Rockwall-Heath’s Kendial Lawrence ran up and down the field all night long, rushing for 365 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries, leading the undefeated Hawks (10-0, 7-0) past Highland Park (9-1, 6-1) last night in an overtime thriller, 38-31, at sold-out Wilkerson-Sanders stadium in Rockwall.
Tied at 31 going in to overtime, Lawrence carried three more times from the 30-yard line – the last an 18-yard run for a touchdown right through the Scots defense – to give Rockwall-Heath its first District 10-4A championship, in just its fourth year of existence.
The victory snapped Highland Park’s streaks of 47 consecutive regular-season wins and 45 straight district wins.
The game ended when Highland Park was unable to score on its only overtime possession. On fourth down at about Heath’s 3-yard line, quarterback Luke Woodley’s pass was low and hit the ground.
Lawrence also went over 2,000 yards rushing in a single-season, establishing several records in the process. He credited the blocking of Heath’s offensive line.
“I knew from the beginning we were going to get it,” said Lawrence, who also scored on runs of 70, 44, 24 and 1 yard. “When it came down to it, I kept fighting, my team kept fighting, and we got it.”
“No matter who our kids line up against, they’re going to battle and compete,” Rockwall-Heath coach Mickey Moss said. “They’ve learned how to do that.”
The Hawks nearly won the game in regulation play, but as they drove deep into Scots territory for an expected field goal attempt, a high snap from center with just 15 seconds left on the clock flew over the head of quarterback Drew Hollingshead, and time ran out as he recovered.
The Hawks also nearly scored a winning touchdown on their previous series, but were stopped by Highland Park inside their 10-yard line on fourth down.
Highland Park then took the ball and, after a fourth down punt which hit the back of a Hawk player, managed to recover the ball on about Heath’s 40-yard line.
Given new life, Highland Park quarterback Luke Woodley drove his team the rest of the way to tie the score at 31 with just over three minutes to play with his third touchdown pass.
Woodley completed 33 of 54 passes for 255 yards and rushed for one TD.
Rockwall-Heath held Highland Park 143 yards below their average yardage, but the Scots could not stop Lawrence, whom everybody knew would get the call in overtime.
“He’s a great example of refusing to lose,” Moss said.
The first half was a defensive struggle, ending with the score tied 10-10. But in the second half, both offenses came alive, when Lawrence rushed for 226 yards, including OT.
Fourth-ranked Rockwall-Heath will begin playoff play next Friday night, playing Frisco Centennial at Wylie’s Pirate Stadium, beginning at 7:30 pm.
Highland Park, currently ranked No. 1 in the area 4A poll, will meet McKinney in the first round of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Murphy’s Kimbrough Stadium.
For more local sports scores, stories and photos, visit the Sports page at www.rockwallrocks.com.