Thoughts and notes from Thursday’s Highland Park-Southlake Carroll game

·5 min read

Two of the biggest programs in the state of Texas clashed at AT&T Stadium Thursday night to open the high school football season. Highland Park, a winner of three straight state championships from 2016-2018, faced off against one of 6A-DI’s favorites in Southlake Carroll.

Much of the attention this season was supposed to be on 1.000 composite-rated quarterback Quinn Ewers. The former Texas commit decided to graduate early and enroll at Ohio State. Football was undoubtedly a significant reason but the new Name, Image, and Likeness rules played a factor as well.

Nobody thinks the Dragons will be missing Ewers too much anymore after the performance from junior quarterback Kaden Anderson. Making his first career start at the varsity level, the unranked prospect looked like a seasoned veteran from the get-go.

His delivery, decision-making, and accuracy were all spot on throughout the game. Anderson looked comfortable in the pocket too, stepping up into open space when Highland Park rarely got pressure. Everything you thought we would be writing about Ewers this fall.

Likely no one would have known Anderson was in the limelight for the first time in his career. He looked comfortable from the first snap.

While I was not originally at the game to cover it, ESPNU’s broadcast was captured by some Twitter users.

Here are a few of Anderson’s highlights:

Anderson finished the night with 261 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing a third of his passes. He even rushed one into the end zone on fourth down, one play after fumbling the exchange with Southlake running back Owen Allen.

The junior currently has no rating on any of the three major recruiting websites (247Sports, ESPN, and Rivals). No offers have been reported either.

I can imagine that will all change sooner rather than later. Southlake Carroll has a long lineage of producing college-level quarterbacks. Head coach Riley Dodge has found his next guy.

Arch Manning is clearly the guy for Texas in the 2023 class. If one of the other national programs end up snatching the five-star, backup plans will need to come within the state. Do not count Anderson out as one of the options.

It’s early on in his career, but Anderson looks the part. We’ll see how he fairs against 6A competition week in and week out.

Other players of note

Owen Allen – Southlake Carroll ’23 RB

Highland Park seemed scared to tackle Allen, especially once in the open field. Southlake’s offensive line was creating holes all night for the running back and he was running straight through the Scots.

He finished with 215 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, averaging over 10 yards per touch. Just like his quarterback, Allen is unranked by the recruiting services and has zero offers. Again, I expect that to change fairly soon.

Brennan Storer – Highland Park ’23 QB

Highland Park’s recent run in 5A-DI has produced three straight Divison I quarterbacks as well. John Stephen Jones (Jerry Jones’ grandson) is at Arkansas, Chandler Morris enrolled at Oklahoma before transferring to TCU, while Brenden Schager just won the backup role at Hawaii.

Brennan Storer was next in line to put up major numbers for the Scots but his time will have to wait. The junior quarterback finished with 150 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception on 12-20 passing.

Flashes of the potential were shown, especially on the run. Storer seemingly was sacked on 2nd and 26 before making some magic.

Storer’s other score on the night was a nice throw across the middle of Southlake’s defense to wide receiver John Rutledge.

According to 247Sports, Kansas is the only Division I school to offer the junior quarterback. With how gaudy of numbers Highland Park will put up on a weekly basis, Storer will be the next Scot to play big-time college football. Time will tell over the next two seasons.

Remaining notes

Highland Park’s edge Jack Curtis (2022) got in the backfield at least once on Thursday. After getting knocked down by a double team, the three-star prospect was to able get back up and wrap up Anderson.

North Texas was Curtis’ main offer, with Arizona being the sole Power Five program interested. Air Force and Army have expressed interest as well.

Southlake Carroll 2022 tight end RJ Maryland looked like a major mismatch all night. While the Boston College tight end and Anderson were only able to connect twice, he lined up all across the field as a receiver. Only a handful of times did he end up putting his hand on the ground.

Maryland committed to Boston College in late June after taking an official visit to Miami. The son of former first overall draft pick Russell Maryland, the football talent has been passed down to the next generation.

As things stand, Texas has not offered any of the players mentioned throughout the post. Edge Prince Dorbah was the last Highland Park player for Texas, while Andrej Karic was the last from Southlake Carroll.