The final road game of the regular season on Friday will be more than just a tuneup for Highland Park’s 30th consecutive playoff appearance. The Scots could clinch at least a share of the District 15-5A title with a win over Royse City.
Last year, of course, the Scots tied for the league crown and won the Class 5A Division I state title seven weeks later. But before they can repeat the latter, they’d like to win another district title — and not share it this time.
HP enters Friday’s game riding a seven-game winning streak that has seen steady improvement on defense to complement an efficient offensive attack. The Scots have won all five of their district games by margins of at least 21 points. Only once has the defense surrendered more than 17 points during that span.
Still, the Scots (7-1, 5-0) would like to fine-tune some things prior to postseason play, and the matchup against the struggling Bulldogs (4-4, 1-4) provides an opportunity to do that.
For example, HP has committed seven turnovers in its last two games, including four during an otherwise dominant performance in a 35-13 victory over Forney last week.
John Stephen Jones threw four first-half touchdown passes to bring his season total to 28, with just two interceptions. He also surpasses the 2,000-yard passing barrier for the year.
Paxton Alexander and Conner Allen continue to be weapons out of the backfield, while the deep receiving corps is led by Cade Saustad, Scully Jenevein, and Finn Corwin.
Royse City has dropped four of its five 15-5A games, including three by lopsided margins. The Bulldogs committed six turnovers last week during a 36-14 loss to Mesquite Poteet.
While the Royse City defense has floundered, the offense has shown signs of life behind junior quarterback Matthew Yelverton, who has thrown six touchdown passes — including two to his younger brother Elijah. Running backs Bryce Martinez and Dre Prox have combined for more than 1,400 yards and 12 scores.