The biggest challenge left in the regular season for Highland Park might be staying focused.
The Scots can clinch a playoff spot if they win their final road game of the season tonight against last-place Richardson Berkner, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Wildcat-Ram Stadium.
At this point, it appears HP will likely get the top seed in the Division II bracket from the district, since league champion Mesquite Horn will go to the Division I bracket.
Some shuffling still could occur among the logjam of teams below those top two, but the key is the fate of Richardson Pearce, which looks to be in decent shape for making the playoffs, and thus — based on enrollment — would go to Division II behind the Scots.
That means that in the bi-district round, the best guess has HP facing the winner of tonight’s game between Irving Nimitz and W.T. White, which will likely determine the fourth playoff seed in District 9-6A. If Pearce somehow falls out of the playoff picture, Horn would be bumped to Division II and HP likely would meet Jesuit, which currently is tied for second place in 9-6A and looks poised to claim the top Division II seed from that district.
So now the Scots (7-1, 4-1) will try to keep building momentum for their inaugural postseason run at the Class 6A level. All four of their league wins have been by margins of 20 or more points, including a 45-14 drubbing of Mesquite last week.
In that game, Brooks Burgin had perhaps his most efficient game of the season, completing more than 80 percent of his passes with three touchdowns. He also ran for a game-high 77 yards and two scores.
He keeps distributing the ball fairly evenly among his top four receivers — Kevin Ken, Andrew Frost, Campbell Brooks, and Sam Welfelt — who have combined for 1,844 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Rams (2-6, 0-5) have dropped six games in a row following a 2-0 start, but they’ve had some close losses during that span, including a 27-24 defeat against rival Richardson last week.
However, the Berkner offense hasn’t scored more than 24 points in any of its 10-6A games. The Rams are led by quarterback Davis Steelman (1,288 passing yards) and running back CaDarius Edwards (845 rushing yards).
Highland Park High School alums Clayton and Ellen Kershaw have built quite a portfolio when it comes to philanthropy and community involvement. Their latest effort will be co-chairing the 30th annual CARE breakfast on Monday at the Omni Hotel.
The fundraiser for the Dallas-based nonprofit Chemical Awareness, Resources & Education will include a presentation by Chris Herren, a former Boston Celtics player whose basketball career was cut short by substance abuse. His story was the subject of a powerful documentary that aired recently on ESPN.
The event starts at 8 a.m. Tickets and table sponsorships are available by calling 214-526-8986 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015 season for Scots Baseball Club doesn’t get underway until next spring, but in the spirit of planning ahead, the youth organization will hold open tryouts beginning this weekend for kids ages 6-18.
Tryouts are slated for Nov. 1, Nov. 8, and Nov. 15 at Scotland Yard at Highland Park High School. You can visit here to request a tryout by filling out the registration form.
After a runner-up finish in District 10-6A play, Highland Park is ready for its first run into the Class 6A volleyball playoffs.
On Tuesday, the Lady Scots (28-11) fell in four sets to district champion Richardson Pearce (25-22, 25-19, 11-25, 25-23) for the second time this season. That left HP in second place, meaning it will meet the third-place team from District 9-6A.
The opponent won’t be determined until Irving Nimitz and Irving MacArthur break their tie later this week, with the Lady Scots taking on the lower-seeded of those teams. The bi-district match will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Duncanville.
In the meantime, HP will play a postseason warm-up match at Waxahachie at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The Highland Park volleyball team has been waiting more than three weeks for a rematch with Richardson Pearce, after the Mustangs handed the Lady Scots their only District 10-6A loss in four sets on Oct. 3.
HP will get the chance for revenge tonight, as Pearce and HP meet in Richardson with the district title on the line. The Mustangs (31-10, 13-0) can win the district outright with a victory, while the Lady Scots (27-11, 12-1) can clinch a share of the crown if they prevail.
If the two teams wind up tied, they can either flip a coin or hold a tiebreaker match to determine playoff seeding. Looking ahead to the bi-district round next Tuesday, the top seed in 10-6A likely will meet Skyline, while the second seed would face either Irving MacArthur or Irving Nimitz.
Highland Park Middle School student Alexandra Thornton finished second in her age group in the recent International Youth Invitational weightlifting meet at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Thornton was second in the snatch (51 kilograms), clean and jerk (66 kg) and overall total (117 kg). I could provide more analysis, but it’s probably just better to let the above video speak for itself.
Congratulations to former Highland Park standout Matthew Stafford, who broke the record for career touchdown passes by a Detroit Lions quarterback on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons in London.
