On the wrong end of what aptly can be described as gridiron manslaughter, a heated Mike Foristiere had a point to make about his own mortality.

Highland Park football was bludgeoned 98-16 by visiting Emporia on Friday night at Hummer Sports Park, a contest that saw the Spartans score 49 first-quarter points en route to a double-take-worthy 84-8 halftime advantage.

The outcome was the 49th consecutive defeat for the Scots (0-6, 0-5 Centennial League), but as their head coach indicated after the game, it was unlike anything he’d ever seen.

“You know what? I’ll be real honest with you: 37 years in this profession and I’ve never done that (expletive),” said Foristiere, in his second season with the Scots. “I never have.”

Here lies Highland Park?

“What did they prove? Is that going to be on your damn tombstone?” Foristiere said. “I tell my kids every day: Wins and losses aren’t going to be on my damn tombstone. What’s going to be is the difference I make on their lives. What’s that dash represent on that tombstone? That’s the most important thing, right? That’s what it’s all about.”

There’s a lot to unpack here.

Foristiere took umbrage with Emporia and coach Corby Milleson, accusing the Spartans (4-2, 4-1) of running up the score, continuing to pass with the game well in hand and hunting for the 100-point benchmark — Emporia scored a 50-yard rushing touchdown with 19 seconds left and took a timeout to prevent the running clock from expiring, but opted to take a knee on the ensuing two-point try, ending the game.

“It’s disrespectful,” Foristiere said. “Hey, I know we’re down. But I’d rather be with these kids than them, and that’s exactly how I feel. But it’s dead wrong what they did. Dead wrong. ...

“You can question anything I call, you can question the calls I make in a game, but the one thing I always take with me (is) you can’t question my integrity. And the integrity of the game, you don’t do those things.”

In all fairness to Emporia, Highland Park didn’t exactly help its cause in the bloodbath, at least not in the opening half.

Ten of the Spartans’ 12 first-half possessions began in Scot territory — Highland Park doesn’t list a punter on its 25-man varsity roster and went for it on every fourth down, often to disastrous results. Emporia capitalized on the short fields by running the ball with great success, scoring nine touchdowns on 19 carries ahead of the intermission.

Of the Spartans' first 11 drives, all but two were capped with touchdowns in two plays or fewer.

Milleson, who pulled his starters midway through the second quarter, acknowledged the final margin gave the appearance his team ran up the score but insisted that simply wasn’t the case.

“I was hoping that he might have punted the ball so we would’ve had a little bit of a longer field and not had four possessions inside their 20 or inside their 30,” Milleson said. “We’ve got to get some work, too. We played a lot of younger kids, and we tell them it’s not our job not to score; it’s their job to stop us. ...

“I don’t know. I don’t feel good about this score. I don’t feel good about this game. I just don’t know what we do.”

Milleson also defended his decision to go for it on fourth down on the Spartans’ first (and penultimate) drive of the second half, which was capped with a touchdown and a successful two-point conversion.

“We don’t kick field goals or extra points at the non-varsity level, so I’m not going to put kids out there against his varsity unit and have them in a position where they’re unprotected,” Milleson said. “If he has issue with that, I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is. Stop us.”

The Scots did score a pair of touchdowns, 74- and 19-yard connections from junior quarterback Tre’Vion Prosper to junior wide receiver Jeremy Kendrick.

Foristiere and Milleson agreed on one thing: Unprompted, both mentioned the Scots’ undefeated freshman team, citing it as a reason for optimism within the struggling program.

“I think Highland Park’s doing some good things, I really do,” Milleson said. “... I admire the heart that their head coach has, coach Foristiere. I admire what he’s doing with the freshman class, holding them back so they learn how to win and can build a program over there. ...

“Their kids are great kids, I’m sure, and they work very hard for him. It’s got to be hard.”

That promising wave, however, will have to wait at least another year.

“They’re freshmen. I wouldn’t bring 14-year-olds up to play 18-year-olds,” Foristiere said. “They still arrest you for murder in this state, right? ...

“We’ve got some talent, we’ve got some young kids, but we’ve got to let them grow. You’ve gotta let them grow. I’m not going anywhere soon — at least I hope not, unless the ol’ key doesn’t fit. I’ve been in that situation before.”



Highland Park;8;0;0;8;—;16

Emporia — Hoyt 18 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Baumgardner 8 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Miller 18 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Douglas 3 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Lee 12 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Snyder 17 pass from Miller (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Lee 4 run (Hoyt kick)

Highland Park — Kendrick 74 pass from Prosper (Murphy run)

Emporia — Snyder 51 from Miller (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Douglas 41 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Williams 35 run (Hoyt kick)

Emporia — Williams 37 run (run failed)

Emporia — Trujillo 7 pass from Williams (Lee run)

Emporia — A. Jackson 1 run (Bueno pass from Geitz)

Highland Park — Kendrick 19 pass from Prosper (Prosper run)

Emporia — Kohlmeier 50 run (run failed)


RUSHING — Emporia: Hoyt 1-18, Williams 3-79, Beatty 2-32, Lee 6-85, Baumgardner 1-8, Galbreath 8-40, Miller 2-40, Keys 3-19, Douglas 4-69, Cade Kohlmeier 1-50, A. Jackson 2-3. Highland Park: Prosper 20-66, Kendrick 3-1, Murphy 4-11.

PASSING — Emporia: Miller 3-5-0, 77 yards, Williams 2-3-0, 13 yards, Geitz 1-2-0, 3 yards, Cade Kohlmeier 0-1-0, 0 yards. Highland Park: Prosper 16-31-1, 183 yards.

RECEIVING — Emporia: Snyder 2-68, Cal Kohlmeier 1-9, Garate 1-6, Trujillo 1-7, Orozco 1-3. Highland Park: Kendrick 8-126, Johnson 4-43, Murphy 3-9, Simms 1-5.