Highland Park used an old-school recipe of ball-control running and hard-nosed defense to cook up a first-round playoff win on Friday.
The Scots rolled past New Caney 45-13 at Highlander Stadium in the Class 5A Division I bi-district round. They have now won their last nine playoff openers.
HP earned its 10th consecutive win overall, and advances to meet Frisco Wakeland in the area round on Nov. 19 in Allen.
Christian Reeves scored two of the five rushing touchdowns for the Scots (10-1), who reached the end zone on their first six possessions. Brennan Storer threw a touchdown pass — covering 52 yards to Luke Herring — and ran for a score.
“We put the regular season behind us and we played with energy like we need to in the playoffs,” said HP head coach Randy Allen.
HP methodically amassed a 21-0 advantage in the first half with a trio of lengthy time-consuming drives. The second was perhaps the most impressive, coming after a goal-line stand by the defense set up the Scots at their own 4-yard line.
It took HP seven plays to traverse the first 44 yards and just one to knock out the last 52 on Storer’s only touchdown pass of the game. He attempted just 11 throws and completed eight.
Jay Cox’s 2-yard scoring plunge in the final minute of the first half capped a 12-play, 80-yard march. Cox finished with 62 yards on a team-high nine carries.
“We had three possessions and 21 points,” Allen said. “That’s pretty efficient.”
The Eagles (7-4) responded with a 14-play possession of their own after halftime — all but one of those plays on the ground — to cut the margin to 21-6 on a Kedrick Reescano dive into the end zone.
That’s when an HP flurry broke the game open. Ben Croasdale broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run, and on the ensuing snap by the Eagles, Robert Rehme pounced on a fumble at the New Caney 14.
Two plays later, Storer found a seam and scored from 11 yards out, extending the margin to 35-6 midway through the third quarter.
“That pretty much sealed it,” Allen said. “Our [defense] did a good job of holding them. They shut them out in the first half, and then got the big turnover that gave us great field position.”
Storer tallied 62 rushing yards to go with his 119 passing yards. Herring was his top target through the air with three grabs for 76 yards. Thomas Oliver intercepted a pass on New Caney’s final possession.
Reescano ran 27 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles. Cameron Thomas had a game-high six receptions for 86 yards.