Highland Park took over sole possession of the District 15-5A lead with a win over West Mesquite last week.
But a closer look at the standings shows a three-way tie for second place involving the Wranglers and North Forney — the two teams HP has beaten in the past two games — along with Mesquite Poteet, who will face the Scots on Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
In other words, a win this week would put HP in complete control of its own destiny with regard to another district title.
Poteet could present the biggest challenge of this three-game gauntlet for the Scots (5-1, 3-0), since it’s on the road and follows on the heels of two emotional home wins. The Pirates (3-3, 2-1) have traditionally played HP tough.
However, Poteet has problems of its own following a home loss to North Forney a week ago, which saw new Falcons head coach Randy Jackson get the better of his former squad.
HP certainly has momentum after a dominating 38-17 triumph over West Mesquite, in which quarterback John Stephen Jones continued his sizzling play with three touchdown passes and a rushing score.
Two of those went to Paxton Alexander as the Scots continued to show balance and efficiency on offense, even against one of the top defensive units in the Dallas area. Conner Allen and Cade Saustad also reached the end zone for HP, which has scored more than 50 points per game without committing a turnover in three district games. Noble Nash led the defense with a key interception.
Poteet is led by dual-threat quarterback Dalton Dale, who has thrown just five touchdown passes but has four more on the ground. Cam Lampkin is a versatile weapon who is among the team leaders in passing, rushing, and receiving. Other threats include running back Dez Bridgeford and receiver Da’Michael Smith.
While the Pirates have a high-powered offense, however, the defense has been vulnerable. Poteet has allowed at least 35 points in five of its six games.
Last year’s matchup had similar implications, with HP rallying for a 40-29 victory at Highlander Stadium. The Scots, of course, went on to win the Class 5A Division I state title, while Poteet advanced to the state semifinals in Division II.