When Highland Park opens the season on Saturday, its expectations won’t match its experience level.
That’s common for the Scots, who annually have high levels of roster turnover each year but still manage to be among the top teams in the Dallas area.
HP will meet Frisco Centennial as part of the annual Tom Landry Classic in Allen, in a rematch of a season-opening game the Scots won 47-0 a year ago.
That victory jump-started a 10-2 campaign in HP’s first season at the Class 6A level. The Scots lost 19 of 22 starters from that squad, but players and coaches feel they might be even better this year.
On offense, Henry Allen takes over for Brooks Burgin as the starting quarterback. He has a strong arm and quick legs, and will throw to a deep group of receivers. Hard-nosed tailback Stephen Dieb returns after rushing for 826 yards and scoring a team-high 14 touchdowns last season.
Versatile linebacker Hayden Schnieders is the only returning starter on defense for the Scots. But he’s surrounded by a unit that has more depth and athleticism than a year ago — when HP posted four shutouts, by the way.
The Titans, who made the playoffs after that slow start last year, are led by head coach Ronny Mullins, a former athletic director at Prosper who took over after Mark Howard (who built the Centennial program from scratch) left for Trinity Christian.
Mullins inherits a solid team led by returning quarterback Court Walker (19 TD passes last year) and diminutive running back Anthony Pegues (1,792 yards and 16 scores). Raleigh Texada, who has verbally committed to Baylor, anchors the secondary.
By the way, if you come to Saturday’s game, be sure and stay in your seat at halftime for a ceremony honoring the 10th anniversary of the 2005 HP state championship team, which will be inducted into the Tom Landry Classic Hall of Honor.