Of all its new opponents in District 10-6A this season, none has a bigger history against Highland Park than Richardson Pearce.
HP and the Mustangs have met numerous times in almost every sport, including football, giving tonight’s 7:30 p.m. matchup at Highlander Stadium some points of reference.
A couple of things have prevented a full-fledged gridiron rivalry, depending on your definition of the term. Pearce has bounced back and forth between classifications a couple of times during the past decade to interrupt continuity, and the Scots have dominated the series.
Most recently, the two schools were district foes for six straight years between 2006 and 2011, with HP winning every year. The final three clashes, however, were close contests, resulting in an average margin of victory of 9.3 points.
Such drama might be lacking in tonight’s contest, which will continue the Scots’ first season of 6A competition. HP (4-0, 1-0) rallied after a slow start to post a 29-9 road win over North Mesquite last week in its district opener.
The Mustangs (1-3, 0-1) have allowed an average of 48 points per game in its last three outings, including a 48-30 defeat against previously winless Richardson in its league opener.
Most of the firepower for Pearce comes from the arm of Austin Noland, who has thrown for 579 yards and five touchdowns, with three interceptions through four games. He’s part of a two-quarterback system with dual-threat Hank Hughes, who also leads the fledgling Pearce rushing attack.
The Scots, of course, have surrendered nine or fewer points in three of their four victories. Brooks Burgin has thrown 11 touchdown passes, including four apiece to Campbell Brooks and Kevin Ken, and also has rushed for four scores.
Meanwhile, Stephen Dieb has emerged as a legitimate rushing threat for HP after posting a career-high 140 yards and a touchdown last week against the Stallions.