Stafford tossed his 119th career scoring pass to Golden Tate in the third quarter of the Lions’ 22-21 victory. The old record of 118 was held by Bobby Layne, a fellow HP alum and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Stafford, who led the Scots to the Class 4A state title in 2005, is in his sixth season with the Lions, and the fourth as a full-time starter.
Plus, Sunday’s game offered this amusing bit of creativity involving Stafford from the graphics folks at Fox, which broadcast the game.
MESQUITE – Despite boasting an elite quarterback and deep receiving corps, the Highland Park offense seems to function best when it achieves a reasonable balance between rushing and passing.
The Scots did that on Friday, and the result was an efficient 45-14 win over Mesquite at Hanby Stadium that solidified HP’s hold on second place in District 10-6A.
Brooks Burgin accounted for five touchdowns in one of his best games this season. He tossed three touchdown passes and ran for two more. As a team, the Scots (7-1, 4-1) finished with 229 yards passing and 201 on the ground.
“I was proud of the way we ran the ball, because they were trying to take the passing game away from us,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We’re going to have to run the ball better to be good against the outstanding teams we’re going to see in the playoffs, so it was good to see us get 200 yards rushing.”
HP was dominant in the first half, when it took a 28-0 lead. Burgin, who tallied a game-high 78 rushing yards, scored on a 53-yard run late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Burgin connected with Kevin Ken on a 9-yard touchdown pass and Andrew Frost on a 22-yarder, the latter set up by a lengthy punt return by Stephen Briggs.
The Scots tacked on another score in the final minute of the first half, after Michael Thornton recovered a fumble at the Mesquite 26-yard line. Burgin found Frost for 25 yards over the middle, then plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out on the next play.
“Brooks is getting into the groove,” Allen said. “He’s looking like he can run it or throw it, and I think that makes our offense so much better.”
Meanwhile, the HP defense limited Mesquite to 68 total yards before halftime and did not allow the Skeeters (2-6, 2-3) to cross midfield until the third quarter.
The Mesquite offense showed signs of life in the third quarter, opening with a 76-yard drive capped by a 39-yard scoring pass from Dazmon Scott to Chance Fisher, the first of two touchdown strikes for Scott in the second half.
However, the Scots followed with their most sustained drive of the game, covering 68 yards and ending with a looping 20-yard touchdown pass from Burgin to Matthew Barge.
The next possession showed more of the quick-strike ability of HP, as Hayden Black took a counter play 46 yards for a rushing touchdown to increase the margin to 42-7.
The Scots added a 28-yard field goal by Grayson Borrego in the fourth quarter, which was his second of the season. Borrego lined up for a 37-yard try on HP’s opening drive of the game, but a fumbled snap squandered that opportunity.
The Scots will play their final road game of the regular season next week when they travel to face Richardson Berkner.
Who would have thought the defense would be the most consistent factor this season for Highland Park?
That unit was lacking experience, changing coordinators, and had various other excuses to become a weak link during the Scots’ first season at the Class 6A level.
Yet the defense, for the most part, has been stellar. Another example came last week during a 34-7 win over Lake Highlands. That marked the fifth time in seven games that HP held an opponent to single-digit points, with three shutouts in the mix.
In the two other games, the Scots allowed 42 points to high-powered Pulaski Academy from Little Rock — who is currently 6-1 and has scored at least 49 points in every other game, by the way — and in a loss to Mesquite Horn.
Tonight, the Scots (6-1, 3-1) will travel to face Mesquite, an inconsistent outfit that remains in contention for one of the final two playoff spots in 10-6A. It will be the third trip to Hanby Stadium for HP in the past five weeks.
A week ago, the Skeeters (2-5, 2-2) scored three times in the fourth quarter during a 28-7 win over struggling Richardson Berkner. But they haven’t shown the ability this season to stop an offense as powerful as the Scots.
HP bounced back nicely from the Horn loss last week by scoring 34 unanswered points against the Wildcats. The Scots remain in sole possession of second place in the 10-6A standings, and while they can’t technically clinch a postseason berth tonight, their final three opponents have a combined overall record of 5-16.
Highland Park easily cleared the first hurdle in its attempt to claim a 16th state team tennis title when the Scots swept three opponents at the District 10-6A tournament this week at Fair Oaks Tennis Center.
HP defeated Sunset and Richardson Berkner by identical 10-0 scores on Tuesday, then rolled past Lake Highlands 10-0 in the title match on Wednesday.
The Scots will compete in the Class 6A Region II tournament, which begins Oct. 31 in Mansfield, to earn a state berth next month in College Station.