High school football: Highland Park defense comes through in 13-7 win over Central

The story behind Highland Park’s 13-7 victory over Central on Thursday night sits on the shoulders of a Scots defense that allowed just one touchdown and almost completely shut down the Minutemen’s offense.

The Scots held Central quarterback Cole Fee to 2-for-15 passing for 9 yards and intercepted him twice, one of which sealed their victory.

Fee provided most of the Minutemen’s offense by running, finishing with 92 rushing yards on 20 carries. Besides that, the offensive production was close to minimal. Central was held to just 17 rushing yards outside of Fee’s production.

“He put the team on his back, and you know, he’s an excellent runner. This is only his second year playing quarterback and he’ll get better in the passing game. We aren’t gonna hang our heads about that; he’ll get better,” Central head coach Scott Howell said about Fee.

The Scots scored on their first two possessions, first on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Shea Landa to Monaire Vaughn and then on a 42-yard run from sophomore running back Melvin Mensah.

Mensah was a menace on both sides of the ball. He finished with 91 rushing yards on 15 carries. On defense, Mensah came up with one of the interceptions of Fee. The Scots’ defensive line was successful in getting to Fee and forcing him into some ill-advised throws.

“We knew this last year, what Melvin needed was to just get into the gym,” Highland Park head coach Jonathan Brown. “The kid is a workhorse … the dude is a man-child, it’s just his thing — he’s a dual threat.”

The Scots’ defense held strong in the second half, erasing several mistakes by the offense by forcing the Minutemen to the turn ball over on downs.

Fee’s 2-yard-run touchdown run in the third quarter seemed to signal a change in momentum for the Minutemen, but the Scots’ defense continued to come up big. Fee’s final pass attempt was intercepted by Peter Douma to seal Highland Park’s victory.

“You know the mistakes, it’s a rivalry game, you know this (is gonna happen),” Brown said. “The stands are packed, you know it’s gonna go back and forth. The defense was solid. … This time the defense limited the big plays, that’s what we do.”

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