Highland Park 27, Shadow Creek 17: 2018 5A DI Texas high school football championship recap

Photo by Zac Byrd

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Highland Park dominates defensively to win third straight state title 

After giving up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Morris to Sam Morse that made it 14-6 Highland Park late in the first quarter of Saturday afternoon’s Class 5A Division I state championship, Shadow Creek marched right back down the field thanks to a handful of nice runs by quarterback Jamarian George and running back Isaiah Harper.

The Sharks moved inside the Scots’ 5-yard line before George was sacked on third and goal, forcing Shadow Creek coach Brad Butler to settle for a field goal instead of a potentially game-tying touchdown.

The defensive stand from the Highland Park ignited the two-time defending state champs, as the Scots went on to claim their third straight state title with a 27-17 score victory at AT&T Stadium.

“It can help change the momentum and the way things are going,” Butler said. “We talked about it on the sidelines – it’s huge for us to capitalize here. Sometimes it just doesn’t bounce the way you want it to.”

That second quarter possession near the goal-line was one of several times Highland Park disrupted a Shadow Creek drive by relentlessly pressuring George and forcing the senior quarterback out of his comfort zone.

George finished with 87 yards and a touchdown through the air and had 17 carries for 79 yards, but was sacked nine times and threw three interceptions – two of which were a direct result of Highland Park’s pass rush.

Prince Dorbah led the way with four sacks and four tackles for loss while Patrick Turner (two sacks, 3.5 TFL), Grant Gallas (two sacks, three TFL), and Brock Bakich (one sack, 1.5 TFL) combined to dominate the Sharks up front.

Highland Park's pass rush kept George moving all day

“The gameplan this week was just to keep him [George] contained,” Dorbah said. “We knew he was fast, and we couldn’t give him the edge. We kind of just stayed in our rush lane, did our jobs and played physical.”

Despite all of the pressure on George, he still produced the game’s most explosive play to keep things close late in the fourth quarter. George was called for intentional grounding after being chased by Dorbah, setting up a third and 26 from the Sharks’ own 1-yard line.

Jamarian George's 99-yard touchdown

Shadow Creek sent its receivers deep down the field and let George do the rest as the senior made one man miss in the middle of the field before cutting to the sideline and breaking off a 99-yard TD run.

The Sharks, trailing 27-17 with 7:14 remaining, forced a quick three and out after the long run but then turned the ball over on downs when Dorbah recorded his fourth sack of the day. Shadow Creek had one final offensive possession with less than a minute to go but couldn’t come up with a score. 

“We didn’t come into today wanting to come in second,” Butler said after leading his team to the title game in its first varsity season. “We had our eyes set on coming in here to try to win this ball game. I think as a program, we just build on it. The seeds are planted for our young kids and they’ll be extremely excited about the future. Next opportunity we find ourselves here, hopefully we can finish the deal.”

Shadow Creek scored its only first-half touchdown after Xavion Alford intercepted Morris and returned the ball inside the 15-yard line to set up a 14-yard TD pass from George to Jared Jackson.  

But aside from George’s long TD, the Sharks struggled offensively and turned the ball over four times which Highland Park converted into 10 points. The Scots held Shadow Creek to just 241 yards of offense in the win.

Prince Dorbah's fourth sack

“Defense wins championships, and our guys in the fourth quarter won it,” Allen said. “They came up with a turnover at the end and they held them out of the end zone and kept us in the game when it could have gotten real close. I’m just real proud of them – they played great on defense.”



Morris maintains Highland Park's championship-standard of quarterback play

Last year, former Highland Park quarterback John Stephen Jones etched his place front and center on the Mount Rushmore of Highland Park’s storied gridiron history.

Not only did he bring the Scots their first state championship since NFL veteran Matthew Stafford ended a near-50-year drought in 2005, he followed his 2016 championship by turning in one of the most memorable performances in state championship history while setting numerous records as the Scots went back-to-back with a thrilling win over Manvel.

Randy Allen briefly retired following the season, seemingly putting an end to the most glorious run of Highland Park football since the 1940s.

Then, a few weeks later, Allen decided to return. Maybe he knew something – he had another program-defining quarterback waiting in the wings.

