The scenario is familiar for Highland Park in its playoff opener, and the Scots hope the result will be familiar as well.
HP will host Irving Nimitz on Friday at Highlander Stadium in the Class 6A Region II bi-district round after pulling away from the Vikings 49-17 in the first round on a neutral site last season.
The Scots (9-1) enter the game with plenty of momentum after rolling through their District 10-6A schedule unscathed. HP has won eight consecutive games overall after having its 84-game home winning streak snapped in early September.
It’s been an impressive rebound for the Scots, who won their first district title at the 6A level and kept alive a streak of regular seasons with one or fewer losses that dates to 1998.
And the success has started with an improving defense and a steady rushing game that has accounted for 31 touchdowns. That includes 17 for Stephen Dieb, who surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier during a 44-30 win in the regular-season finale against Richardson.
The Vikings (6-4) finished in fourth place in District 9-6A during the regular season after a 14-9 loss against rival Irving MacArthur last week. They clinched a playoff spot with a narrow victory over W.T. White on Oct. 30.
Nimitz has a stout defense and an offense that relies heavily on the run. Mark Eugene, who scored last season against HP, has 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns. Dual-threat quarterback Joe Pena has thrown for seven scores and rushed for five.
Nimitz hasn’t won a postseason game since 2002 but will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2010.
The winner will face either Waco Midway or Garland in the area round next week.