While Highland Park was playing with its full squad for the first time, Jesuit was still shorthanded. That disparity contributed to a lopsided result, as the Scots rolled past the Rangers 63-50 in a nondistrict clash on Tuesday.
HP had the services of varsity returnees Mitchell Kaufman and Campbell Brooks, who were added to the roster after their football season finished over the weekend. Both started and made significant contributions before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Brooks had nine points and played some tenacious perimeter defense, while Kaufman tallied five points and a game-high six rebounds.
“They’ve been staying in shape. They just needed one day of practice and they were ready,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “Their leadership and experience showed.”
Meanwhile, Jesuit played without Michael McReynolds, its top scorer from a year ago, who sat on the bench in street clothes because of a foot injury.
As the Rangers (0-2) shuffled their lineup, their shooting woes resulted in just 20 points after three quarters. Combined with a 28-18 rebounding disadvantage on those missed attempts, the result was catastrophic.
“We’re still coming together. We have a lot of guys in new roles this year,” said Jesuit head coach Chris Hill. “That’s why you play these games. As long as we learn from it and build on it, then it’s all good.”
The Scots (3-3) recovered from a slow start with a 13-1 run in the second quarter to open up a 25-10 lead. The advantage was stretched to 38-15 after halftime, as the Rangers didn’t connect from the floor in the third quarter until a putback by Sam Truxal with less than a minute remaining.
Jesuit never threatened after that, as HP was able to slow the pace with a big lead. The Scots scored almost half of their points from the free-throw line, where they connected on 29 of 40 shots.
Ryan Michael paced HP with 14 points, while Pete Davis added 10 and Drake Turnbull finished with eight, all from the line.
For the Rangers, Truxal led the way with 19 points and Tyler Schlapkohl contributed nine, but both of them were scoreless at halftime.
The Scots, who placed fifth in the HP Scot Classic tournament over the weekend, will next travel to McKinney on Dec. 2. The Rangers will travel to Plano on Saturday.
Congratulations to the Armstrong Falcons third-grade football team, which recently wrapped up another undefeated season by defeating Hyer in the championship game of the Park Cities YMCA league at Curtis Park. It was the fourth straight unbeaten season for the Falcons.
MIDLOTHIAN – Waco Midway is a former Class 4A powerhouse that in recent years has transferred that dominance to the state’s largest classification. That’s the same path that Highland Park hopes to follow.
On Friday, however, the undefeated Panthers used advantages in size and speed to hold off a late HP rally and eliminate the Scots from the playoffs, 35-28, in a Division II Region II area-round showdown.
Midway scored 28 consecutive points to seize the momentum and the Scots (10-2) couldn’t keep pace. Yet their first 6A season still qualifies as an overall success, with HP barely losing a step against the improved competition.
“We had a great year and I’m very proud of our senior class,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “They did a tremendous job of leading us into 6A. We had a tremendous football team and got beat by a good football team.”
On Friday, the Scots started fast with 254 total yards and 21 points in the first quarter alone. But the final three quarters produced just 145 yards and seven points.
After trailing at halftime, the Panthers (12-0) grabbed control with three straight terrific possessions starting midway through the third quarter. The Panthers tied the score at 21 following a 43-yard scoring pass from Ben Hicks to Devontre Stricklin that capped a 98-yard drive. Eric Clayburn ran for 60 yards on seven straight carries.
Following a three-and-out for HP, Midway drove 87 yards, executing a fake punt on fourth-and-9 near midfield to keep the series alive. Two plays later, Clayburn scored from 11 yards out to give the Panthers their first lead at 28-21.
On its next possession, Midway drove 80 yards in 19 plays, culminating in a 1-yard scoring plunge by Clayburn to make the score 35-21.
Clayburn finished with 203 yards on 39 carries with four touchdowns, while Stricklin tallied 146 receiving yards on nine catches. Hicks completed 25 of 44 throws for 311 yards.
The Midway offense simply wore down a fatigued HP defense by running 106 plays from scrimmage, which accumulated 600 total yards and 35 first downs. They dominated time of possession after halftime. After all, 62 of the snaps were rushing plays.
