Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Highland Park rallies (34 straight points) past West Mesquite to claim 10-4A lead
UNIVERSITY PARK — No streaks came to an end for Highland Park on Friday night.
The third-ranked Scots scored 34 unanswered points to come from behind and take a 41-21 victory against No. 8 West Mesquite.
The victory extended Highland Park’s winning streak at Highlander Stadium to 72, and it was the Scots’ 25th consecutive district victory. West Mesquite, which led 21-7 in the first half, has never beaten Highland Park.
The Scots (6-1, 4-0) also claimed sole possession of first place in District 10-4A.
“Our football team knew that these last two wins were important steps toward a district championship,” said coach Randy Allen, whose team escaped with a 20-19 victory last weekend against Mesquite Poteet. “They were two very good football teams, and we got by both of them.”
Junior defensive back Robert Mencke changed the pace of the game with a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown to close the first half.
The play gave Highland Park a huge momentum boost and a manageable 21-14 halftime deficit.
“They were telling us not to get beat,” Mencke said. “I read it right and just went and got it. Then I just ran as fast I could and got the touchdown.”
The interception was the first of five West Mesquite turnovers, which included four second-half fumbles.
West Mesquite (5-2, 3-1) scored three touchdowns in the span of roughly seven minutes in the first half to take a 21-7 lead. Quarterback Chason Virgil threw touchdowns of 78 and 95 yards, and linebacker Nick Akins returned a fumble 75 yards for a score.
The West Mesquite offense rushed for only 29 yards in the second half, though, and many of its big plays were followed by fumbles.
Highland Park quarterback Jet Tuma put together one of his best performances of the season. He passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and he rushed for 58 yards and two more scores.
“We never give up,” Tuma said. “Our word before the Poteet game was resilience, and I really think that’s been the key.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.