Lone Star Gridiron

Rockwall-Heath dials up 38-31 OT win over Highland Park

Heath running back Lawrence rushes for 365 rushing yards, 5 TDs

Rockwall-Heath running back Kendial Lawrence rushed for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns in four quarters, but his work wasn't done.

It took three more carries in overtime – the last an 18-yard run for a touchdown – for Lawrence to complete the job of carrying Heath to a 38-31 win over Highland Park.

The victory gave Heath its first district championship in its third varsity season.

Lawrence finished with 39 carries for 365 yards as Rockwall-Heath (10-0) snapped Highland Park's streaks of 47 consecutive regular-season wins and 45 straight district wins.

"I knew from the beginning we were going to get it," said Lawrence, who had 226 yards in the second half and overtime. "When it came down to it, I kept fighting, my team kept fighting, and we got it."

Highland Park (9-1) rallied to tie the score at 31-31 with 3:08 left in regulation, when Luke Woodley tossed his third touchdown pass. Woodley finished 33-of-54 for 255 yards and also had a rushing touchdown.

After Rockwall-Heath scored first in overtime, Woodley's fourth-and-2 pass fell incomplete at the goal line, causing Heath fans to spill onto the field to celebrate.

"No matter who our kids line up against, they're going to battle and compete," Rockwall-Heath coach Mickey Moss said. "They've learned how to do that."

While Rockwall-Heath held Highland Park 143 yards below its average, Highland Park could not slow down Lawrence, who surpassed 2,000 rushing yards for the season.

Lawrence carried 36 times in regulation for 330 yards, including touchdown runs of 70, 44, 24 and 1. There was no doubt who was going to get the ball in overtime.

"He's a great example of refusing to lose," Moss said.

Highland Park, ranked No. 1 in the area 4A poll, will meet McKinney in the first round of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Murphy's Kimbrough Stadium.

Rockwall-Heath, ranked No. 4, will play Frisco Centennial at Wylie's Pirate Stadium, also at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The first half ended with the score tied, 10-10, as both defenses dominated, save for one 70-yard touchdown burst by Lawrence.

Highland Park was held to six first downs and 106 total yards in the first half; Heath had nine first downs and 189 yards.

By KEITH WHITMIRE / The Dallas Morning News

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