Bhitarwār by Kirk Dooley
Vilyeyka I still can’t get my arms around the Highland Park Scots playing on national television.
It has never happened before. And it is another major milestone in the Randy Allen era at HP. The Scots face the Southlake Carroll Dragons at AT&T Stadium on Thursday and it will be telecast on ESPN+. Scots fans are calling and texting their friends, families and former neighbors coast to coast to tell them to tune in.
Link for broadcast: https://www.espn.com/watch/player/_/id/9f6b806e-32c6-4530-a694-00df9e25cd9e
It reminds me of the summer of 1981 when Mickey Holden, Jere Thompson, Jr. and I came together to put Highland Park football on cable TV for the first time. Word got out about our idea and when we made a presentation to the Highland Park School Board, there were two other entities bidding on the project. What?! After our presentation we were told that they would let us know of their decision in two hours.
We got the phone call and were told that since we were in our mid-20s and inexperienced, the contract went to the former SMU athletic director, Russ Potts. We were stunned at how we were outmaneuvered.
Then the phone rang again. It was Potts calling to see if he could hire us to produce the games. I said no, Jere said no and Mickey said yes. Holden went on to create HP football on cable TV and that launched his successful Mickey Holden Production Group. I wished Mickey well and went on to start Park Cities People. Jere also went on to create his own businesses and earlier this year sold his latest effort, Ambit Energy, for $475 million.
So now the Scots are again blazing new television trails. This will be the first Highland Park football game where ESPN is telling the Highlander Band and Highland Belles that they have 10 minutes for halftime instead of 20.
This game was already buzzing throughout all 50 states when the Dragons quarterback, Quinn Ewers, who was the number one high school recruit in America, decided this summer to skip his senior year at Southland Carroll and enroll early at Ohio State. He made this monumental decision so that he would qualify for the new Name, Image and Likeness compensation that college athletes can now earn. In Ewers’ case he has more than a million dollars lined up this season.
It used to be a hypothetical question. Would you bypass your senior year in high school for a million bucks?
Now that it is a reality, the choice of being a millionaire or being a senior in high school is a no-brainer for most teenage boys in Ewers’ position.
Coach Allen quickly points our that the new Dragon quarterback, junior Kaden Anderson, is a D-1 talent and that Carroll has 15 returning starters from a 12-2 team that played in the 6A state championship game last season. They have a 2,000-yard running back (Owen Allen) and a 1,200-yard receiver (Landon Samson).
With its tradition, experience and talent, Southlake Carroll may be the best high school football team in Texas this year. The Highland Park players are excited and working hard to prepare for the challenge.
On one hand, they want to play their best in front of the TV cameras. On the other hand, they know that what they experience in this game will help them as they strive to create a deep playoff run.
Regardless of who wins this game, if both teams go on to win state championships, you read it here first.