Against an overmatched opponent on a wet field, Highland Park followed the script almost to perfection on Friday night.
The undefeated Scots scored early and often, while the defense posted its second shutout of the season during a 49-0 drubbing of Samuell at Highlander Stadium.
(ABOVE: Ben Smith caught six passes for 105 yards to lead the Highland Park offense during a 49-0 win over Samuell on Friday. Photo: Melissa Macatee)
Perhaps most importantly, the lopsided margin allowed HP to give meaningful action to many of its second- and third-string players in the second half.
The Scots (7-0, 4-0) earned their 22nd consecutive victory overall and remained in a first-place tie in District 6-5A Division I heading into a road game against another struggling Dallas ISD foe, Sunset, next week.
Chandler Morris tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another score for HP, which reached the end zone on its first five offensive possessions — including three scores on drives of four plays or fewer.
“We were able to get some points on the board, so we substituted pretty liberally,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We carry a squad of about 80, and we got about 65 to 70 in.”
The Scots averaged more than 10 yards per play in the first half, accumulating 298 total yards while rolling to a 34-0 halftime advantage.
HP’s first four touchdowns came on running plays by four different ball carriers, starting with a 56-yard scamper by Benner Page to cap the opening possession. Then came a 32-yard effort by Morris for his ninth rushing score of the season.
“We had some really good runs and some good offensive line blocking,” Allen said. “I’m very proud of the way we executed in the running game.”
On the next HP drive, Morris found Finn Corwin on two key passing plays to set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Bennett Brown, making the score 21-0 late in the first quarter.
Following an interception by Hudson Clark near midfield, the Scots took advantage of the favorable field position. Two long passes from Morris to Ben Smith led to a short scoring run by Avery Lewis.
Morris connected with Drew Scott on a 16-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter, then hooked up with Drew Dodge for a 15-yard score to open the third. Andrew O’Brien wrapped up the scoring for the Scots with a 3-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the HP defense limited the Spartans (3-4, 1-3) to 53 total yards in the first half and forced three turnovers in the game, including a third-quarter fumble recovery by Grayson Serio. The Scots have forced 12 opponent miscues in the past five games and have allowed an average of less than six points per game during that span.
Morris completed 15 of 19 passes for 227 yards before exiting early in the third quarter. Page led all rushers with 86 yards on just five attempts. Smith caught a game-high six passes for 105 yards.
For the second straight game, the shorthanded Spartans were playing without their top playmaker, quarterback John’Turius Shaw. De’Marcus Jones paced Samuell with 62 rushing yards on 14 carries.