Finn Corwin finished his Highland Park career by catching a touchdown pass on Saturday against Alvin Shadow Creek in the Class 5A Division I championship game. (Photo: Chris McGathey)
Numbers prove that Randy Allen is one of the most successful coaches in Texas high school football history. Perhaps he’s also clairvoyant.
When he came back to the Highland Park sidelines following a brief retirement in March, he must have known the Scots had a legitimate chance to win their third consecutive Class 5A Division I state championship.
Allen and his players did just that in the most emphatic way possible — completing a perfect season with a 27-17 victory over upstart Alvin Shadow Creek in the title game on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
This year’s Scots (16-0) won more games than any other squad in program history. And they became just the second HP team to finish a season undefeated.
“Three consecutive state championships has been very difficult, but they found a way to do it,” Allen said. “It is amazing because of how difficult it is to go back. Our players and coaches met every challenge.”
Junior quarterback Chandler Morris was named the offensive MVP in the championship game after connecting on 23 of 35 passes for 262 yards and three scores. He surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the season, and remained unbeaten as a varsity starter.
Once again, his primary target was Finn Corwin, who caught 12 passes for 142 yards and a score. He also had a touchdown catch overturned by instant replay in the second half.
“Everyone is just trying to do their part,” Corwin said. “We wanted our legacy to end on top, and to be the best team in Highland Park history.”
The defense was outstanding as well, forcing four turnovers — including two interceptions by Whit Winfield — while breaking a UIL championship game record with nine sacks. Four of those were by Prince Dorbah, who was named the game’s defensive MVP.
The Scots neutralized the speed of Shadow Creek and contained the scrambling of dual-threat quarterback Jamarian George. The Sharks (15-1) managed just one drive of more than 16 yards in the first three quarters.
Experience under pressure might have played a factor in the fast start for the Scots. Corwin returned the opening kickoff 59 yards to the Shadow Creek 28-yard line. Less than a minute later, Morris hit Bennett Brown with an 8-yard scoring pass to give HP a lead it never relinquished.
Shadow Creek’s defense turned the tide a few minutes later, when Xavion Alford intercepted a pass and returned it to the HP 12. The Sharks took advantage of the favorable field position two plays later, when George threw a touchdown pass to Jared Jackson to make the score 7-6.
Following an HP punt, Winfield grabbed his first interception deep in HP territory. The Scots drove 91 yards in eight plays, including a 75-yard hookup between Morris and Corwin on third-and-long.
Then HP went deep into its playbook for a 3-yard scoring toss from Morris to Sam Morse, who lined up at tight end and secured his first of two key catches in the game.
Following a Shadow Creek field goal, the Scots extended the margin to 21-9 on a 24-yard scoring pass from Morris to Corwin, who employed a nifty spin move to reach the end zone.
On the next Shadow Creek drive, HP’s Colby Hopkins intercepted a deflected pass near midfield, leading to a 36-yard field goal by Wesley Winters that extended the advantage to 24-9 shortly before halftime.
While the HP offense added just three points in the second half, the defense made sure those tallies stood up.
Hudson Clark picked off a pass near midfield early in the fourth quarter to stop one Shadow Creek scoring opportunity, and Winfield’s second interception in the closing minutes secured the final margin.
George provided a bright spot for the Sharks with a 99-yard touchdown run on a third-down scramble in the fourth quarter. It kept Shadow Creek within striking distance, and provided more than a third of the team’s total yardage on one play.
However, the Scots shut down any subsequent scoring chances thanks in large part to Dorbah, whose final sack of the game came on a fourth-down play with 4:02 remaining.
Shadow Creek, part of Alvin ISD south of Houston, certainly overachieved in its first varsity season, reaching the state title game under head coach Brad Butler, who was a standout quarterback when Allen was the coach at Brownwood in the late 1980s.
“He is a true professional, always in control of his emotions,” Butler said. “I’ve tried to be as steady as I can and treat players with respect like he does.”
George finished 13-of-21 passing for just 87 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. He wound up with a game-high 79 rushing yards, too, with the long scamper negating the yardage lost on sacks.
For the Scots, Benner Page rushed for 77 yards on 21 attempts, pushing him past the 1,000-yard barrier for the season.
The Scots became just the 18th school in the state to ever earn three consecutive championships in any classification. The team’s winning streak now stands at 31 games and counting.
HP checked every box on its list of goals this year. And it happened only because of contributions from all over the field. By asserting their dominance, the Scots made history.