MESQUITE – Despite boasting an elite quarterback and deep receiving corps, the Highland Park offense seems to function best when it achieves a reasonable balance between rushing and passing.
The Scots did that on Friday, and the result was an efficient 45-14 win over Mesquite at Hanby Stadium that solidified HP’s hold on second place in District 10-6A.
Brooks Burgin accounted for five touchdowns in one of his best games this season. He tossed three touchdown passes and ran for two more. As a team, the Scots (7-1, 4-1) finished with 229 yards passing and 201 on the ground.
“I was proud of the way we ran the ball, because they were trying to take the passing game away from us,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We’re going to have to run the ball better to be good against the outstanding teams we’re going to see in the playoffs, so it was good to see us get 200 yards rushing.”
HP was dominant in the first half, when it took a 28-0 lead. Burgin, who tallied a game-high 78 rushing yards, scored on a 53-yard run late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Burgin connected with Kevin Ken on a 9-yard touchdown pass and Andrew Frost on a 22-yarder, the latter set up by a lengthy punt return by Stephen Briggs.
The Scots tacked on another score in the final minute of the first half, after Michael Thornton recovered a fumble at the Mesquite 26-yard line. Burgin found Frost for 25 yards over the middle, then plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out on the next play.
“Brooks is getting into the groove,” Allen said. “He’s looking like he can run it or throw it, and I think that makes our offense so much better.”
Meanwhile, the HP defense limited Mesquite to 68 total yards before halftime and did not allow the Skeeters (2-6, 2-3) to cross midfield until the third quarter.
The Mesquite offense showed signs of life in the third quarter, opening with a 76-yard drive capped by a 39-yard scoring pass from Dazmon Scott to Chance Fisher, the first of two touchdown strikes for Scott in the second half.
However, the Scots followed with their most sustained drive of the game, covering 68 yards and ending with a looping 20-yard touchdown pass from Burgin to Matthew Barge.
The next possession showed more of the quick-strike ability of HP, as Hayden Black took a counter play 46 yards for a rushing touchdown to increase the margin to 42-7.
The Scots added a 28-yard field goal by Grayson Borrego in the fourth quarter, which was his second of the season. Borrego lined up for a 37-yard try on HP’s opening drive of the game, but a fumbled snap squandered that opportunity.
The Scots will play their final road game of the regular season next week when they travel to face Richardson Berkner.