Last week’s loss to Mesquite Horn severely dented Highland Park’s chances of winning a district title in their first season at the Class 6A level. But it didn’t do much to harm the Scots’ playoff chances.
HP sits in a three-way tie for second place in District 10-6A entering tonight’s matchup against Lake Highlands, another one of the current runners-up (North Mesquite is the other). The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Highlander Stadium.
It should provide a solid test for the Scots (5-1, 2-1) as they look to bounce back from the 42-27 loss to the Jaguars, who now control their destiny atop the standings.
Lake Highlands is coached by Scott Smith, but it’s not the same Scott Smith who was Randy Allen’s predecessor at HP for three seasons during the mid-1990s. That Scott Smith retired two years ago.
But the guy with the same name at Lake Highlands has taken the Wildcats to the playoffs in each of the last six years — albeit with the last four runs ending in the first round.
The Wildcats (3-3, 2-1) might be the best team remaining on the schedule for the Scots, and also the opponent with the best chance of qualifying for postseason play, despite some inconsistency.
Lake Highlands had its best offensive performance of the season last week during a 45-38 overtime win over Richardson. Dual-threat quarterback Brock Jones rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns and added three scoring passes to Jamarice Preston, who finished with 169 receiving yards. Tyler Hughes added 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.
HP struggled to contain the size and speed of Horn last week, but still had some bright spots despite committing four turnovers. Matthew Barge rushed for two scores, and Andrew Frost posted 111 receiving yards.
Plus, the Scots have always been known for their resilience. Remarkably, they haven’t lost consecutive games in the same season in almost 20 years.
Tonight’s contest will be the penultimate home game for HP this season. After tonight, the Scots won’t play at Highlander again until the regular-season finale against Richardson on Nov. 7.