Washburn Rural bounced back from a disappointing overtime defeat last Friday to mount an insurmountable lead against Highland Park en route to a 47-28 victory at Hummer Sports Park.
The Junior Blues showed no signs of a letdown after falling 32-31 to Manhattan last week. They jumped out to a 41-0 lead and held on despite an impressive second half by the winless Scots.
"After last week I was a little concerned how we would come back this week, but we had a good week of practice and the kids stayed focus on this game," Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler said. "So I was happy with the all-around effort."
Dayten Smoot opened the scoring midway through the first period with a 2-yard plunge into the end zone.
Highland Park kept the game close for the first 15 minutes. But the floodgates opened when Washburn Rural quarterback Cooper Carlgren found Robby Bolin for a 15-yard scoring strike to go up 14-0 three minutes into the second quarter.
The Junior Blues followed up the Bolin score with three more touchdowns in rapid succession. Carlgren ran 4 yards for a touchdown. Then the senior quarterback found Ma’kenttis Adams for a 44-yard scoring strike. And with 1:01 left in the second period, Carlgren tossed to Amr Sabbarini, who outfought a defender for the ball in the end zone.
Washburn Rural rushed for 100 yards and Carlgren threw for 208 in the first half.
"I was happy with the way we came out," Buhler said. "The game got off to a little bit of a slow start, but we got going on offense, and our defense did a really good job of setting the tempo."
Washburn Rural tacked on another score on the third play of the second half, a 45-yard scamper by Adams. The 41-0 advantage looked safe.
But Highland Park didn’t go away. Quarterback Tre’Vion Prosper engineered four second-half scoring drives to make the final score 47-28. Jeremy Kendrick hauled in two scoring passes from Prosper and ran for another touchdown. Prosper added a rushing touchdown of his own.
"We’re definitely headed in the right direction," said Scots coach Mike Foristiere. "Highland Park has not been an easy rebuild, but teams are congratulating us and giving us kudos. They see what we’re doing. They see we’re doing a lot of good things.
"We’re short numbers with injuries. Our guys got tired but they didn’t give up. We started with about 50 players before COVID, when we dropped down to about 25. We’re doing what we can, but I think the future is very promising."
Often scrambling for his life, Prosper accumulated 179 yards rushing and 170 yards passing in the second half.
"He’s definitely a leader," Foristere said. "It’s hard for a kid to deal with so much adversity, but he’s doing a great job and we’re going to keep pushing forward."
Washburn Rural improved to 3-4, 2-3 in the Centennial League.
Six different Junior Blues found the end zone against Highland Park. Seven different players carried the ball for Washburn Rural, while four had at least one reception.
"It was a team performance," Buhler said. "A lot of people were touching the ball. It was nice to spread the passes around tonight."
WASHBURN RURAL 47, HIGHLAND PARK 28
Washburn Rural (3-4, 2-3);7;27;7;6;—;47
Highland Park (0-4, 0-4);0;0;12;16;—;28
Washburn Rural — Smoot 3 yard run (Frederickson kick)
Washburn Rural — Bolin 15 yard pass from Carlgren (Frederickson kick)
Washburn Rural — Carlgren 4 yard run (Frederickson kick)
Washburn Rural — Adams 44 yard pass from Carlgren (Frederickson kick)
Washburn Rural — Sabbarini 8 yard pass from Carlgren (kick failed)
Washburn Rural — Adams 45 yard run (Frederickson kick)
Highland Park — Kendrick 46 yard pass from Prosper (run failed)
Highland Park — Kendrick 3 yard run (run failed)
Washburn Rural — Hartter 8 yard run (kick failed)
Highland Park — Prosper 9 yard run (Prettyman run)
Highland Park — Kendrick 12 yard pass from Prosper (Davis run)
RUSHING — Washburn Rural: Fager 7-58, Carlgren 5-35, Smoot 3-6, Adams 8-62, Williams 4-56, Hartter 2-13, Weber 6-55; Highland Park: Prosper 25-205, Johnson 1-(minus 1), Kendrick 4-11, Prettyman 5-8.
PASSING — Washburn Rural: Carlgren 9-15-0 208 yards, Hartter 1-6-1 5 yards; Highland Park: Prosper 20-43-0 196 yards.
RECEIVING — Washburn Rural: Hanks 4-76, Sabbarini 2-41, Bolin 3-52, Adams 1-44; Highland Park: Richardson 6-31, Prettyman 3-7, Kendrick 9-139, Patterson 1-11, Davis 1-8.
PUNTING — Washburn Rural: Smoot 2-31.5; Highland Park: Patterson 7-18.4.