With three weeks left in the regular season, Highland Park already has clinched a playoff berth.
That’s just the first of many goals for the Scots, however, who ultimately aspire to earn their fourth consecutive Class 5A Division I state championship.
It’s been easy sailing for HP thus far in District 6-5A Div. I, with the Scots (6-1, 4-0) defeating their first four league opponents by a combined margin of 260-12. That dominance should continue on Friday when HP hosts winless Sunset at Highlander Stadium.
Looking at the bigger picture, the Scots are still locked in a three-way tie for first place in the standings with Lancaster and Mansfield Timberview, who have administered similar results. And they will have to face those two challengers for the league crown in consecutive weeks starting Nov. 1,
In addition to determining playoff seeding, those games should also serve as a suitable tuneup for rigors of postseason play. Lancaster (6-1 overall) and Timberview (5-2 overall) play each other this week in a game that HP coaches no doubt will scout closely.
The remaining five teams have a combined overall record of 6-29, and one of them will emerge with the district’s final playoff spot.
For the Scots, expect one more game in which the starters will play sparingly and the defense will flirt with a shutout — just like last week’s 56-6 thrashing of Samuell, and the three contests before that.
The overmatched Bison (0-7, 0-4) have been outscored by an average margin of more than 59 points per game and have managed just 12 points all season. They’ve been shut out five times, including 84-0 by Timberview in their most recent outing.
On paper, the 399th career victory for longtime head coach Randy Allen should be one of his easiest. That likely won’t be the case for No. 400 and beyond.