Needing a victory Friday night to clinch an outright district championship, Highland Park leaned on its senior running back to take home the title.
Hunter Heath rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns, and added 96 yards receiving and two more scores to pace the Scots to a 43-21 victory against Mansfield Timberview at Highlander Stadium.
Highland Park (9-1, 7-0 in District 6-5A Division 1) earns a home bi-district game against Frisco Wakeland on Nov. 15. Timberview (6-4, 5-2) finished as the three seed in 6-5A D1 and will face 5-5A D1 two seed Frisco Independence at 7 p.m. Thursday at Frisco Memorial Stadium.
Heath’s big night began early. He broke free for a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. Midway through the second quarter, Heath scored on another long run, this time a 24-yarder on which he stutter stepped to slip by the final defender on his way into the end zone.
His 6-yard touchdown reception with 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter put the Scots ahead 21-14.
“We were right there, even with those big plays,” Timberview coach James Brown said.
Timberview running back Montaye Dawson helped keep the Wolves in the game. He returned the opening kick of the third quarter 96 yards to hit pay dirt. He also scored on a 59-yard run to tie the score at 14 in the second quarter.
Timberview’s defense also kept the game close. The Wolves intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble. The stingy defense was highlighted by a 78-yard interception return by linebacker Adam Cash. The linebacker batted a pass straight up, corralled the deflected ball and outraced the defense to tie the score at 7.
But another explosive play by Heath put the game out of reach. With under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Heath and HP quarterback Chandler Morris connected on an 80-yard catch-and-run for a 36-21 lead. Morris faked a draw, then tossed over the middle to a wide-open Heath. Matthew Mathison added a two-point conversion catch after the score.
Morris, who passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns, capped the scoring with a 1-yard run early in the fourth.