Late Heroics Rescue Scots in Home Opener

The Highland Park offense sputtered for much of the Scots’ home opener on Friday before coming through in the clutch.

Ben Croasdale’s 4-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds remaining rallied HP to a dramatic 28-24 win over Flower Mound at Highlander Stadium.

The winning score came after the Jaguars tallied 17 consecutive points in the fourth quarter and took their only lead at 24-21 on a Reagan Tubbs field goal with 1:55 left.

On the climactic 61-yard drive, Scots quarterback Brennan Storer scrambled for a first down on third-and-5, then connected with a leaping John Rutledge for a 22-yard gain on the next snap. Croasdale found the end zone four plays later.

(See: Photos from Friday night’s home opener)

“Those guys did a great job of believing and coming back and making plays when they needed to,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We put together a great drive there at the end.”

The nondistrict matchup was agreed to just two days ago after HP’s originally scheduled opponent, Mesquite Horn, had to cancel because of COVID-19 protocols. Flower Mound was initially supposed to play Garland Naaman Forest on Friday.

With the Scots (1-1) leading 21-7 in the fourth quarter, Flower Mound’s Nick Evers threw two touchdown passes in less than two minutes — a 14-yard toss to Walker Mulkey and a 2-yard lob to Caden Jensen.

After the Mulkey score, Christian Claterbaugh grabbed his second interception of the game at midfield to give the Jaguars (1-1) favorable field position for the game-tying drive.

Flower Mound dominated in total yardage. Evers, a Florida commit, was 27-of-49 passing for 312 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a game-high 94 yards (and losing two fumbles). Mulkey caught 10 passes for 109 yards.

HP took an early 14-0 lead following a Christian Reeves touchdown run, a fumble recovery by Daniel Shawver, and a 46-yard scoring strike from Storer to Jay Cox.

Meanwhile, Flower Mound reached the HP 7-yard line after a 60-yard completion from Evers to Cade Edlein midway through the first quarter. But that possession ended with a blocked field goal.

The Jaguars opened the second half with another miscue, as HP’s Jack Curtis pounced on a fumble to give HP good field position.

The Scots took advantage with a 19-yard scoring pass from Storer to Rutledge to regain their 14-point cushion. Storer’s 27-yard throw to Jackson Heis on second-and-long was the key play on the drive.

Flower Mound seized momentum after that, but Curtis delayed the comeback with another big play, making a tackle on fourth-and-goal at the HP 5 early in the fourth.

“Our defense played their pants off,” Allen said. “We left them on the field so long that they wore down, but they did a great job of holding them all night.”

Storer connected on just 13 of 29 throws for 149 yards, but he also gained 61 yards on the ground. Rutledge was his top target with five receptions for 62 yards.

After avoiding their first 0-2 start in more than two decades, the Scots will be tested by another District 6-6A opponent in their first road game next week at Coppell.

“We needed a win and we needed a comeback like that,” Allen said. “We’re miles from where we can be, but I think our guys will grow from it.”

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