Scots Crush Overmatched Tigers in Playoffs

Jack Toohey scored one of 10 touchdowns for Highland Park during a 70-2 win over Mount Pleasant on Saturday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)
Jack Toohey scored one of 10 touchdowns for Highland Park during a 70-2 playoff win over Mount Pleasant on Saturday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

FRISCO — You don’t want to make Highland Park angry.

Still stewing after an upset loss to Wylie East in the regular-season finale eight days earlier, the Scots did their best Incredible Hulk impersonation in their playoff opener on Saturday. Mount Pleasant, which was overmatched even without the proverbial chip on HP’s collective shoulders, was the victim.

The result was a dominating 70-2 win for the Scots in a Class 5A Division I bi-district game at the Ford Center at The Star.

HP advances to meet Frisco Independence in the Region II area round on Nov. 18 at The Star, which is the new practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys. The high-scoring Knights won their first postseason game in program history against McKinney North on Friday.

The Scots (9-2) controlled all facets of the game against Mount Pleasant. The balanced offense accumulated 516 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, while the defense allowed just 65 total yards and two first downs — one of which came on the last play of the game.

“We were anxious to get back on the field and prove what kind of football team we had,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “Our team was a little angry. Hopefully we made some amends and got back on the right track.”

The Tigers (3-8) grabbed a postseason berth by virtue of winning their final two games following a 1-7 start. But their rushing game was swallowed up by the defensive front of the Scots. Mount Pleasant averaged only 1.3 yards per play, had just six yards passing, never crossed midfield, and punted 10 times.

That combination led to consistently favorable field position for the HP offense, which took full advantage. John Stephen Jones threw for 240 yards and four touchdowns on 13 completions before exiting midway through the third quarter. He also ran for a score.

As a team, the Scots tallied 268 yards on the ground and six touchdowns among six different ball carriers.

One of them was Jack Kozmetsky, who finished with a game-high 103 yards on 10 carries. He also caught two touchdown passes for an offense that carved out large chunks of yardage throughout the game.

It was the largest margin of victory for HP since a 69-0 win over Rockwall-Heath in 2006, and was a performance reflective of a team that could be poised for a deep playoff run.

“The teams that stay in it are the teams that get on a roll right now,” Allen said. “We need to be playing our best football.”

On the opening drive of the game, the Scots converted a third-and-33 with a pass from Jones to Cade Saustad. Then a 16-yard touchdown run by Jones, along with a two-point conversion, got HP on the scoreboard quickly.

The Tigers scored their only points on a safety, when the Scots were flagged for an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone. That made the score 8-2 in the first quarter, but HP followed by finding paydirt on its next four possessions over a 10-minute span, and suddenly the margin ballooned to 36-2 midway through the second quarter.

Included in that stretch were three Jones touchdown strikes in the span of six minutes — to Jack Toohey, Saustad, and Kozmetsky.

The other rushing touchdowns came from Jacob Urbanczyk, Michael Clarke, Jack Fain, and Cameron Reeves. Clarke’s score was set up by a Luke Blanton fumble recovery in the third quarter.

The Scots scored the game’s final 62 points despite playing their reserves for most of the second half.

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