When Highland Park returns home to face Mesquite Poteet on Friday, there will be plenty at stake both individually and collectively.
With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the Scots and Pirates are tied atop the District 15-5A standings, and the winner of the showdown will have the inside track to a league crown.
It also could be another milestone game for HP head coach Randy Allen, who is aiming for his 200th victory at the school. Allen, of course, already is the all-time leader in coaching wins at HP, and his 352 career wins rank fourth in Texas history.
The Scots (5-1, 3-0) would certainly like for Allen to earn that milestone against Poteet (4-2, 3-0), in arguably the most critical game left on the schedule. Both teams enter with momentum, and they have a history of meaningful matchups with postseason implications.
They met under almost identical circumstances in 2012 and 2013, with the Scots emerging with close victories each time.
This season, HP has won four straight games overall, and has allowed seven or fewer points in three of those contests. The Scots shut down playoff contender West Mesquite 25-3 last week.
Meanwhile, the Pirates have rolled past each of their district opponents thus far, including a 42-3 drubbing of North Forney a week ago. Poteet has combined a hard-hitting defense with an efficient offense led by running back Daiquan Jackson, dual-threat quarterback Kaleb Fletcher, and receivers ChaCha Corbin and DaMichael Smith.
As for the Scots, their offense has continued to diversify behind a deep corps of playmakers. John Stephen Jones has 10 touchdown passes through six games, and they’ve gone to six different receivers. Although Cade Saustad, Scully Jenevein, and Paxton Alexander have been the top targets, nine players have at least five catches this season.
Against the Wranglers, the running game led the way, with Jones and Jack Kozmetsky each grinding out yards. Luke Blanton and James Herring recorded interceptions as part of a stellar defensive effort.
The site of Friday’s clash also could be significant. The Scots, of course, have won 92 of their last 93 games at Highlander Stadium, and haven’t lost a district game there since 1998. However, Poteet has won all three of its road games this year.