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Highland Park Wins Instant Classic 53-49

One of the Greatest Games Ever!

AT&T Stadium - The 2017 Class 5A DI State Championship pitted the Manvel Mavericks (14-0) against the Dallas Highland Park Scots (14-1.) The Scots return to Jerry's World in search of back-to-back state championship wins, beating Temple last year 16-7.  Manvel was last at the title game in 2011 when they lost to Aledo 49-28.

The teams traded punts to start the game and then the fireworks started. Maverick receiver Kam Scott took a reverse 75 yards to the Scot 5 yard line. Manvel was then able to score on a 4th and 1 play on a run by Garrison Johnson to take a 7-0 lead.  Highland Park was still not able to get anything going on their next drive and punted. Manvel drove to the Scot 28 yard line but turned the ball over on downs. One play later, the Scots scored on a flea-flicker that turned into a 73 yard scoring pass from John Stephens Jones to Cade Saustad.  That tied it all up at 7.  One play later, receiver Jalen Preston (A&M Commit) took a short pass from Kason Martin and went 69 yards for a touchdown to make the score 14-7. The first quarter ended with the Scots moving the ball.

Highland Park drove to the Manvel 5 but turned the ball over on downs after a sack. On the first play from scrimmage, Martin hit Terrence Norman for a 78 yard pass play to up the score to 21-7. The Scots were forced to punt after Jones got sacked again. That was the 7th sack of the game for the Mavericks which is an all-time state championship record. Manvel got the ball with 3:08 remaining but could not do anything and had to punt. The Scots had one last chance at their own 44 with 1:45 remaining. They were able to get a 32 yard field goal to make it 21-10 at half.

Highland Park opened the 2nd half with a 7 play 70 yard drive that ended with a 10 yard run by Paxton Alexander. Conner Allen (Head Coach Randy Allen's grandson) ran in the 2 point conversion to bring the scor eto 21-18. Manvel responded with a drive that ended with a 1 handed catch by Preston in the end zone and Manvel led 28-18. The Scots came back and Stephens-Jones hit Jay Smith for a touchdown pass to make the score 28-25. Highland Park linebacker James Herring caused a fumble that gave the Scots the ball at the 50. They were unable to do anything with it and punted but only got a 7 yard punt giving Manvel the ball at midfield. One play later, Scott caught a 52 yard pass BUT it was called back on a penalty. Two plays later Scott caught a 62 yard touchdown pass to put the score at 35-25. The 3rd quarter ended with Highland Park having the ball.

Alexander caught a 79 yard pass to open the 4th quarter to move to the Manvel 5 yard line. One play later, Benner Page ran it in to make the score 35-32. Preston took the 1st play pass for a touchdown going 95 yards. That was the 2nd longest pass play in championship history. That moved the Manvel lead to 42-32. The Scots scored on their next possession when receiver Cade Saustad caught a 8 yard pass to make the score 42-39 with 6:42 left in the game. Scott then returned the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown making the score 49-39. That was the longest kickoff return in state championship history. Highland Park got the ball back but turned the ball over on downs at the Manvel 47 with 4:15 left. Manvel was forced to punt and the Scots have the ball at their own 13 with 3:07 left. They went on a 7 play 87 yard drive that only took 1:01 off the clock to make the score 49-46. The Scots weren't done however.

Highland Park recovered the onside kick. With 1:11 left in the game, they faced a 4th and 15 at the Manvel 39. Receiver Finn Corwin caught a 28 yard pass to get the first down. Saustad then caught a touchdown pass with 34 seconds left to put Highland Park ahead 53-49. Manvel had one last shot and drove from their 22 yard line to the Highland Park 30 with 8 seconds left. Martin threw it to Preston at the 1 yard line where he was tackled and time ran out.

The stadium erupted after having witnessed what many are already calling the greatest high school football game they have ever seen.  The Highland Park fans stormed onto the field as they did last year at this time to celebrate this dramatic, come-from-behind win for their second consecutive state title.

by Michael Wright

Offensive MVP:  Highland Park quarterback John Stephens Jones (37 of 58 for 564 yards and 4 touchdowns)

Defensive MVP: Manvel defensive lineman DePriest Taylor (10 tackles 3 sacks)

Attendance: 24,975

Highland Park73152853
Highland ParkManvel
35First Downs17
82Rushing Yds157
564Passing Yds483
646Total Yds640

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