“Their running game wound up being the difference,” Allen said. “They kept the ball and made some critical first downs on us. We had to go for it on fourth down because we didn’t think we could stop them.”
The Scots remained within striking distance in the fourth quarter after Brooks Burgin connected with Kevin Ken on an 18-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play with 6:11 remaining. But HP never threatened again.
The Scots dictated the pace in the first quarter, with Burgin scoring on a 56-yard run on the fourth play from scrimmage. The Panthers answered with a 7-yard touchdown run by Clayburn.
On its second drive, HP reached the end zone again when Burgin found Sam Welfelt in the corner of the end zone from 9 yards out.
Midway muffed the ensuing kickoff, which was recovered by HP’s Stephen Briggs, but the Scots couldn’t capitalize when a trick play resulted in a fourth-down interception by Midway’s Logan Paschal.
Still, HP mounted a 94-yard drive later in the first quarter that included a 54-yard pass from Burgin to Stephen Dieb. Burgin then found Campbell Brooks for a 16-yard score to increase the advantage to 21-7.
The Scots controlled field position for much of the night by taking advantage of the wet and windy conditions. However, the HP offense began to sputter in the second quarter, as the Scots completed just one of 11 passes and gained only 33 yards in that frame.
Burgin completed 22 of 46 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns. The two-year starter also led the Scots in rushing with 85 yards on seven attempts in his final game. Ken finished with a team-high seven receptions for 63 yards.
One theory when Highland Park jumped to Class 6A before this season was that the Scots — after many years as a 4A powerhouse — would be able to navigate the regular season just fine, but might have a harder time in the playoffs.
The second part of that hypothesis will be tested tonight, when HP meets undefeated Waco Midway in the Division II Region II area round. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium in Midlothian.
The Panthers (11-0) should be a clear step up from the opponents the Scots (10-1) are accustomed to facing in the second round, a group that in recent years has included Dallas ISD neighbors Kimball, Hillcrest, Woodrow Wilson, and South Oak Cliff. HP beat them all in lopsided fashion.
Perhaps HP will benefit from being tested during the first half its bi-district victory last week against Irving Nimitz. The Scots led by four points at halftime before pulling away for a 49-17 victory.
Brooks Burgin continued his late-season surge by passing for 257 yards and four touchdowns, including two for Kevin Ken. And the HP defense shut down the Vikings after halftime, while scoring a pivotal touchdown on an interception return by Mitchell Kaufman.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have made a successful transition to the state’s largest classification since eliminating the Scots 41-36 in the 4A regional quarterfinals in 2008. HP certainly can make a statement tonight that they’re up to a similar task, and on a more accelerated schedule.
Slowing down the Midway offense will be a challenge, even for an HP defense that has posted four shutouts this season. The fast-paced Panthers crushed Tyler Lee 76-47 in their playoff opener after leading 62-14 at halftime. They scored nine first-half touchdowns.
Midway has surpassed the 40-point barrier in each of its past nine games behind the playmaking trio of Ben Hicks (who is committed to Houston), Devontre Stricklin (who is committed to Baylor), and Eric Clayburn.
The annual Scot Classic basketball tournament is still going strong after 51 years, and this year’s event will tip-off today with a field of six boys teams and six girls teams.
Highland Park will be joined in the boys field by Lake Highlands, Midlothian, Trinity Christian, Ennis, and Austin SFA. On the girls side, HP will compete for the title alongside Trinity Christian, Woodrow Wilson, Wylie East, W.T. White, and Corsicana.
The Scots (0-1) fell to South Oak Cliff by a 79-69 score in their season opener on Tuesday. The Lady Scots (0-2) opened the season with road losses to Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath.
You can see the full schedule for the three-day tournament after the jump.
Trinity Christian vs. Austin SFA, 5:30 p.m.
Lake Highlands vs. Midlothian, 7 p.m. (North Gym)
HP vs. Ennis, 8:30 p.m.
Ennis vs. Lake Highlands, 4:30 p.m.
Midlothian vs. Trinity Christian, 6 p.m. (HPMS)
HP vs. Austin SFA, 7:30 p.m.
