The regular-season finale will have a familiar anticlimactic ring for Highland Park.
When the Scots meet Richardson tonight at Highlander Stadium, they will be tuning up for the playoffs, allowing fans one more chance to see them play at home, and saluting their dozens of outgoing seniors. The outcome won’t impact their postseason seeding.
Richardson, on the other hand, must pull the upset in order to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. So the Eagles (4-5, 3-3) will have plenty of incentive.
Other games in District 10-6A will impact the potential first-round playoff opponent for the Scots (8-1, 5-1). Essentially, if HP beats Richardson, then Richardson Pearce and Lake Highlands would claim the final two spots in the district, behind Mesquite Horn and HP.
Based on enrollment, the Scots and Pearce would be in the Division II bracket, while Horn and Lake Highlands would be in Division I. Since the postseason berths are already decided in District 9-6A, that means the Scots would meet Irving Nimitz, while Pearce would face Jesuit.
Richardson needs help from other district foes (it’s complicated) on Friday to make the playoffs. Under that scenario, Pearce would be knocked out, and Horn would slide to Division II to face Nimitz. The Scots would play Jesuit.
So it’s probable that HP and Nimitz will face one another in the bi-district round, in a game that likely would be played on Nov. 14 at Standridge Stadium in Carrollton.
But before we look that far ahead, the Scots will try to keep some momentum today with a fourth consecutive victory. HP looked dominant in back-to-back road wins against Mesquite and Berkner, and has scored at least 47 points in six of nine games this season while holding its opponent to 10 or fewer points six times as well.
Brooks Burgin is in especially good form right now. In last week’s 55-10 win over the Rams, Burgin threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns as the Scots rallied from an early deficit. He also had three scoring passes against Mesquite in addition to a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Kevin Ken has emerged as the top receiving target for HP, leading the team in receptions (51), yards (717), and touchdowns (seven). However, Andrew Frost, Campbell Brooks, and Sam Welfelt each have at least 20 catches and multiple scores.
Richardson has won two close games in a row, including a 31-28 victory over Mesquite last week that knocked the Skeeters out of playoff contention.
In that game, the Eagles rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter on a pair of touchdown passes from Michael Johnson to Kahlil Lacy, including an 87-yard game-winner.
For the most part, however, Richardson relies on the rushing game, with Daevon Woods and Zac Smith each surpassing the 100-yard mark at various times this year.