By RICK PETERSON
Highland Park's football team was probably going to need to be at full strength to have a chance of knocking off undefeated Atchison Thursday night.
Unfortunately for the Scots, they weren't even close to that as the Phoenix took a big step towards a second straight Meadowlark Conference victory with a 64-8 romp at Hummer Sports Park.
"We had a total of almost 20 players out today, and 11 of them were varsity,'' said Highland Park coach Jermaine Monroe, who only had 27 players in uniform.
Atchison, which improved to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the Meadowlark, scored all eight times it touched the ball in the first half, including a defensive touchdown, as the Phoenix opened up a commanding 57-0 halftime advantage.
With a running clock in use throughout the second half due to the 45-point spread rule, Atchison also scored on its first possession of the second half to take a 64-0 lead with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
Highland Park, which fell to 4-2 overall, 4-1 in the Meadowlark with its second straight loss, did get on the scoreboard late in the game, with junior quarterback Ja'Corey Robinson hitting junior Jamon Wilson for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Robinson also ran for the 2-point conversion to account for the final margin.
Robinson has been used mainly as a receiver for the Scots, but with starter Craig Sipple and backup CJ Brown both unavailable Thursday night, Robinson was pressed into duty at quarterback against Atchison.
"I think he did a heck of a job,'' Monroe said of Robinson. "He only had one true practice of offense and I actually think he's competing now for a spot. Everything that happened negatively wasn't his fault.''
Highland Park was held to minus rushing yardage by the Phoenix defense, but Robinson completed eight of 18 pass attempts for 103 yards, including the TD pass to Wilson, who caught seven passes for 88 yards on the night.
Despite the lopsided loss, Monroe felt like his shorthanded team fought to the end of Thursday's game.
"We had a lot of young guys out there and had guys in new spots and stuff but they gave us 100 percent and they tried their hardest,'' Monroe said. "To play a team like that we've got to be at our best. I kind of wish we faced them a little earlier in the season before the injuries and grades and stuff came into play but I tip my hat to (Atchison). Those guys are disciplined and a hard playing team and I wish them the best for the rest of the season.
"This did give our guys some experience that they normally wouldn't get at this time of the year, like the freshmen and sophomores that got to play today.''
Highland Park will be back at Hummer next Thursday to host Kansas City-Northeast, Mo. in a non-league contest.
ATCHISON 57, HIGHLAND PARK 0
Atchison (6-0, 5-0) 36 21 7 0 -- 64
Highland Park (4-2, 4-1) 0 0 0 8 -- 8
Atchison -- Kelley 45 pass from T. Carter (Smith III pass from J. Purdy)
Atchison -- T. Carter 5 run (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- T. Carter 58 run (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- J. Carter 28 run (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- Smith III 25 fumble return (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- Hernandez 49 run (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- J. Purdy 42 pass from T. Carter (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- J. Carter 5 run (Bonnel kick)
Atchison -- J. Carter 1 run (Bonnel kick)
Highland Park -- Wilson 40 pass from Robinson (Robinson run)
Rushing -- Atchison: T. Carter 6-91, J. Carter 9-83, Hernandez 1-49, Rebant 4-15, Dunbar 1-7, Y. Purdy 1-6. Highland Park: Wilson 3-10, Taylor 2-3, Williams-Sanders 1-5, Montgomery 4-(minus)-13, Robinson 9-(minus)-17, Williams 1-(minus)-19.
Passing -- Atchison: T. Carter 5-6-0, 148 yards. Highland Park: Robinson 8-18-0, 103 yards.
Receiving -- Atchison: Kelley 2-80, J. Purdy 2-51, Smith III 1-17. Highland Park: Wilson 7-88, Williams 1-15.