ARLINGTON — Statistically speaking, Kimball had one of the top defenses in the Dallas area this season. But the Knights hadn’t faced an offense as potent as that of Highland Park.
The Scots kept their postseason run alive by rolling to a 58-21 win on Thursday in a Class 4A Division I Region II area round game at AT&T Stadium.
The Scots ran their winning streak to 11 games by showcasing some versatility on offense. While they relied mostly on the run during a 38-17 victory over The Colony in their playoff opener, on Thursday they found the most success in the passing game.
Brooks Burgin threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those scoring passes going to Kevin Ken. Burgin also ran for two scores.
Sam Welfelt also caught a pair of second-half touchdown passes for HP, one each from Burgin and John Robert Gilley, as the Scots (11-1) surpassed the 50-point mark for the fifth time this season.
HP will face either McKinney North or Mansfield Legacy next week in the regional quarterfinals, seeking to advance past the third round for the first time in six years. The game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Nov. 29, again at AT&T Stadium.
“We’ve been playing really well,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “I thought we had some big plays from our guys in the passing game, and I thought Brooks made some good decisions.”
The HP defense also did its part by forcing four turnovers. One resulted directly in a touchdown, when Boomer Bakich recovered a bad punt snap by the Knights in the opening minute of the second quarter.
After that touchdown, Ken turned from receiver to passer, finding Burgin on a flea-flicker for the two-point conversion to make the score 17-0.
It was the first of three second-quarter touchdowns for HP, which stretched the lead to 31-7 at halftime.
HP took control of the game early by dominating field position and time of possession. After settling for a 34-yard field goal by Will Sanders on its first drive, the Scots drove 56 yards for their first touchdown on their next possession.
When the rushing game stalled, HP made big plays through the air. Burgin found Chris Moize on a 33-yard pass on a third-and-21 play to the Kimball 6-yard line. After three running plays failed to find the end zone, Burgin hooked up with Ken on fourth down from the 2.
Kimball scored its only touchdown of the first half on a 51-yard run by Darius Morgan on an option play. But HP responded about two minutes later with a 25-yard scoring pass from Burgin to Ken.
The next Kimball drive resulted in an interception by HP’s Steven Briggs at the Kimball 18. Five plays later, the Scots found the end zone again on a 4-yard touchdown plunge by Burgin.
The Knights (7-5) started the second half with a scoring drive that culminated in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Ladarryl Blair to Kedarian Jones.
However, the Scots fired back with perhaps their best drive of the game, highlighted by a 44-yard pass from Burgin to Andrew Frost. Burgin capped the possession with a 1-yard scoring run to extend the advantage to 38-14 midway through the third quarter.
Kimball’s last gasp came when Blair was sacked on fourth down on the ensuing possession at the Kimball 24-yard line. Burgin found Welfelt for a score on the next play.
The Scots scored twice more in the fourth quarter, with Welfelt catching a 10-yard pass from Gilley and Hayden Black adding an 18-yard run.
In the final minute of the game, Blair found Jones again for a 14-yard touchdown for Kimball. Jones finished with four receptions for a game-high 89 yards, but Blair completed just seven of 20 passes in the game.
Meanwhile, HP utilized eight different receivers on its 18 completions as part of an efficient attack that included no turnovers and no punts.
Cole Feigl, who rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns for HP against The Colony, was limited to just 50 yards on Thursday. But the Scots didn’t miss a beat.
Mitchell Kaufman and Daniel Gouskos each recovered fumbles in the fourth quarter for the HP defense.