None of the contenders in District 10-6A have been able to trip up Highland Park this season, and Friday showed that Mother Nature can’t stop the Scots, either.
HP used another stellar second-half defensive effort to pull away from Mesquite for a 35-14 win at a soggy Highlander Stadium.
The Scots (7-1, 5-0) won their sixth consecutive game and remained atop the district standings heading into their final home game next week against Richardson Berkner.
HP fought through some adverse weather conditions that included a steady rain throughout the game and a 75-minute delay early in the second quarter.
“I thought our defense played great in the second half, like they always do,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “They just do whatever it takes to win. This was a hard game to stay mentally focused, and they did a great job of that.”
The moisture might explain why Scots quarterback Henry Allen completed just seven of 19 passes for 112 yards. But three of those completions went for touchdowns, and Allen ran for another score to power HP.
Two of Henry Allen’s touchdown passes went to Cy McCullough. The pair hooked up from 9 yards out on HP’s opening possession and connected again on an 8-yard pass midway through the third quarter.
However, the defense was the star for the Scots. After another shaky start, HP limited a high-powered Mesquite offense to just 50 total yards in the second half and forced four turnovers.
It’s become an uncanny pattern for the HP defense, which has posted a second-half shutout in three of its five district wins.
Three of the four turnovers didn’t result in any points, but they derailed any chance the Skeeters (3-5, 2-3) had to mount a rally after halftime.
With HP leading 28-14, Andrew Petrucelli intercepted a tipped screen pass near midfield on Mesquite’s opening possession of the third quarter.
The next drive for the Skeeters ended on a Matthew Barge fumble recovery, and Henry Allen found Chris Buell on a 39-yard scoring pass two plays later to put the game out of reach.
But the Scots weren’t finished. Josh Block fell on a Mesquite fumble late in the third quarter, and Joseph Sweeney intercepted an errant wide-receiver pass in the fourth. HP also blocked a punt deep in Mesquite territory.
Those miscues gave the Scots favorable field position for much of the game. Stephen Dieb again was the workhorse on the ground, with 20 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Chance Fisher paced the Skeeters with 117 rushing yards. He capped the most impressive Mesquite drive of the night — 15 running plays covering 82 yards — with a game-tying 3-yard touchdown plunge in the second quarter.
However, Mesquite never scored again. Dual-threat quarterback Anthony Tennison rushed for 96 yards, but he was ineffective after halftime, and completed just four passes in the game for 36 yards.