Scots Overwhelm Pearce to Remain Perfect

Highland Park's Stephen Briggs had an interception and a long punt return against Richardson Pearce. (Photo: Chris McGathey)
HP’s Stephen Briggs had an interception and a long punt return against Richardson Pearce. Click the photo to see more from the game. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

A week ago, Highland Park needed to rally after a slow start to win its District 10-6A opener. On Friday against Richardson Pearce, there were no such issues.

The Scots overwhelmed the Mustangs from the get-go and earned their third shutout of the season with a 56-0 homecoming victory at Highlander Stadium.

Stephen Dieb posted his second straight 100-yard rushing game, this time finishing with 108 yards on just nine carries with four touchdowns — all in the first half. By the time he reached the end zone on the final play of the second quarter, the Scots built a 42-0 advantage.

“We were in sync throwing the ball and running the ball,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “I’m also real proud of our defense.”

They scored touchdowns on seven of their first eight possessions, and the only time the Scots (5-0, 2-0) didn’t hit paydirt, they drove inside the Pearce 5-yard line before coughing up a fumble.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs (1-4, 0-2) crossed midfield only once, and that was on the opening drive of the game, which ended with Mitchell Kaufman intercepting an ill-advised fourth-down pass and returning it 61 yards for a score. For the senior linebacker, it was his second touchdown this season and fifth of his career.

The HP offense picked up the momentum from there, racking up 373 total yards before halftime. Brooks Burgin threw his only touchdown pass on the Scots’ first possession, hitting Kevin Ken on a 5-yard strike. The pair has connected five times on touchdown passes already this year.

Dieb crossed the goal line to cap four of the next five drives for the Scots, including a 49-yard scamper in the final minute of the first quarter. His three touchdowns in the second quarter came on runs of 2, 19, and 5 yards.

The game couldn’t have been scripted better for HP, which was able to rest its starters in the second half prior to a key showdown against fellow 10-6A title contender Mesquite Horn next week.

“Going into the Horn game, we’re playing pretty good football,” Allen said. “Next week is our big challenge. Our guys knew it when the season started. We’ll have to be at our very best.”

The Scots were terrific on defense again, limiting Pearce to 147 total yards and forcing three turnovers. The Mustangs completed just nine of 29 passes and gained an average of two yards per pass attempt.

Stephen Briggs had an interception in the second quarter and also returned a punt 49 yards after halftime. Jeremy Tillman recovered a fumble.

HP tacked on two touchdowns in the third quarter, one on a 14-yard pass from Will Jackson to Jeffrey Kupp, and the other on a 4-yard run by Hayden Black.

It was the 82nd consecutive home win for HP, which remained perfect as the regular season reached the midway point.

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