Highland Park had won over 800 more games than Alvin Shadow Creek before the two met up Saturday in the Class 5A Division I state title game at AT&T Stadium.
That’s because Shadow Creek is in its first year.
The Sharks made things interesting late, but Highland Park ultimately went on to win its third-consecutive state championship and sixth overall, 27-17, in front of a crowd of 28,792.
“It’s amazing how difficult it is to get back here three times in a row,” HP head coach Randy Allen said. “Our coaches and players met every challenge. We’ve been very blessed.”
Highland Park (16-0), ranked No. 2 in 5A, controlled the first 40 minutes of the game while holding on to a 27-9 lead.
But No. 8 Shadow Creek (15-1) pulled to within 10 when quarterback Jamarian George recorded a 99-yard TD run to set the UIL state title game record for all classes for longest play from scrimmage.
Kyron Drones ran in the 2-point attempt to cut the deficit to 27-17 with 7:14 left to play.
But the Scots defense stepped up on Shadow Creek’s last two drives, starting with 4-star defensive end Prince Dorbah, who picked up one of his four sacks on a fourth down with four minutes left.
Dorbah added six tackles and was voted Defensive MVP while HP picked up nine sacks overall, a UIL state title game record for all classes. The previous record was eight by last year’s Manvel team against the Scots.
With one final gasp, Highland Park intercepted its fourth pass attempt of the day, a second by Whit Winfeld. His first came with 4:31 in the opening quarter. Hudson Clark and Colby Hopkins also picked off passes.
“This whole season has been magical for us,” said Shadow Creek coach Brad Butler, who was a two-time all-state QB under Allen at Brownwood in the 1980s. “Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted, but for a young program I couldn’t more proud of our kids. These guys have laid the foundation for our future and I’m extremely proud of how they fought until the end.”
“It’s been an amazing season,” Shadow Creek senior Cam’ron Johnson added. “We basically came from nothing to grinding and working hard, people didn’t think a first-year team was going to make it. I’m so proud of the guys, they played their hearts out for 48 minutes, but that was a heck of a team. Hats off to them on a great season.”
The Scots, who won their 31st straight game, caught fire on the opening drive when Finn Corwin took the kickoff 59 yards and Chandler Morris threw an 8-yard TD pass to Bennett Brown three plays later. Morris threw for 262 yards and 3 TDs, and was voted Offensive MVP.
Shadow Creek got its first break on HP’s second drive when Xavion Alford picked off a pass and George threw a 14-yard TD to Jared Jackson with 6:06 to play in the quarter.
But it was all Highland Park for the next two quarters.
Morris threw his second TD from the 3 to Sam Morse that extended the HP lead to 14-6 late in the first and his 24-yarder to Corwin pushed it to 21-9 with 6:57 to play in the second.
“Winning a state championship is part of being a great quarterback,” Allen said. “Chandler did a wonderful job with this football team.”
Wesley Winters added 36 and 22-yard field goals.
Corwin finished with 12 catches, tied for second in 5A state history, and 142 yards. Patrick Turner and Grant Gallas each had two sacks, and Brock Bakich led the team with nine tackles.
“Defense wins championships and our guys won it in the fourth quarter,” Allen said. “They got that turnover at the end and held them out of the end zone, and kept us in the game when it could’ve gotten close. We did some good things today and that’s a great football team with some play makers on offense. It was a hard-fought win.”