Deep playoff run for Scots football ends with New Year’s Day loss to Denton Ryan
Even during a pandemic-altered season, playing high school football into January is no small feat.
So although Highland Park fell short of its ultimate goal this season, the Scots navigated a season of unprecedented obstacles with uncommon dexterity, resulting in another deep playoff run.
HP’s season ended on New Year’s Day with its first and only loss in a 17-7 defensive struggle against Denton Ryan in the Class 5A Division I quarterfinals in Arlington. The scoring output was the lowest for the Scots (11-1) since the 2013 season opener against Aledo.
Still, HP showed remarkable resilience during a year filled with hurdles. The Scots posted double-digit wins for the eighth consecutive season and claimed a sixth straight district title, among other accomplishments.
“You play as long as you can, and when you play a team that has a better night than you did, you’re eliminated,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We had a great season — unlike any we’ve ever had. These guys exceeded my expectations, and this senior class will be long remembered.”
Those seniors helped keep the Scots on track during a year of tumultuous circumstances, mostly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The offseason routine, which typically runs like clockwork, was thrown into disarray.
Then came an inauspicious start to the season. After some last-minute schedule shuffling, HP wound up backing out of its first two games — including a high-profile matchup with perennial power Austin Westlake — because of a spike in positive COVID-19 tests within the program. The need to quarantine was linked to player attendance at an off-campus gathering, according to HPISD officials.
The season finally got underway in early October, with the Scots shaking off some rust during a 42-36 win over Coppell. Then they found their stride in a hurry.
Starting with a dominating performance against Rockwall the next week, the HP defense didn’t allow more than 21 points in any game for the rest of the season. The Scots swept through the District 7-5A schedule unblemished — earning an 18-13 road win against Longview in the process.
This HP team became known for its dominant first-quarter performances. In their 11 wins, the Scots remarkably outscored their opponents by a combined 220-9 in the first frame.
Those lopsided margins led to valuable minutes for backups to help build depth and pave the way for the state’s all-time winningest program to keep rolling.
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