge to contain. Think Michael Vick or RG3.
   The Scots come into this game without their leading receivers, Cade Saustad and Scully Jenevein, and their top running back, Jack Kozmetsky. But other good players are filling in and there should not be any drop-off.
   Here’s five things to look for Friday at AT&T Stadium:
   1. The Scots defense clogging the box and forcing the Broncos to throw the ball.
   2. Jack Sell and Junior Dorbah making vicious tackles on the kickoff coverage teams.
   3. On the video screen: Stephen Jones high-fiving his dad in the owners box every time John Stephen tosses a TD pass.
    4. After the game, the Catalon brothers starting to prepare for the track season.
    5. Paxton Alexander enjoying a breakout game, turning short gains into electrifying touchdowns.   
   This game could be a nail-biter, where the winner is determined on the final drive of the game. Whether HP has the ball or not, this is where the Scots’ offensive line or defensive line puts the team on its back and carries it to the state semifinals.


Click here to order your tickets online now. Prices are $13.80 online or $15 at the stadium box office. Parking is $10 per vehicle in lots 5, 6, 7 or 11, and the gates will open at 4 p.m. Tickets will not be sold at the HPISD Athletic Office.
HP fans will be seated on the south side of the stadium. Click here for entry and seating diagrams, and click here  to view the stadium’s bag and purse policy.
The winner of this game will face the winner of the Denton Ryan/Colleyville Heritage game. Click here to view the playoff bracket. Highland Park is now one of only eight teams left in UIL 5A Division I playoffs.

HP vs Mansfield Lake Ridge – 1pm kickoff Black Friday at The Star in Frisco

by Kirk Dooley

The Highland Park defense has aggressively grabbed the spotlight during the playoffs, stuffing high-octane offenses and proving to be the difference between the Scots being a good team and a great team.mansfield-lakeridge-helmets
   That challenge escalates this Friday night as the Scots battle the Mansfield Lake Ridge Eagles, who averages 490 yards and 42.5 points per game. The winner of this game plays the winner of the Frisco Wakeland – Mansfield Legacy contest in the state quarterfinals next week.
   Last week the Eagles scored 87 points against the Samuel Spartans. They never let their foot of the gas because the Spartans kept scoring themselves, finishing the night with 58 points. And to be clear, the Scots offense could have scored 90 points each of the past two games if their opponents had kept scoring. But those past two teams, Mount Pleasant and Frisco Independence, were completely shut down by a destructive HP defense. Mount Pleasant was credited with a safety and Independence came away with an early field goal. No touchdowns. The HP defenders are still mad about the loss to Wylie East and they are playing like mad men.
   The Scot coaches get an A-plus for their preparation, giving their players the best chance to succeed. Independence had the highest-rated 5A offense in North Texas (508 yards per game) and had a 2,000-yard runner. The Scots defense, built Ford-tough, held the Knights to 148 yards of total offense and held their star back to 35 yards rushing. That was not luck. It was talent, determination, spirit and preparation.
   This week the Scots face a better team. Lake Ridge was in the state finals last year. Its quarterback, Jason Dean, has thrown for 2,725 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has also run for 530 yards and six more TDs. The Eagles have a star running back, Darrius Lee, is 52 yards away from 1,000 yards for the season.
   The Scots’ top two receivers, Cade Saustad and Scully Jenevein, are injured and out for the season. But the Scots rotate eight top-notch receivers each game, so a dropoff isn’t felt. J.T. Dooley got more playing time last week and responded with a dazzling 97-yard, two-touchdown night.
   Common opponents? Both teams beat Poteet, but not by much. HP shut out Mansfield Timberview, 31-0, then the Wolves turned around and gave Lake Ridge its worst loss of the season, 35-7. Go figure. Waxahachie, once a state top-10 team, beat the Scots on Sept. 2, then Lake Ridge beat Waxahachie, 63-49, in their final district game. The winner made the playoffs and the loser stayed home. Waxahachie is arguably the best team in Texas that didn’t make the playoffs.
   Both Highland Park and Lake Ridge come from outstanding districts, as 9-5A and 15-5A had four teams advance to the second round and both have three teams in the third round. HP, Lake Ridge and Mansfield Legacy are three of the four Div. I teams left in the region. Poteet, Wylie East and Lancaster are three of the four teams left in Div. II. That is a lot of firepower for two districts.
   Scots quarterback John Stephen Jones last week completed 11 of 15 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns. He is comfortable, confident and seems right at home at the Ford Center at The Star.
   Lake Ridge averages 42.5 points per game and the Highland Park defense allows 12.9. How will that translate? My money is on Luke Blanton, Marshall Hammack, Turner Coxe, Matt Gahm, Bennett Brock, John House, Max Holsomback, O’Neil Sitzer, Alex Walzel, George Stewart, Zac Folts and James Herring.
   Gentlemen, start your defense.

