IRVING — In an anticipated matchup of two high-powered offenses, only Highland Park provided the fireworks.
Irving MacArthur never got its playmakers on track as the Scots blasted the Cardinals 52-0 on Friday at Ellis Stadium for their second shutout of the season.
This one was more impressive than the 63-0 drubbing of Irving on the same field last month, mostly because MacArthur entered the night with statistically some of the top skill players in District 7-6A.
But the HP defense limited the Cardinals — who were averaging more than 40 points per game — to just 12 total yards in the first half, with nine plays resulting in negative yardage.
“This was our best defensive game of the year, and it couldn’t come at a better time,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “Our guys worked really hard this week and emphasized getting better. It showed on the field.”
The Scots (8-0, 6-0) remained unbeaten heading into their final regular-season home game next week against Richardson, when they could clinch a share of the district title. HP also completed a season sweep of the three teams from Irving ISD by a combined margin of 166-6.
Besides the amped-up aggressiveness and stingy tackling, both HP turnovers were impactful, too, including a third-quarter interception that Brady Dauterive returned 75 yards for a touchdown.
HP’s Spencer Brown recovered a fumble midway through the first quarter to set up the first of two rushing scores by Jay Cox. It started a string of five consecutive touchdown drives for the Scots to break the game open.
The HP offense certainly wasn’t overshadowed, as Brennan Storer tossed two touchdown passes and ran for a score during the first-half barrage.
Storer’s first touchdown pass went to Luke Herring from 15 yards out near the end of the first quarter. The duo also completed a two-point conversion to make the score 17-0.
The Scots were most efficient with a stiff breeze at their back in the second and third stanzas, racking up three more scores in a six-minute span to close out the first half.
After Storer’s 1-yard plunge into the end zone, the Scots gained excellent field position on an errant punt snap by MacArthur. Cox weaved through traffic for an 8-yard score on the ensuing snap.
Moments later, following another three-and-out, a 30-yard touchdown strike from Storer to Beau Lilly extended the margin to 38-0 at halftime.
Second-half highlights for HP included a short touchdown run by Wilson Axley and a blocked field goal by William White to preserve the shutout.
The Cardinals (4-4, 3-3) entered the game with a 2,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver, and an explosive running back. However, none of them were able to get on track against HP. Seven completions before halftime yielded minus-2 yards, and the offense overall netted less than 0.5 yards per play in the first two quarters.
“Our defense did a great job of stopping the run and the pass,” said Allen, who also praised the recent performance of the Scots’ special-teams units. “We’ve continued to get really good field position with our punting team. Our kickoff coverage has been consistent, and we’ve done really well with our punt returns when we’ve had a chance.”
Darelle Smith led MacArthur with a game-high 86 rushing yards, most of which came with the game already out of reach.
Herring paced all receivers with 49 yards on four receptions, while Cox had 72 all-purpose yards for HP. Storer finished 14-of-21 for 192 yards through the air.