Highland Park capped off on an undefeated regular season Thursday night at rainy Newsom Stadium and can now set its sights on trying to win a third consecutive 5A Div. 1 state championship.
Scots senior quarterback Chandler Morris passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns – all in the first half – and also rushed for 32 yards and a score as the Scots rolled to a 42-7 victory against Mansfield Timberview in the regular season finale for both teams.
Highland Park (10-0, 7-0 in 6-5A Div. 1) will find out its bi-district playoff opponent – the four seed out of 5-5A Div. 1 – once Friday’s games are finished. Timberview (5-5, 4-3) is also playoff bound, and the Wolves already know who they’ll face. Timberview will take on 5-5A Div. 1 champion The Colony at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Tommy Briggs Stadium.
Highland Park built a 28-0 halftime lead. Morris threw first-half touchdown passes of 65 yards to Finn Corwin and 12 yards to Bennett Brown. Morris also scored on a 1-yard keeper in the first quarter. The Scots added two more scores in the third quarter, on runs of 6 and 57 yards by Hunter Heath.
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Timberview got on the board with 8:21 remaining in the game on an 8-yard run by quarterback Darnell Jones.
Game was over when: Highland Park scored on a 12-yard pass from Morris to Brown to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, then recovered an onside kick. The recovery set up a seven-play, 35-yard drive capped by a 1-yard Benner Page touchdown run.
Play of the game: The fourth play of the Scots’ first drive was a 65-yard catch and run from Morris to Corwin. The senior receiver hauled in the throw at the Wolves 45 and sprinted into the end zone.
Offensive player of the game: Morris, who is the son of Arkansas coach Chad Morris, got Highland Park into the end zone early and often in the first half. He passed for a touchdown and ran for a score in the first quarter and passed for another score in the second quarter as the Scots built a 28-0 lead.
Defensive player of the game: Linebacker Colby Hopkins of Highland Park recovered two Timberview fumbles. His first recovery came in Scots territory early in the second quarter, thwarting a potential Wolves scoring drive. He also returned a third-quarter fumble 25 yards to the Wolves’ 10, setting up a Scots touchdown.
Unsung hero of the game: Highland Park’s passing game is hard to stop, but the ground game led by Page and Heath is what kept the chains moving. Page finished with 10 carries for 57 yards – all in the first half. Heath rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns – all in the second half.
What’s next? Timberview will face 5-5A D1 champ The Colony at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Tommy Briggs Stadium in The Colony. Highland Park will await the results of Nov. 9’s game to find out which 5-5A D1 team ends up the four seed. Whoever they play, it’ll be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Highlander Stadium.