Highland Park’s defense was supposed to be a strength coming into this season. On Friday, the unit proved that to be true.
The Scots limited Mansfield Timberview to just 117 total yards and forced three turnovers in a 31-0 shutout victory at Highlander Stadium.
“I’m very proud of our defense,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “They pretty much had control of the game and got some big turnovers. They did an excellent job of eliminating the big play.”
HP was able to bounce back from a stinging loss to Waxahachie a week ago and gain some momentum heading into the start of District 15-5A play on Sept. 16 against Lovejoy.
“We’re getting better,” Allen said. “We’re not where I want to be yet, but we’re playing a lot of athletes, and we need to see that.”
John Stephen Jones, who has shown potential with his arm during his first two varsity starts at quarterback, used his legs for a pair of touchdowns for HP and showed poise against an aggressive Timberview defense.
While it wasn’t the best offensive day for the Scots (2-1), they took advantage of favorable field position for most of the first half, with the first two possessions each starting near midfield.
Jones capped the opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Scully Jenevein to put the Wolves (1-2) on their heels. And the next drive ended with a Jackson Hubbard field goal and a 10-0 lead.
Jones extended the advantage to 17-0 with a 24-yard scamper early in the second quarter that included a dive across the goal line.
“We wanted to score first,” Allen said. “That first drive was big.”
The Scots put the game away with a pair of scores in the fourth quarter. Jones stretched the lead to 24-0 with a 20-yard run, and following a fumble recovery by Connor Stone on a bizarre play involving a scrambling punter, Paxton Alexander plunged into the end zone from 5 yards out.
Jenevein and Cade Saustad have emerged as the two favorite targets for Jones early this season. Saustad finished with a game-high six catches for 82 yards.
Timberview’s best chance to score came midway through the second quarter, but a 16-play drive that consumed nearly seven minutes ended in a missed field goal.
The Wolves managed just 56 yards on the rest of their possessions combined, and 26 yards in the entire second half. Besides the three lost fumbles, Timberview committed 104 yards in penalties.
Max Holsomback and James Herring also recovered fumbles for the Scots.