Benner Page and Highland Park scored six touchdowns during the first three quarters of Thursday’s convincing victory over Mansfield Timberview. (Photo: Chris McGathey)
MANSFIELD — Win or lose, Friday’s regular-season finale didn’t have any postseason ramifications for Highland Park. But it still carried plenty of meaning for HP players and coaches.
The celebratory looks on their faces spoke volumes about finishing a perfect 10-0, something the Scots achieved with a dominating 42-7 victory over Mansfield Timberview on Thursday at Newsom Stadium.
HP secured its first unbeaten regular-season mark since 2011. It’s one of the few milestones the Scots didn’t reach during their back-to-back state championship seasons.
Overall, HP will carry a 25-game winning streak into its bi-district game in the Class 5A Region II playoffs next week. As the champion from District 6-5A Division I, the Scots will host the first-round matchup at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 against an opponent to be determined.
Junior quarterback Chandler Morris tossed two touchdown passes and also ran for a score to lead the HP offense, which didn’t seem to mind the rainy conditions.
Morris connected with Finn Corwin on a 65-yard scoring strike on the game’s opening possession. In the second quarter, HP pulled away after Morris found Bennett Brown for a 12-yard score. Moments later, a successful onside kick set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Benner Page.
The final numbers were modest by Morris’ standards, as he completed just eight of 17 throws for 143 yards while rushing for 39 yards before heading to the bench early in the second half, along with the rest of HP’s starters, due to the lopsided margin.
Timberview already had clinched a postseason berth prior to the game. The Wolves (5-5, 4-3) rotated a trio of quarterbacks in place of injured starter Jordan Davis, and couldn’t muster much offense as a result.
The HP defense forced three turnovers, including a pair of fumble recoveries by Colby Hopkins, one of which set up a Hunter Heath touchdown in the third quarter. Shortly afterward, McClain Matter grabbed an interception on a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. Remarkably, the Scots have exactly three takeaways in each of their last five games.
In addition, HP limited the high-powered Timberview rushing attack to only 62 yards. Sophomore quarterback Darnell Jones broke the shutout with an 8-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.
Heath contributed a game-high 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just five carries after halftime for the Scots, for an average of more than 23 yards per attempt.
HP defeated Timberview for the third consecutive season and also earned its second win at Newsom Stadium this year, after beating Mansfield Legacy four weeks ago.