“Winning a state championship is part of being a great quarterback,” Allen said when asked how junior quarterback Chandler Morris compared to Jones. “Until Chandler did that, all these comparisons would’ve been needless. John Stephen took our team to two state championships. Chandler’s had the opportunity to take his team to one championship. Of course last year’s performance (by Jones) was unbelievable, but Chandler did a wonderful job with this football team.”

Morris didn’t post record numbers on Saturday in the Scots’ methodical win over Alvin Shadow Creek, but he didn’t need to in a game that wasn’t a back-and-forth track meet like last year’s classic against Manvel. What he did do was more than enough, and he looked composed, poised and plenty special in his own right in doing so.

A year to the day after Jones’ masterpiece, Morris completed 23 of 35 pass attempts for 262 yards and three touchdowns after impressive showings late in the postseason in wins over Denton Ryan and Tyler John Tyler.

Senior wide receiver Finn Corwin was on the team in 2016 that beat Temple behind Jones and a stellar defensive effort and then caught six balls for 99 yards in last year’s win over Manvel. He said even as a freshman, when Morris was in eighth grade, he knew they’d have a lot of success down the road. That came to fruition Saturday.

“I knew he’d be my quarterback,” Corwin said of that moment four years ago. “That’s when we started our friendship. He’s been around football his whole life. His dad being  (Arkansas coach) Chad Morris, that helps us in every way. He knows how to win and he’s a young guy, but he’s one of the best guys and best leaders I know.”

So how do the two quarterbacks who have now produced a Highland Park three-peat compare? Corwin couldn’t put it in specifics, but knew how he felt about playing with each.

“They’re the two best quarterbacks I’ve ever played for, I know that,” Corwin said. “I’m really fortunate to say I played for John Stephen last year, who was, you know, John Stephen. And this year I’m playing for Chandler Morris, who’s Chandler Morris. It’s unbelievable. I can say I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world to call them both my friends and go play with both of them.”

Oh, there might be one comparison Corwin could make between the two. Even though he played his final high school game on Saturday, he expects to see Morris back on the same stage a year from now to match Jones’ back-to-back and give the Scots a fourth consecutive title.

“Oh, yes sir. Scotties find a way,” he said.

- Adam Boedeker



Highland Park 27, Alvin Shadow Creek 17

Shadow Creek







Highland Park







Scoring Summary

1st Qtr. 11:04

Highland Park – Bennett Brown 8 yd pass from Chandler Morris (Wesley Winters kick)

1st Qtr. 6:06

Shadow Creek – Jared Jackson 14-yard pass from Jamarian George (Kick failed)

1st Qtr. 2:26 

Highland Park – Sam Morse 3-yard pass from Morris (Wesley Winters kick)

2nd Qtr. 11:48 

Shadow Creek – Ian Hart 24-yard field goal 

2nd Qtr. 6:57

Highland Park – Finn Corwin 24-yard pass from Morris (Winters kick)

2nd Qtr. 3:15

Highland Park – Winters 36-yard field goal 

3rd Qtr. 6:15

Highland Park – Winters 22-yard field goal

4th Qtr. 7:14 

Shadow Creek – George 99-yard run (Kyron Drones 2-point conversion rush)

Team Stats


Shadow Creek

Highland Park

First downs



Rushing yards

31 – 140

33 – 88

Passing yards






Punts – Avg.

5 – 31.8

5 – 35

Penalties – Yards 

9 – 65

8 – 64

Fumbles – Lost 

2 – 0

0 – 0

Third-Down Conversions 



Possession Time



Shadow Creek Individual Leaders

Rushing – Jamarian George 17-79; Marquez Huland 6-30; Isaiah Harper 6-24; Kyron Drones 2-7.

Passing – Jamarian George 13-21-3-87; Kyron Drones 1-3-1-14.

Receiving – Kealon Jackson 8-58, Axcel Cruz 1-15, Jared Jackson 1-14, Ashton O’Conner 1-14, Greg Hancock 1-6, Marquez Huland 1-(-2), Isaiah Harper 1-(-4). 

Highland Park Individual Leaders

Rushing –Benner Page 21-77, Chandler Morris 11-15, TEAM 1-(-4). 

Passing – Chandler Morris 23-35-1-262, Finn Corwin 1-1-0-35, TEAM 0-1-0-0. 

Receiving – Finn Corwin 23-35-1-262, Ben Smith 4-29, Drew Dodge 3-51, Sam Morse 2-52, Bennett Brown 2-17, Benner Paige 1-6.



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