HP vs. Midlothian, 10:30 a.m.
Trinity Christian vs. Ennis, 10:30 a.m. (North Gym)
Austin SFA vs. Lake Highlands, 10:30 a.m. (HPMS)
Fifth-place game, 1 p.m. (HPMS)
Third-place game, 4 p.m. (HPMS)
Championship game, 4 p.m.
Trinity Christian vs. Woodrow Wilson, 4 p.m.
Wylie East vs. W.T. White, 5:30 p.m. (North Gym)
HP vs. Corsicana, 7 p.m.
Wylie East vs. Trinity Christian, 4:30 p.m. (HPMS)
HP vs. Woodrow Wilson, 6 p.m.
W.T. White vs. Corsicana, 7:30 p.m. (HPMS)
HP vs. Wylie East, 9 a.m.
W.T. White vs. Woodrow Wilson, 9 a.m. (North Gym)
Corsicana vs. Trinity Christian, 9 a.m. (HPMS)
Fifth-place game, 1 p.m.
Third-place game, 2:30 p.m. (HPMS)
Championship game, 2:30 p.m.
Congratulations to former Highland Park High School pitcher Matthew Milburn, who was named the top pitcher during fall practice for the second consecutive year at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.
Milburn, a junior, led the Terriers with 93.1 innings pitched last season. He posted a 4-6 record and a 3.95 earned-run average in 16 appearances, including 14 starts.
Whether they want it or not, this season will represent a fresh start for Highland Park boys basketball players and coaches. The Scots will make the jump to Class 6A with a roster that’s been almost completely revamped because of graduation since last year.
It’s not uncommon for HP to have some turnover at the varsity level, but the Scots will need to replace all five starters from a squad that finished 27-5 last year but was upset by Frisco Liberty in the opening round of the playoffs.
Those starters accounted for 57 of the 64 points per game HP averaged last year. None of the varsity returnees averaged more than seven minutes a game, and the two most experienced members of that group are Campbell Brooks and Mitchell Kaufman, who won’t hit the court until HP is done with the football playoffs.
As a result, head coach David Piehler will start the season with more questions than answers when the Scots host South Oak Cliff tonight.
“Until football is over, it’s probably the least experienced team I’ve had in terms of returners,” Piehler said. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill.”
Among the other varsity returnees are Stefon Jauregui, Ryan Michael, and Ryan Baker. The new faces should include guard Austin Harrison and center Ben Reichert.
Piehler said the expectations will remain high as several players make their varsity debuts after finding success at the JV level last season. He’s confident based on the way players have stepped up in the past under similar circumstances.
“There might be a learning curve, but that’s what nondistrict is about,” Piehler said. “We want to be tested.”
HP will play a difficult nondistrict schedule to prepare for a gauntlet in District 10-6A that will include Richardson Berkner and Mesquite, each of which won district titles last season.
“It’s a challenge, but we’re not going to back down or use that as an excuse,” he said.
CARROLLTON – By Highland Park’s lofty standards, the offense wasn’t functioning at full strength on Friday night.
Yet the Scots still scored 28 unanswered points and pulled away for a 49-17 win over Irving Nimitz in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs at Standridge Stadium.
So even if it wasn’t pretty, the bottom line is that HP advances to the area round, where the Scots (10-1) will meet undefeated Waco Midway (11-0) at 7:30 p.m. next Friday in Midlothian.
Against Nimitz, the Scots led just 21-17 at halftime before the defense shut out the Vikings (5-6) in the final two quarters. Mitchell Kaufman swung the momentum in HP’s favor on the opening Nimitz drive of the second half, when he returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown.
“Mitchell’s interception pretty much set the tone for the second half,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We shut down the running game and didn’t give up any big plays. The third quarter was an outstanding quarter for us.”
Brooks Burgin threw four touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter to help HP triumph by a comfortable margin.
Both of Burgin’s first-half touchdown passes went to Kevin Ken. The duo hooked up twice on HP’s first drive, and found the end zone on a 4-yard toss, and it looked like the Scots were rolling early.
