HP vs Mansfield Timberview for Outright Title

by Kirk Dooley

Regarde ça The season really started last Friday for Highland Park.
The Scots traveled to Lancaster last week to get a reality check. How good were the Scots? It was hard to say until they battled the Tigers and came away with a 42-35 overtime win. The good news and the bad news was that the Scots won despite masquerading as turnover buckets. They stubbed their toes then “found a way” to win.
Note to selves: Work on eliminating fumbles and interceptions.
The Tigers looked as fast and talented as the HP coaches predicted. Even after the loss to the Scots, the Tigers are still ranked in the state’s 5A top 10.
The first play from scrimmage was a flea flicker gadget play that resulted in sophomore Jack Curtis catching a 75-yard touchdown strike from Chandler Morris. Talk about making an opening statement.
The teams traded touchdowns and HP found itself on its own 7-yard line, leading 14-7. Hunter Heath, who had scored the Scots’ second TD, took a handoff and broke into the Lancaster secondary and started sprinting up the sideline. A couple of Lancaster defensive backs plugged in their GPS angle finders and screamed toward the 5’6” Heath. Everyone in the stands could see where they would collide. As the Tigers speedsters caught up with Heath, he turned on an afterburner and outran the Tigers to the end zone. What?!
Let me repeat that. Hunter Heath scored on a 93-yard sprint by outrunning the Lancaster secondary, maybe the fastest DBs in the state. I had to adjust my glasses. Did I just see a mirage? A miracle?
A couple of weeks ago Heath broke a Highland Park record and tied a statewide record by running 99 yards for a touchdown. But his 93-yard performance against Lancaster was more dramatic.
The win gives the Scots at least a share of the district title. This Friday they can win it outright with a victory over Mansfield Timberview. But let me warn you: The Wolves are capable of beating the Scots.
New quarterback Jaden Hullaby is a transfer who accounted for 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. His backfield includes our old friends Stacy Sneed (1,250 rushing yards last year) and Montaye Dawson (1,020 rushing yards last year). When was the last time the Scots faced an opponent with THREE thousand-yard rushers? Never.
Playing Timberview will be like playing a Big 12 team. Hullaby has committed to Texas. His younger brother Landon, has more than a dozen offers. Sneed and Dawson have 30 offers between them. Jalen Kimber  is a four-star recruit who has committed to Georgia. And there are others. The Wolves went into this season expecting to win the state championship. They still feel that way right now.
The trick play the Scots used to start the Lancaster game was introduced to Coach Allen by his son, Zac, who sent a replay of Kyler Murray scoring an Arizona Cardinals touchdown with it. Coach Allen then saw a replay of Matthew Stafford using it for a Detroit Lions touchdown. Coach Allen incorporated it and the magic Chandler Morris bought enough time to make it work.
Coach Allen showed me the replays of both NFL teams running the play to perfection. I asked him if he knew the significance of those NFL TDs. He hesitated and I said, “You know both of the quarterbacks.”
He thought about and nodded. But the real question is, “Do Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford know that Coach Allen just won his 400th high school game? And that only three coaches have accomplished that in the history of Texas high school football?”
To me that’s as impressive as Hunter Heath outrunning the Lancaster secondary for a 93-yard touchdown.
I still can’t believe my eyes.

