RICHARDSON — Just three weeks ago, Randy Allen was concerned about Highland Park’s running game.
On Friday, Stephen Dieb and the HP offense showed that the Scots head coach has nothing to worry about during a 76-35 thrashing of Richardson Pearce at Eagle-Mustang Stadium.
As a team, the Scots rushed for 427 yards and nine touchdowns — let that sink in for a minute — and Dieb accounted for 264 of those yards on just 13 carries.
“We ran the ball better than we have all year. Dieb had a great game, and our offensive line came off the ball well,” Allen said. “It comes at a good time.”
Dieb averaged more than 20 yards per attempt and scored three touchdowns. The latter statistic only ranked him second among HP rushers behind Jack Kozmetsky, who scored four times. Also, quarterback Henry Allen capped the first two HP possessions with short touchdown runs.
The typically efficient HP passing game also chipped in two scores, both from Henry Allen to Chris Buell, once from 54 yards out late in the second quarter. The Scots (4-1, 2-0) scored on all 11 of their possessions, not counting a kneel-down at the end of each half. And the starters incredibly found the end zone 10 times in just 31 offensive snaps before sitting out the final quarter.
So the HP offense should carry plenty of momentum into a showdown with defending District 10-6A champion Mesquite Horn next week at Highlander Stadium.
“Our offense is really moving the ball,” Randy Allen said. “Henry was very good at making decisions. We didn’t have to throw tonight, but we can throw. What a great challenge it will be next week.”
For the second consecutive week, HP struggled on defense in the first half before posting a shutout after halftime, which allowed the Scots to pull away.
The Scots forced two turnovers in the second half, took advantage of a bad punt snap, and limited Pearce to 48 total yards. That came after yielding 373 yards and 35 points prior to the break.
“Our defense has thrown two shutouts in the second half, and that’s amazing that they can turn it around at half,” Randy Allen said. “We’re really pleased with how we played.”
Jake Griffin was the primary offensive weapon for the Mustangs (2-3, 0-2). He caught 12 passes for 146 yards, including three touchdowns in the second quarter alone. However, he had only one reception for four yards in the second half.
Otis Blanton and Hank Hughes each added rushing scores for Pearce, which trailed just 42-35 after a seesaw first half that saw the teams exchange eight touchdowns in the second quarter.
Hughes, the standout quarterback for Pearce, left with an ankle injury after being hit on a running play late in the first quarter. He came back briefly, then exited again and didn’t return. Still, backup Gray Rodgers was effective as the Mustangs finished 29-of-42 passing for 358 yards.
The Mustangs have allowed at least 48 points in each of their three consecutive losses, and on Friday, they couldn’t contain either the run or the pass.
Henry Allen completed his first six passes, and didn’t miss until HP already had 63 points on the board late in the third quarter. By the time Dieb scored his final touchdown on a 24-yard scamper, it was 70-35 with 4:17 still remaining in the third.