But HP struggled through its next three possessions, during which it accumulated an interception, three sacks, and just one first down. Nimitz tied the game on a 1-yard run by Mark Eugene, who finished with 130 yards on 23 carries.
The Scots bounced back with their best drive of the night, going 83 yards in 15 plays midway through the second quarter, capped by a 7-yard pass from Burgin to Ken.
Less than a minute later, the Vikings responded with their biggest play of the night, with Jimmy Clark finding Sam Allen on a 65-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 14-14.
HP took the lead back on a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Matthew Barge, but the Vikings answered again in the final seconds of the first half, when a 50-yard run by Eugene set up a 33-yard field goal by freshman Jose Aguilar, who was making his varsity debut.
In the second half, however, HP ensured it wouldn’t be upset in the first round with improved efforts on both sides of scrimmage. After Kaufman’s interception made the score 28-17, Stephen Dieb scored on a 12-yard run to stretch the advantage to 35-17.
From there, the Scots took advantage of favorable field position, and Burgin connected with Sam Welfelt and Andrew Frost early in the fourth quarter to put the game away. With his final completion, Burgin reached 3,000 yards passing for the season.
“We moved the ball better in the second half,” Allen said. “I was proud of the way we responded. We were a little flat, and they played really hard. Our guys turned it around.”
Nimitz managed just 85 yards after halftime, and more than half of those came on a final drive as time ran out. The Vikings couldn’t generate much firepower after Clark left with an injury late in the third quarter and didn’t return.
For the past two months, Highland Park has proven it belongs at the Class 6A level, after rolling to a 9-1 regular-season record and a runner-up finish in District 10-6A.
Now the Scots begin an even tougher test — navigating the postseason in the state’s highest classification. That quest begins tonight, when HP battles Irving Nimitz in the Region II bi-district round.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Standridge Stadium in Carrollton, with the winner facing either Waco Midway or Tyler Lee next week in the area round.
The Scots (9-1) enter the playoffs with plenty of momentum following a 43-0 shutout of Richardson in the regular-season finale last week. HP has won four straight games, and its defense has blanked four opponents this season.
The HP offense has been particularly efficient late in the season, in large part due to the play of quarterback Brooks Burgin, who threw for 441 yards and six touchdowns a week ago. Burgin has 14 touchdown tosses and just interception in the past three games, and has been distributing the ball equally among top receivers Kevin Ken, Andrew Frost, and Campbell Brooks.
The Vikings (5-5) also have a potent quarterback in Jimmy Clark, a dual-threat senior who has thrown for 2,016 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, with just three interceptions. He also has rushed for 577 yards and four scores.
Other threats on offense include sophomore running back Mark Eugene and receivers D’Angelo Allen and Sam Berry, who caught two touchdown passes last week during a 30-23 loss to Irving MacArthur.
On defense, Nimitz is led by twin brothers Michael and Delontae Scott, who are both committed to SMU. Michael is a defensive end while Delontae plays outside linebacker.
Nimitz finished in fourth place in District 9-6A during the regular season, and is making its first playoff appearance since 2010 under first-year head coach Brian Rogers. The Vikings haven’t won a playoff game since 2002, while the Scots have won 27 during that span.
This isn’t the way it typically works: Highland Park jumps up in classification, and advances further in the volleyball playoffs than it had in any of the past three years.
Yet that’s exactly where the Lady Scots find themselves, making their first regional semifinal appearance since 2010 today in Huntsville. HP will meet The Woodlands in a Class 6A Region II semifinal match at 4:30 p.m.
The Lady Highlanders (36-3) were undefeated and won the Class 5A state title last year. The Woodlands has swept all three of its playoff opponents so far this season, including Round Rock in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
However, the Lady Scots (31-15) seem to be surging at the right time. They swept perennial power Waco Midway in the quarterfinals on Tuesday after convincing postseason wins over Irving MacArthur and Sachse.
HP’s District 10-6A rival, Richardson Pearce, will meet Austin Westlake in the second semifinal, with the two winners competing in the regional final at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
For fans who can’t travel to the match, there will be a live-stream broadcast on Sportsgram. Go to live events, and use the password “surpriseattack” to access the video.