District championship on the line at Lancaster

by Kirk Dooley

adult dating site nude For months the Highland Park Scots have circled Friday, November 1 on their calendars. That would be the day the proverbial rubber would meet the proverbial road.
And here we are.
Going into this season, HP and Lancaster were predicted to battle each other for the district championship. Although the road has not been especially challenging for either team, this Friday is when the competition gets serious and the district title is literally on the line.
As badly as the Scots have beaten their district foes, the Tigers have equalled those lopsided scores. Where we have a big difference is that the only team that can spook either the Tigers or the Scots – Mansfield Timberview – lost to Lancaster last week, 33-10, the only normal score so far in district 6-5A Div. I. The Scots host the Wolves next Friday in the district finale.
Going into this Friday’s game in Lancaster, the Tigers have the opportunity to win the district title by beating the Scots. They would secure the number one seed in the playoffs in the event of a tie for the district crown. If the Scots beat Lancaster and Timberview loses Friday, then HP wins the district title.
Highland Park, Lancaster and Timberview have all secured playoff spots and they are the only 6-5A teams with winning records. The fourth playoff spot is very competitive and there is a chance of a five-way tie for that position, although Sunset would have to win its final two games for that to happen.
Lancaster is led by shifty running back Tre Bradford, who has run for 682 yards on 59 carries and 13 touchdowns. He averages 11.5 yards every time he touches the ball. He’s a first down machine. Receiver La’Trell Caples is a legitimate threat with 434 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Glenn Rice, Jr. has thrown for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns to eight different receivers.
They are all fast. All quick. All athletic. The Scots defense will need to keep pressure on Rice and keep Bradford from turning the corner. The Tigers will be tough to slow down but they – like the Scots – are used to being up by 30 points and so being down by 14 could get in their heads.
This will be Lancaster’s Super Bowl. The players, coaches and fans will be rabid to dethrone Highland Park. The Scots have been down this road and now is the time to flex their muscles. Instead of feeling guilty about scoring 60 points, HP may need to score 60 points if they wind up in a track meet against Lancaster.
My advice: Slow the Tigers down, don’t try to race them.
I’m optimistic because the chains finally come off for the Scots on Friday. They will need to go hard for all four quarters and I think they are ready for their first 48-minute explosion since Sept. 13.
The Tigers are fast but Scots find a way.

Sunset at HP This Friday

by Kirk Dooley

Here’s a statistic you should ponder as the Scots prepare to host the Sunset Bison this Friday:
Five weeks ago HP defeated Bryan Adams 62-0. Two weeks later Bryan Adams defeated Sunset, 76-0.
Wow. You do the math.
The Scots, now ranked fourth in state, have three more district games – Sunset, Lancaster and Mansfield Timberview. Playing the state’s seventh-ranked team, Lancaster, seven days after facing Sunset is like speeding down the Tollway and throwing your car into reverse.
The Bison (which is singular and plural, by the way) have played four district games and lost to Samuell (32-0), Bryan Adams (76-0), Lancaster (73-0 and Timberview (84-0).
Conversely, the Scots have beaten Bryan Adams (62-0), Woodrow Wilson (66-0), Mansfield Legacy 76-6) and Samuell (56-6).
In every district there is statistically a best team and a worst team and at some point they play each other. For district 6-5A Div. I that game will be this Friday at Highlander Stadium.
The Highland Park coaches are trying to keep the Scots focused on improving every week but when the competition is not challenging, it’s hard to determine how you are progressing. On the other hand, your backups get to play a lot and that makes for a happy locker room. And a memorable Senior Night.
The Sunset players are coming off a 84-0 loss to the third best team in the district. What are these young men thinking? How do they show up for practice every day and keep their spirits up?
Here’s a true story about life as the Sunset head coach. Last year Coach Chris Castillo had 12 guys show up for the first day of practice. Instead of folding his hand he went out into the school and into students’ homes trying to convince guys to come play football. They could even bring a friend. Castillo was also the campus athletic coordinator. One morning at 3:00 a.m.he got a call from the tennis coach saying that he needed a heart procedure. Castillo became the tennis coach for the rest of the year. Then the softball coach had to report for duty by the Army Reserves right as the playoffs were about to begin. Castillo became the softball coach also.
This past summer Castillo stepped down after three years and a 3-27 record in football. Although his record wasn’t impressive, the way he related to his athletes was. The new coach, Armando Gutierrez, is continuing the fight to pull the Bison out of the bottom of the standings but it’ll take some time. I admire guys like Castillo and Gutierrez, like I admire the Highland Park coaches. They’re all working to help turn boys into young men.
I’m pulling for the Sunset players to be able to experience the joy of victory instead of living in the agony of defeat. Next week, of course.
In the meantime the Scots will face a very fast and very talented Lancaster team next Friday in a game that will give the HP coaches a real gauge on where their team stands. Then a tough match against Timberview will vault HP into the playoffs where Frisco Lone Star, Denton Ryan, Shadow Creek and their cousins will be lying in wait.