Scots to face Mansfield Lake Ridge this Friday in round 3 of the playoffs

The Scots football team is advancing to the third round of the playoffs after defeating Frisco Independence 45-3 on Nov. 18. Highland Park will now face Mansfield Lake Ridge at 1 p.m., Friday Nov. 25 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

Click here to order your tickets online now. Prices are $11.75 online or $12 at the Ford Center box office, and parking is free. Click here to view the stadium’s bag and purse policy. Tickets will not be sold at the HPISD Athletic Office this week.


The Scots have outscored their two playoff opponents by a total score of 115-5, but HP will face a tough test against Lake Ridge, the 2015 UIL 5A state finalist. Head Coach Randy Allen and Athletic Director Johnny Ringo would like to thank the fans who have supported the team during the first two games, and they are encouraging all fans who are in town to enjoy some post-Thanksgiving football at The Star.
HP fans will be seated on the west side of the stadium. Click here for entry and seating diagrams.
The winner of this game will face the winner of the Mansfield Legacy/Frisco Wakeland game. The Scots are one of only 16 teams remaining in the 5A Division I playoffs – click here to view the playoff bracket.

Go Scots!


HP vs Frisco Independence in Round Two

by Kirk Dooley

The first round of the Texas high school football playoffs can produce eye-popping scores, especially in the games where the number one seed from one district plays the number four seed from the adjacent district. It is not unlike the NCAA basketball tournament when top seeds play #16 seeds and the results are predictable. img_0491

Such was the case when 8-2 Highland Park battled 3-7 Mount Pleasant in the first round. The Scots won, 70-2, and held the Tigers to 65 yards of total offense and two first downs. Eight different Scots scored touchdowns, the last being JV Blue running back Cameron Reeves.

One team scoring a lot of points isn’t unusual during bi-district week. If Highland Park advances this week it will play Mansfield Lake Ridge (who scored 49 points last week) or Samuel (60). A possible quarterfinal opponent, Mansfield Legacy, put up 56 points. Semifinals? Denton Ryan (54) or Colleyville Heritage (50). And if the Scots make it to the finals, teams they might play and how many points they scored last weekend include Dripping Springs (63), Richmond Foster (72), Angleton (73) and Manvel (78).

In this week’s Area round the games shouldn’t be as lopsided. There is a chance that contest between Highland Park and Frisco Independence could be the highest scoring game in the state. Unless one or both defenses rise to the occasion, this game could be one of those 59-55 shootouts. The Knights will be the best offensive team the Scots have faced. They are the only 5A team in North Texas averaging more than 500 yards per game. Their top running back, Dom Williams, has already hit the 2,000-yard mark and has scored 29 touchdowns. Their quarterback, Kyle Saddler, has thrown for 2,482 yards and 29 touchdowns. Their top receiver, Colton Nielson, has 902 yards and 14 TDs.
Last week’s destruction of Mount Pleasant was a first-round aberration. The playoffs really begin for the Scots this Friday night. The competition will be 10 times stronger and the Scots need to have their heads on straight to stay in a potential close game.
Independence is tough but not unbeatable. They were stopped by a very good Frisco Lone Star team for the district championship two weeks ago, 37-13. Last week the Knights beat McKinney North, 47-28, for their first playoff win in school history. Independence opened in 2014.
To advance, the Scots’ offense needs to score like it always does, then add two more TDs. On defense, slow down Williams without giving Saddler one-on-one coverage across the board. Usually, it’s pick your poison. Stopping Williams by clogging the box has given the Rangers’ passing game a free ride to six points.
Earlier this season Independence scored 61 points against Frisco Heritage. But Heritage was the last one to score and won, 64-61. Let’s put that game under a microscope because Heritage finished the season 2-8.

HP vs Mt. Pleasant – Playoffs 1st Round – Sat 1pm Kickoff at The Star in Frisco

by  Kirk Dooley

   The 2016 playoffs are upon us and on Saturday HP fans will zip up the Tollway to watch the Scots take on the Mount Pleasant Tigers at 1:00 p.m. at the Ford Center at the Star, better known as the new Dallas Cowboys’ 12,000-seat indoor practice facility in Frisco. All the Frisco ISD high school teams use the state-of-the-art stadium for games throughout the season and it has become a popular playoff facility … as of this weekend. mountpleasanths
   The district 15-5A co-champions and number-one-playoff-seed Scots will face the Tigers, who finished fourth in district 16-5A. While the Tigers’ 3-7 record is not as good as the Scots’ 8-2 season total, Mount Pleasant’s winning streak is a two, while HP’s is zero. Therein lies one of the key aspects of the Texas high school football playoffs. Throw the records out the window. Forget the standings. Rankings mean nothing. As the great philosopher Randy Allen says, “A playoff team is a playoff team.”
   Any team with any record can beat any other team in the playoffs. Right now the Tigers are playing their best football of the season and they believe that they will win their third straight game this weekend.
   The Scots took a week off from a very good season and let the Wylie East Raiders beat them up in the final game of the regular season. It was the first time a Wylie ISD team has ever beaten Highland Park. To me the game boiled down to the Raiders’ final drive of the game, which took nine minutes off the clock and culminated with an Eno Benjamin 11-yard touchdown run with 80 grains of sand left in the hourglass. Final score: Wylie East 20 – HP 9.
   The Scots vow to bounce back this week and play at the level that put them in the state’s Top 10. On paper HP should run circles around a 3-7 team but the Scots are facing an offensive line that goes 260, 270, 295, 305 and 310. That’s a lot of East Texas beef leading an offense that is coming into its own with a sophomore quarterback and a sophomore running back. They’re both now playing like veterans as the playoffs begin.mountpleasant-helmets
   This season the Tigers boasted one of the best running backs in North Texas, a kid who gained over 1,900 yards as a junior. But he became unavailable in August and the Tigers are just now recovering from his loss.
   The Scots will wake up from last Friday’s slumber party in Wylie. They should have their heads on straight and take their frustrations out on the Tigers, who are thrilled just to make the playoffs.
   If the Scots take care of business, next week they will play the winner of this Friday evening’s Frisco Independence-McKinney North game at the Ford Center at the Star. Both of these teams will come armed with a 2,000-yard runner of their own. Hopefully the Wylie East game, in which the Scots held Eno Benjamin to 186 yards (that’s below his average), will serve as a practice game to prepare the Scots defense for Independence’s Dom Williams or McKinney North’s Lamar Lucas. Both of these guys have gained more yards rushing than Benjamin.
   But to get to that game, the Scots must do better than field goals against Mount Pleasant.

