With a high-powered offense, a shutdown defense, and an unblemished record, Highland Park has earned a week off.
The Scots will carry plenty of momentum into their midseason bye week following a 56-14 win over Woodrow Wilson on Friday at Highlander Stadium.
(ABOVE: Highland Park quarterback Chandler Morris eludes Woodrow Wilson defender Xavier Gipson on Friday at Highlander Stadium. The Scots won 56-14. Photo: Chris McGathey)
It was the 20th consecutive victory dating to last season for HP, which will return to action on Oct. 12 with a pivotal road game against Mansfield Legacy that will break a first-place tie in District 6-5A Division I.
“We’ve learned some things about our team. We’re a little more comfortable with each other, but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “We’ve got to heal up a little bit. We’ve got some bumps and bruises.”
Junior quarterback Chandler Morris continued to impress, throwing five touchdown passes while running for another score as the Scots (5-0, 2-0) rolled up a season-high point total with 14 points in every quarter.
Morris tossed two touchdowns apiece to Finn Corwin and Drew Dodge. Overall, he completed 17 of 26 throws for 318 yards. He also tallied a game-high 55 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, nine of Morris’ 16 touchdown passes this season have gone to Corwin, who’s already amassed 27 catches for 584 yards this season. Needless to say, they are among the most prolific offensive combinations in the Dallas area through five games.
As impressive as those numbers might be, the HP defense might have been even better. The Scots allowed just 20 net rushing yards and recorded five sacks. Plus, HP’s Ryan Khetan grabbed a key interception in the end zone to squelch a scoring opportunity for the Wildcats (3-2, 0-2).
“We answered every time they scored,” Allen said. “They came ready to play, and they were very physical. When they wanted to get excited about a play, we seemed to answer, and that took a little bit of the starch out of them.”
The Scots forced Woodrow to play on its heels from the get-go. Morris found Corwin for a 63-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage, and less than a minute later, Case Savage returned a punt 80 yards to the end zone. HP was ahead 14-0 less than two minutes into the game.
The Wildcats shifted the momentum midway through the second quarter, when Xavier Gipson picked off a fourth-down pass in Woodrow territory. The ensuing drive culminated with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Lucas Woltjen, cutting the HP lead to 14-7.
However, the Scots responded immediately and closed out the first half in impressive fashion. They stretched the advantage to 28-7 a pair of quick-strike Morris touchdown throws to Dodge and Corwin. The second score came following a fumbled punt snap by the Wildcats deep in their own territory.
After Khetan’s leaping interception in the third quarter, HP later capitalized when Morris scrambled for a 50-yard scoring run to make the score 35-7.
It seemed as though every time the Wildcats made a push, HP had an answer. The Scots countered a size and speed disadvantage in part with superior depth.
“Against a team like Highland Park, you can’t make mistakes, and we made mistakes,” said Woodrow head coach Bobby Estes. “Our kids climbed back and worked hard, but they wore us down.”
The Scots cruised from there, as Morris connected with Dodge for a score and then with Grant McVeigh on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Hunter Heath tacked on a late touchdown run for HP.
The Wildcats managed one touchdown after halftime on a 23-yard strike from Woltjen to Curtis Thomas, who led Woodrow with four catches for 77 yards. Woltjen completed 14 of 26 passes for 151 yards despite being under pressure for much of the night.
After winning three straight nondistrict games, Woodrow has started league play with consecutive losses while being outscored by a combined 110-21 by HP and Mansfield Timberview.
(Photo: Chris McGathey)