For many years, Highland Park has been known for beating teams with a quick-strike offensive attack. On Friday, the Scots showed they are equally adept at grinding out a victory.
HP rallied from an early deficit and pulled away late for a dominating 34-6 win over Lake Highlands at Wildcat-Ram Stadium that gives the Scots sole possession of the District 10-6A lead with three games remaining.
The HP defense deserves credit for allowing just one touchdown against of the area’s top offenses, as Lake Highlands averaged 53 points in its first three district games. But perhaps the Scots offense also merits some accolades for keeping the Wildcats off the field.
That’s where the Scots showed their balance. The passing game was efficient and the rushing attack added four more touchdowns to its season total of 22 – a combination that allowed HP to dominate time of possession and wear down Lake Highlands.
“We moved the ball well,” Randy Allen said. “We know we can throw the ball, but people drop a lot of linebackers to keep us from throwing it, and that’s when you’ve got to be able to run it.”
It marks the fifth straight win for the Scots (6-1, 4-0), who will host Mesquite next week to begin a three-game stretch against opponents with losing records to finish the regular season.
Henry Allen completed 13 of his first 14 throws against the Wildcats (3-4, 3-1), with the only miss coming on an interception by T.J. Churchill near midfield that gave Lake Highlands great field position in the first quarter.
The Wildcats capitalized for the game’s opening touchdown, as Ja’Lynn Sidney found Blake Cronin for 31 yards on a halfback pass before Sidney scored on a 2-yard run.
However, Lake Highlands lacked explosive plays the rest of the game, and lacked points as well. HP rallied with 34 unanswered points, many of them coming on lengthy, time-consuming drives.
Stephen Dieb capped a 75-yard possession with a 10-yard run to give the Scots a 7-6 lead. Following a Lake Highlands punt, HP drove 84 yards, with six completions by Henry Allen leading to his 10-yard scamper into the end zone.
The Scots took advantage of Lake Highlands miscues for their other two touchdowns. A shanked punt in the third quarter led to a 1-yard scoring plunge by Henry Allen, and a fumble recovery by Turner Rejebian in the fourth quarter set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Dieb.
Will Moore added a pair of field goals, from 27 and 28 yards out, to complete the HP scoring.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats drove deep into HP territory just once in the final three quarters, but wound up turning the ball over on downs at the 23-yard line.
“I thought our defense played another great game. They gave us great field position,” Randy Allen said. “They’re starting to believe in themselves and our defensive line is starting to play really well. It’s all beginning to fit together.”
Dieb again paced the Scots offense with 112 rushing yards on 19 carries, while Chris Buell was the top receiver with eight catches for 71 yards. Henry Allen connected on 22 of 31 passes for 204 yards.
Lake Highlands had trouble sustaining drives with its rushing game. Dual-threat quarterback Brendyn Gettens led the Wildcats with 13 carries for 87 yards, while Sidney added 66 yards on 12 attempts.