McKinney Provides Next Challenge for HP

The state’s most decorated high school football program will have a chance to reach uncharted territory this weekend.

Highland Park has never been past the second round of the playoffs in the 6A classification, and will have another chance on Friday during a Division II Region I clash with McKinney at SMU’s Ford Stadium.

HP has lost in the area round in all three of its previous appearances in the 6A Division II bracket, including a 63-42 defeat to Denton Guyer last year. The Scots also were eliminated by Waco Midway in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015.

This new opportunity finds HP riding an eight-game winning streak after securing its 11th straight first-round playoff win with a 45-17 drubbing of Arlington last week. The Scots (10-1) also have won at least 10 games for the 11th consecutive season.

They will again be led by senior quarterback Parker Thompson, who will make his third start after taking over for injured starter Warren Peck in late October. Thompson threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores last week.

Thompson, who is verbally committed to Air Force, has become the focal point of a potent three-man rushing attack for HP alongside Wilson Axley and Keller Holmes. The trio has combined for more than 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground.

Holmes became the team’s leader in rushing yardage for the season last week by surpassing Peck, who accounted for more than 2,000 total yards in nine games.

While the Scots have made adjustments on offense to keep rolling, the defense has shown steady improvement—and perhaps more importantly, been consistent. HP hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game since Sept. 8.

The Scots shared the regular-season title in District 7-6A. Meanwhile, the Lions (9-2) started the year with six straight victories before stumbling twice in challenging District 6-6A, winding up in a three-way tie for second place.

McKinney used a season-best offensive output to roll past Flower Mound Marcus 52-31 a week ago in the bi-district round. The Lions are led on offense by North Garland transfer Godspower Nwawuihe and USC commit Bryan Jackson in the backfield, as well as sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Daoud.

The hard-hitting defense has surrendered an average of 18.3 points per game behind top recruits such as linebacker Jonathan Agumadu (Oklahoma State), cornerback Ashton McShane (Boston College), and safety Xavier Filsaime (Florida).

The resurgent Lions are seeking their first 10-win season since 1993 after advancing three rounds deep in the playoffs in 2022 for the first time in almost three decades.

The winner of Friday’s game will meet either Southlake Carroll or Wolfforth Frenship in the regional semifinals.

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