Playing an overmatched Irving squad was beneficial on multiple fronts for Highland Park on Friday.
The Scots rolled to a 63-3 victory at Highlander Stadium that quickly erased the sting of a loss to Lake Highlands in the District 7-6A opener six days earlier.
HP’s first league win was lopsided from the get-go, enabling second- and third-team players to see significant action on both sides of scrimmage.
“We were disappointed last week, and the only way to get that out of your system is to go out and play hard and show what kind of football team you have,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We just went back to work.”
Warren Peck had three first-half touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as the Scots (3-1, 1-1) averaged almost 12 yards per play and reached the end zone on all nine offensive possessions.
“Warren does a great job of making decisions about when to run and when to throw,” Allen said. “He’s been making some big plays, especially on third down. That’s a big plus for our offense.”
Reserve quarterback Parker Thompson, who is verbally committed to Air Force, caught one of Peck’s scoring throws before adding a passing and a rushing touchdown in the second half. Thompson and Cade Trotter each threw their first touchdown pass in an HP uniform.
Wilson Axley also scored twice — once on the ground and once through the air. Steel Tobin caught a 56-yard touchdown strike on the opening drive. Charlie Schneider and Canon Spackman added touchdown grabs.
Not surprisingly, the offensive distribution was balanced. The team’s 15 completed passes went to 10 different receivers, and five of them scored. With the rotating personnel, nobody carried the ball more than four times.
“That’s great for morale,” Allen said. “We want to get those guys in. They want to show what they can do.”
HP controlled field position throughout the game, as Irving punted on nine of its first 10 possessions and didn’t cross midfield until late in the fourth quarter.
HP’s aggressive defense allowed only 14 total yards in the first half, when the Scots established a 42-0 advantage. Irving completed only two passes for one yard, and did not attempt any throws after halftime.
Adriel Pena carried the ball on more than half of the offensive snaps for the Tigers (0-3, 0-1) and finished with 59 rushing yards.
“Our defense played great, against the run especially,” Allen said. “They didn’t throw it much, but we had a lot of three-and-outs.”
Irving’s only highlights came on special teams, including an opening onside kick recovery and a late 39-yard field goal by Caleb Centro.
HP will carry some positive vibes into a bye week before returning to action against neighborhood rival Jesuit Dallas on Sept. 29 at SMU’s Ford Stadium.