Scots open football playoffs at The Star in Frisco

The Scots football team will begin its run through the UIL 5A playoffs with a game against Mt. Pleasant at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12. Highland Park will play in the brand new Dallas Cowboys training facility – the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster – click here to order your tickets. HP will be the home team at the Ford Center, and only 6,000 seats are available on the home side. Tickets are $10 online or $12 at the Ford Center box office, and parking is free. Click here to view the stadium’s bag and purse policy. Tickets will not be sold at the HPISD Athletics Office, so guarantee your seat online now.

The Scots finished the regular season as District 15-5A Champions with a 8-2 record. This is Highland Park’s 58th playoff appearance, a state record. Click here to view the playoff bracket.
Come out and support your Highland Park Scots as they march through the playoffs. Go Scots!

HP at Wylie East Tonight for Final Regular Season Game

by Kirk Dooley

   This week is Eno Week for the Highland Park Scots.
   HP travels to Wylie to end the district season with a key match against the Raiders and their star running back, Eno Benjamin, one of the nation’s top recruits.  wylie-east-helmet
   Not since Kendial Lawrence of Rockwall Heath back in 2008 has Highland Park faced a running back that can determine the outcome of a game by himself. Lawrence, whom the Scots couldn’t stop, led his team to the district championship over HP in the last game of the season. He was fast, strong, agile and each time he touched the ball he could go all the way. Lawrence gained 4,420 yards in two years at Heath, scoring 64 touchdowns and averaged 9.3 yards per carry.
   Let me repeat that. He averaged 9.3 yards every time he touched the ball over a two-year period. Whew!
   I have not seen a better performance from a Texas high school running back than Lawrence in 2008 when he ran over, around and through the Scots. That year Heath had a dozen players go on to play D-1 college ball. Lawrence went on to a lackluster college career at Missouri and then has bounced around the Canadian Football League since then.
   Eno Benjamin comes into the HP game with 1,605 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He is averaging six yards per carry. He is number nine on the Dallas News list of recruits for the Class of ‘17 and is the number 26 overall recruit in the state by the 247Sports composite.
   Benjamin orally committed to the University of Iowa back in April and then last Wednesday he dumped the Hawkeyes and re-opened his recruitment. Nine times out of 10 when somebody de-commits like that, he is already in somebody else’s back pocket. We’ll see.
   The Raiders were predicted to challenge the Scots for the district 15-5A championship but two things got in the way – Mesquite Poteet and West Mesquite. The Raiders lost to Pirates, 26-14, and then were beaten by the Wranglers, 7-0. In both of those losses the Wylie East defense played well but gave up ill-timed big plays. They held Poteet to 139 yards of total offense and six first downs, but the Pirates scored 26 points. Go figure. They held West Mesquite to 119 yards and six first downs but gave up the only TD of the game.
   The takeaway from the West Mesquite game is that the Wranglers did what any intelligent team would try to do – stop Eno – but when they did, another running back did some damage. Benjamin carried the ball 20 carries for only 65 yards (only 3.25 yards per carry), but when the Wranglers keyed on Eno, Corbin Johnson carried the ball 32 times for 117 yards. Either way, West Mesquite kept the Wylie East offense out of the end zone. That is the goal.
   The Raiders have put Eno in at quarterback (why waste time by handing off?) and he has performed well at running, but not passing. Against Poteet, he threw the ball 14 times, completed seven – four to his receivers and three to the Pirates.
   The Scots want to win the district championship outright and so they will battle hard on Friday. Beating the Scots would make the Raiders’ season, so they will battle hard also. But the outcome of this game won’t change the playoff picture.  HP and West Mesquite will go into the Division I bracket next week while Mesquite Poteet and Wylie East will head into the Division II bracket. This last district game against a quality opponent will help both the Scots and the Raiders gear up for the playoffs.