Ishmael Powell had a perfect conversion rate for Highland Park on Friday.
The senior receiver had three first-half catches, and each accounted for six points.
Yeah, it was a pretty good outing for he and quarterback Monaire Vaughn, seniors who’ve been pals since early in elementary school.
“He was one of my first friends. I met him in kindergarten. From there on we’ve been hitting it off. We’ve watched each other grow up,” Powell said.
Vaughn threw for four scores and ran for another as the Scots bounced back nicely with a 39-6 rout of fellow St. Paul City school Johnson.
He finished 15 of 27 for 165 yards, all but 10 coming in the first half.
Charlie Fragassi returned an interception 34 yards to the house for Highland Park (2-1), whose defense was less than a minute away from shutting out an opponent for the second time in three weeks.
Coach Jonathan Brown was most pleased the Scots played as a team one week after falling 14-7 to Bloomington Kennedy.
“We just needed to get back to doing our stuff. My message to them wasn’t so much that we needed to win, but that we needed to find ourselves in our play,” he said.
“We had, I think, seven different receivers catch the ball. We’re throwing to the running backs, spreading it around. That’s our identity,” Brown said. “In high school, when you emphasize on one guy, he’s forced to be a superhero. In our system, we don’t require that. Everybody does their part. It’s a team game. That’s what we needed to get back to. Not thinking about the number on the jersey, but how do each of us contribute to the success of our team.”
Johnson (0-3), which has just eight seniors on its 36-man roster, got a 60-yard touchdown reception from Julius Osgood with 32.6 seconds left. However, its quarterbacks threw five interceptions.
Johnson nearly scored late in the first half after an Isaiah Henderson interception in Scots territory, but Charlie Pickart had a pick for Highland Park two plays later.
It sparked the Scots for a final first-half score in the waning seconds.
Vaughn scrambled for 10 yards on third down early in the drive, Russell Lee ran for 21 yards and Vaughn connected with Shea Landa for his sixth of his seven catches. With 12.9 seconds left, Powell beat a defender and Vaughn’s pass hit him in stride for a 35-yard score and a 32-0 halftime cushion.
Using a ball-control offense, the Scots took 14 plays for a 6-0 lead midway through the first frame.
Just two plays went for double-digit yardage, with the touchdown nearly being one of them. Instead, it was Vaughn with a dart to Powell from the 9.
The duo hooked up from the 6 later in the quarter, with Vaughn deftly lobbing a pass over a defender to the 6-foot-6 Powell in the corner.
“He’s a strong emotional leader and kind of gives you the sense that he can do anything,” Brown said of Powell. “Monaire is a good player. I think it took a couple years for him to really genuinely believe that he deserved to be good.”
Terez Vaughn had a 10-yard touchdown reception to make it 39-0 in the third quarter.