HP Looks to Keep Rolling Against Summit

Marshall Ballard and the Highland Park defense will face another tough test on Friday against Mansfield Summit. (Photo: Melissa Macatee)

As the calendar turns to December, Highland Park looks more focused than ever on repeating its Class 5A Division I state title from a year ago.

The Scots put together a dominant all-around effort during a 73-20 thrashing of McKinney North last weekend in the Region II area round, extending their winning streak to 11 games.

Next up will be Mansfield Summit in the regional semifinals on Friday at SMU’s Ford Stadium, which will be HP’s first outdoor playoff game since a 2015 loss to Waco Midway.

HP, which is closing in on its 100th postseason win in program history, again will be led by quarterback John Stephen Jones, who continues to produce eye-popping statistics. He passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more against the Bulldogs.

Paxton Alexander rushed for 137 yards, caught a scoring pass, and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. And Cade Saustad caught another scoring pass, giving him nine in his past four games.

Included in the season-best scoring outburst, the HP defense and special teams also produced points last week. Besides Alexander’s return of the opening kickoff, Zak Folts returned an interception for a touchdown and James Herring took a blocked extra point to the end zone, which resulted in two points for the Scots (11-1).

It will be the first-ever meeting between the Scots and the Jaguars (8-4), who finished in third place in a very competitive District 10-5A during the regular season — ahead of two HP nondistrict opponents, Waxahachie and Mansfield Timberview.

Summit has shown some resolve on defense this season, holding five of its foes to three points or fewer. The Jaguars have won their two playoff games by a combined margin of 90-2.

Summit advanced to the third round for the first time since 2004 with a 69-0 victory over Spruce last week. The Jaguars are one of four Mansfield ISD teams still remaining in postseason play.

Richard Chark (1,185 yards, 19 touchdowns) and Bryce Nyumah (755 yards, seven touchdowns) lead a powerful rushing attack for Summit that accumulated 460 yards against overmatched Spruce. Dual-threat quarterback Brysen McKinney also has been effective, throwing 16 touchdown passes and running for 12 scores.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Click here for information on tickets, parking, and other stadium helpful hints.

The winner of Friday’s game will meet either Mansfield Lake Ridge (11-1) or Prosper (10-2) next week in the regional final.

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