After a successful transition to Class 6A last fall, Highland Park will hit the practice field this spring motivated to keep the momentum going.
When spring drills open today, coaches will have plenty of position battles to evaluate and players will face the challenge of adapting to new or expanded roles.
One of them is Henry Allen, who will likely become the new starting quarterback after the graduation of two-year starter Brooks Burgin.
Allen, a senior, saw limited action in a back-up role last season after being moved up from the junior-varsity level, completing two of seven passes for 23 yards while rushing seven times for 15 yards.
“Henry’s able to execute our offense, so I don’t see any big changes,” said HP head coach Randy Allen.
Overall, HP returns just three starters — running back Stephen Dieb, offensive tackle Jack Sides, and linebacker Hayden Schnieders — from a team that finished 11-2 last season and fell to Waco Midway in the second round of the playoffs.
“We had one of our better teams, but we’ll just regroup and see how we match up again,” Randy Allen said. “We lost some seniors. It’s going to be an important spring training for competition for positions. The main thing will be to get our depth chart ready for the fall.”
He said the Scots have tried to develop more speed and strength during the offseason to match the improved competition at the 6A level. HP has placed a greater emphasis on powerlifting, and has more than 100 football players in its track program.
“We needed one season to kind of get our bearings and gauge what we’re doing against our competition,” Randy Allen said. “Our guys have gained lots of strength. Track is part of that emphasis, getting faster. The other part is the mental toughness that we require in our offseason. We’re not far off. We’ve just got to execute better in those games.”