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Highland Park Scots Dominate Jesuit Rangers In Long-Lived Rivalry

Scots take home a 15-13 victory in the game of the season played at SMU stadium.
Photo by Zoie Carlile

The Highland Park Scots and the Jesuit Rangers have been football rivals for over 60 years, going back to their first game in 1951.

According to Jesuit’s official football website, the teams have played seven games against each other, and Highland Park has won six out of the seven. Continuing their winning streak was their district game on Sep. 29, 2023, resulting in a 15-13 win for the Scots.

Typically, a rival game like this one is held at either opponent’s stadium, and in this case it was Jesuit’s turn to host this district game. However, because of Jesuit’s low capacity stadium, the game was held at Southern Methodist University’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium, which seats 32,000 people.

“Jesuit only has a seating capacity of 4,500 and we thought we’d have a bigger crowd,” head coach of Highland Park football Randy Allen said. “SMU did us a favor by asking their conference to move their game with Charlotte to later in the day on Saturday so we could play Friday night.”

Allen spent lots of time working with the team to prepare for the big game. In preparation for the challenges, many strategies were utilised.

“We talk about what this game means to our team and how important this game is. We practice hard, getting ready and preparing for Friday,” Allen said. “I think our guys realize the importance of the game and so they’re preparing that way.”
Senior Scots running-back Wilson Axley also went into detail about the preparation that goes into the game.

“It was a big week for us. We knew it was going to be a big game,” Axley said. “We watched a lot of film and then we did scouting reports on [Jesuit’s] good players, knew exactly where their captains were and where their good players were going to be. [The coaches] did a great job of preparing us.”

On Friday, anticipation arose from both sides of the stadium as the game was about to begin.

The first quarter began as the team received the ball during kickoff. Axley rushed for yards in an attempt to score. Scots quarterback Warren Peck threw the ball to Axley and scored their first touchdown of the night, but a flag on senior running-back Keller Holmes for holding resulted in the touchdown being declined. The team attempted to score again, but they were unsuccessful, and then the ball was in Jesuit’s court.

When Jesuit started their first drive, they were unable to score as their offense was swamped by the opposing defensive players. The clock struck zero, marking the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter brought more hope for the Scots as Peck threw a 20-yard pass to senior wide-receiver Cannon Spackman, helping the team approach the end zone.

With 3:33 minutes left, Peck ran in the end zone for a touchdown. With the extra point kicked by senior punter Nicholas Rigas, the score was 7-0.

As Jesuit got the ball back with less than three minutes to go, senior Rangers wide-receiver Dolen Hedrick rushed for 50 yards, bringing the team up to the 25 yard line. Jesuit quarterback Charlie Peters then handed the ball to junior defensive-lineman Cade Gill to score a touchdown. The score was 7-7 with 1:23 minutes left in the quarter.

The quarter was coming to a close, but that didn’t stop Peck as he threw a 55 yard pass to junior wide-receiver Bryce Laczkowski, moving the team towards the 25-yard-line. A pass interference flag on Jesuits’ senior defensive-back Sean Watson resulted in an automatic first down for the Scots. Axley scored his first official touchdown of the night with 17 seconds left in half.

“I just took it all in because there were around 15,000 people there,” Axley said. “I wouldn’t have [scored a touchdown] or been given that opportunity [to score] if it weren’t for the amazing blocks by the guys. Steel [Tobin] had a great block, Keller [Holmes] had a great block, so it was cool to share that with the team.”

The team decided to go for a two-point conversion to stay on top, and were successful as Highland Park senior defensive lineman Henry Richter ran in for the two points. The score going into half-time was 15-7.

Jesuit brought more action as the third quarter began with a field goal by senior punter Dylan Drennan. The score was 15-10 in favor of the Scots with less than nine minutes left.

The quarter brought limited progress as both teams attempted to gain more yards, and the defenses held them.

With 1:18 minutes left in the quarter, Jesuit senior wide-receiver Quentin Williams got hit, and was taken off the field. Scots senior corner-back Jack McCallum was flagged for holding. Jesuit attempted to score again with 20 seconds on the clock, but couldn’t make the first down. Dreenman attempted a field goal, but was unsuccessful. The score remained 15-10 at the end of the quarter.

The fourth quarter started off strong for the Rangers as Peck fumbled the ball and Jesuit senior defensive-back Logan Thompson recovered, making it Jesuit’s ball with 11:49 minutes to go. Peters and his offense tried to score another touchdown, but failed.
Axley went into detail about how ball security is key to not losing possession of the ball, which was something the Scots struggled with near the end of the game.

“We’re really harp on ball security,” Axley said. “It’s difficult because you want to be able to just freely run but you also have to really make sure that the ball is secure and that’s the first and foremost thing. You don’t want to give up the ball.”
Dreenan walked out on the field once again to make a field goal for Jesuit, but the Rangers were still trailing in points as the score was 15-13.

When the Scots received the ball back with 2:07 minutes left, Peck threw his second interception of the night to Jesuit senior linebacker Entonyo Jones when Peck was attempting to pass the ball for a touchdown.

The Rangers only needed a field goal to make this game a victory for their team. With 3:28 minutes left, Peters handed the ball to Hedrick in an attempt to gain more yards. As Hedrick rushed to get the first-down, he was tackled by Scots senior outside line-backer Clark Cozby.

As the Scots student section roared for Cozby’s tackle, Hedrick fell to the ground and was unable to get up. Trainers and staff rushed to Hedrick, and both teams kneeled. Hedrick limped off the field with a knee injury.

Cozby made his starting debut as a second string after senior Wesley Winford suffered an arm injury. The impactful tackle was a big deal for someone who didn’t have much playing time on the field.

“That was my first night starting. I was a little nervous but I was mostly excited,” Cozby said.

With 1:28 minutes left, Peters tried to run with the ball in order to get a first down for Jesuit. He was sacked by Scots junior linebacker Jack Morse, and the ball returned to the Scots.

The clock ticked down to zero, and the Highland Park Scots won 15-13. Cheers from the stands erupted as the team ran together and jumped in victory.

“That was such a relief whenever that clock hit 0:00. It was just a bunch of celebration,” Axley said.” All around, the student section, the team, the Belles, the cheerleaders and the band really [made] a combined effort.”

About the Contributor
Isabella Navarro
Isabella Navarro, Sports editor
What are your favorite TV shows/movies? 10 Things I Hate About You, The Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, and Breaking Bad What causes are you passionate about? I am passionate about world hunger and the foster care system Who are your favorite music artists?  Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, The 1975