One mark of a good high school football team is the ability to limit or overcome mistakes.

On Friday night at Green Memorial Stadium, the Highland Hornets averted damage from four turnovers — three in the red zone — to defeat the host Bulldogs 14-7 in a midseason nonconference matchup.

It didn’t take long before the Hornets became loose with the ball.

After forcing Green into a 3-and-out on its first possession, Highland running back Jake Rogers returned the ensuing punt 60 yards to the 2-yard-line before he was stripped of the ball and Green junior Julian Lafine recovered.

Not to worry, though. Rogers would get his revenge.

The do-everything junior racked up 181 all-purpose yards on 21 touches, scoring both touchdowns and icing the game down the stretch.

“We ask a lot out of Jake,” Highland coach Mike Gibbons said. “He is a special kid and he is dangerous with the ball in his hands.”

After the Bulldogs (3-3) got out to a 7-0 lead on a beautiful, 11-yard play-action rollout pass from Kage Williams to Matthew Amison, the Hornets answered with a 14-yard swing pass to the shifty Rogers to tie it back up at 7-7.

“We have a lot of seniors, so I think that experience helped after we shot ourselves in the foot with some turnovers and penalties,” Gibbons said.

Trying to answer before the half, Williams scrambled Green down to the Highland 18 and called his team’s final timeout with 24 seconds left.

After connecting on an eight-yard crossing route, the Bulldogs elected not to spike the ball, instead attempting to run the field-goal unit onto the field. But the whistle blew just before the successful attempt, and the score remained 7-7 at the break.

That was just some more good fortune for the Hornets (6-0), ranked fourth in the latest Associated Press Division II state poll.

As the third quarter dwindled down, the Hornets seemed primed to score again, but wide receiver Ryan Frederick tripped over an official and Green safety Tyler Smith secured the interception in the end zone.

The Highland defense answered the call again, however, and got the ball back to set up Rogers and the read option offense.

On their way back to the red zone, the Hornets converted two third downs behind fullback Max Beier. Facing a third-and-3 at the 8-yard line, Rogers bounced the delayed handoff around the end and helped Highland ward off the upset to stay undefeated.

“We learned a lot of lessons last season,” Gibbons said of the close losses that kept Highland from reaching Week 11 a year ago. “You can talk about it all you want and hope that you better yourself, but at the end of the day the kids have to experience it, show it and execute it.”

Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps.