Njombe by Kirk Dooley
Class, let’s review. Go back two years to 2018. On September 13 the Scots traveled to Frisco to challenge the new sheriff in town, the Lone Star Rangers. The Scots were ranked second in the state and the Rangers were ranked fourth. It was billed as the Clash of the Titans. In a surprisingly defensive battle the game was tied, 7-7, when HP defensive back Hudson Clark broke up a deep, 4th-down pass from QB Julian Larry to Marvin Mims with 1:29 left in the game. With 89 seconds left Scots QB Chandler Morris drove his team 53 yards to the five-yard line with one second left on the clock.
After Clark’s heroic pass break-up, he was on the sideline when a coach told him, “By the way, if it comes down to a field goal, you’ll be the kicker.” It did, he was and his 22-yard FG gave the Scots a 10-7 victory. (Clark, now an Arkansas Razorback DB, hauled in three interceptions against Ole Miss two months ago and was named the college Defensive Player of the Week. The Offensive Player of the Week was Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Pretty good company to keep.)
Fast forward to last September. HP hosted Lone Star on Friday the 13th. Mims stepped out of a phone booth and caught 11 Garret Rangel passes for 236 yards as the Rangers got their revenge against the Scots. Sure enough, they met in the third round of the playoffs and HP made sure that Mims wouldn’t beat them again. He was double teamed the entire game and still caught nine passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns, but he didn’t beat the Scots. The rest of the Lone Star supporting cast did. Garret threw for 417 yards and Trace Bruckler caught 14 passes for 183 yards as the Rangers slipped past the Scots 33-27 in overtime. It was the Scots only playoff loss in four years.
Which brings us to this Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Mr. Rangel, Mr. Bruckler and several other starters from last year’s team are back. Once again, the Rangers are one of the best teams in the state. Once again, this will be a Clash of the Titans.
Now that Marvin Mims has graduated and is a star Oklahoma Sooners receiver, the Rangers have a new one-two punch in Ashton Jeanty (#2) and Jaden Nixon (#5). These two electrifying athletes each have more than 1,000 yards of total offense under their belts and they lead the team in scoring. QB Rangel, now a junior, has thrown for 2,199 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. On top of that, the Rangers defense is outstanding, especially at inside linebacker.
In last year’s playoff game the Scots defense held the Rangers to 46 yards rushing but gave up 417 passing yards. Without one of the nation’s best receivers, the Rangers may not put up those passing numbers but they still have plenty of firepower in Jeanty and Nixon.
On paper, it looks like a game where 49 points may not be enough to win it.
The HP players have been foaming at the mouth for a year to play these guys again. If we haven’t seen the Scots’ best foot forward yet, we will on Christmas Eve.