Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Highland Park capitalizes on miscues, overpowers Kimball to coast into 4A regionals
ARLINGTON — Don’t knock Highland Park coach Randy Allen for his reserved celebration Thursday night at AT&T Stadium after his team rolled to 58-21 area-round playoff victory against Kimball.
Allen, who is leading his team on its 19th straight playoff appearance, knows this better than most — it only gets tougher from here. Highland Park will face the winner of Mansfield Legacy and McKinney North in the regional round next week. Highland Park (11-1) hasn’t won a regional playoff game since 2007.
“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes early in the game,” Allen said. “I think it’s important that you play here once, just to get the feel of it. But they came back.”
Quarterback Brooks Burgin finished with 233 yards passing for three touchdowns, adding two more scores on the ground. Wide receivers Kevin Ken and Sam Welfelt each hauled in two touchdown catches.
Early Kimball (7-5) mistakes led to easy Highland Park scores. Down 9-0 in the second quarter, a Kimball long snap on fourth down sailed over the punter’s head and into the end zone. Highland Park defensive back Boomer Bakich recovered the ball for a touchdown. Kimball quarterback Ladarryl Blair threw an interception a few drives later deep in his own territory, and Highland Park scored five plays later on a Burgin 4-yard run.
Kimball couldn’t find any first-half offensive rhythm. It exploded on two big plays in the second quarter — a 51-yard option pitch-and-run touchdown from wide receiver Darius Moore and a 40-yard rush from Blair. But take away those two plays and the Kimball offense gained just 23 first-half yards. Highland Park led 31-7 at the break.
“Our defense did a great job of giving us field position on some turnovers to give us a short field,” Allen said. “We’ve been on the plus side of turnovers all year. That’s a good characteristic of our team.”
Kimball opened the second half with a nine-play, 79-yard touchdown drive capped by wide receiver Kedarian Jones’ 30-yard touchdown catch. Jones caught another 14-yard touchdown late in the fourth, but Kimball never inched near closing the gap.
Highland Park added four more touchdowns in the second half — two from Welfelt, one from Burgin, and another from running back Hayden Black.