For the past two months, Highland Park has proven it belongs at the Class 6A level, after rolling to a 9-1 regular-season record and a runner-up finish in District 10-6A.
Now the Scots begin an even tougher test — navigating the postseason in the state’s highest classification. That quest begins tonight, when HP battles Irving Nimitz in the Region II bi-district round.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Standridge Stadium in Carrollton, with the winner facing either Waco Midway or Tyler Lee next week in the area round.
The Scots (9-1) enter the playoffs with plenty of momentum following a 43-0 shutout of Richardson in the regular-season finale last week. HP has won four straight games, and its defense has blanked four opponents this season.
The HP offense has been particularly efficient late in the season, in large part due to the play of quarterback Brooks Burgin, who threw for 441 yards and six touchdowns a week ago. Burgin has 14 touchdown tosses and just interception in the past three games, and has been distributing the ball equally among top receivers Kevin Ken, Andrew Frost, and Campbell Brooks.
The Vikings (5-5) also have a potent quarterback in Jimmy Clark, a dual-threat senior who has thrown for 2,016 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, with just three interceptions. He also has rushed for 577 yards and four scores.
Other threats on offense include sophomore running back Mark Eugene and receivers D’Angelo Allen and Sam Berry, who caught two touchdown passes last week during a 30-23 loss to Irving MacArthur.
On defense, Nimitz is led by twin brothers Michael and Delontae Scott, who are both committed to SMU. Michael is a defensive end while Delontae plays outside linebacker.
Nimitz finished in fourth place in District 9-6A during the regular season, and is making its first playoff appearance since 2010 under first-year head coach Brian Rogers. The Vikings haven’t won a playoff game since 2002, while the Scots have won 27 during that span.