Highland Park’s defense has been down right filthy these playoffs. In their first two games, they allowed five combined points. In the regional semifinals, they faced a Mansfield Lake Ridge teams that was averaging 66 points in its last three games. The Scots held strong in the first half, letting its offense build a lead 21-0 lead at halftime and defeated the Eagles 41-27 in 5A Division I regional round to advance to the regional final.
“We wanted to get off to a fast start tonight and it started with our defense tonight,” Highland Park head coach Randy Allen said. “They ran up-tempo offense and it really made our defensive guys tired so we needed to be able to control the tempo tonight and we did that.
The Scots (11-2) ran the ball eighty percent of the time with their three running backs Jack Kozmetsky, Paxton Alexander and Jacob Urbanczky who combined for 254 yards and four touchdowns.
“The offensive line was fantastic tonight, set the tone earlier winning the point of attack and making it easy for us to run,” Alexander said who was responsible for 76 yards and two touchdowns. “We knew we were going to have to control the ball and it was nice to see the game plan work out today.”
If you liked punting, this wasn’t the game for you. Lake Ridge (8-5) went for it on fourth down twice in the first quarter around midfield but failed to convert and Highland Park was able to take advantage.
The first play of the game for the Scots was a 48-yard touchdown run by Kozmetsky, which was a shock to the Eagles system. On the next possession, the Eagles were unable to convert on fourth down yet again at their own 40-yard line and the Scots made them pay scoring on the ensuing drive with a Kozmetsky 3-yard run.
“The (Lake Ridge) offense is really good and they were able to throw and catch the ball really well tonight and we needed all those points early in the game because their offense played great in the second half.” Allen said.
It got interesting in the third quarter, Lake Ridge finally got on the board with a 7-yard pass from Jason Bean to TJ Graham. Immediately after that, they recovered the onside kick. It was game on but the Eagles fumbled on the very first play and you thought the momentum was lost. Two plays later, Highland Park gave the ball right back to Lake Ridge due to a John Stephen Jones interception.
Lake Ridge took advantage as Bean threw a 23-yard TD pass to Zach Jackson making it 28-13. Highland Park then scored 14 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.
Highland Park will play in the Region 1 final Friday at 5:30pm at AT&T Stadium against the winner of Frisco Wakeland and Mansfield Legacy.
Brought to you by: