Should Highland Park fans be worried? The Scots are 2-1 heading into District 10-6A play, but they haven’t looked nearly as dominant as they did during nondistrict play a year ago.
Playing against the same three opponents, HP held a cumulative point differential of plus-107 at this point in 2014. This year, the point differential is minus-18. And the Scots had their 84-game home winning streak broken in convincing fashion by Pulaski Academy two weeks ago.
But there’s probably no need to hit the panic button prior to the district opener on Sept. 25 against North Mesquite, and here are a few reasons why.
First, HP typically gets stronger as the season goes along. That’s the case with other schools as well, but the Scots have enough stability in their system to help deal with years of heavy roster turnover.
Second, HP has looked formidable in spurts this season, especially during the first half against both Frisco Centennial and Prosper. It might be a matter of finding more consistency than needing major improvement.
Third, the Scots are in one of the more favorable 6A districts in the Dallas area, one that appears to lack dominant teams. The 10-6A slate will be difficult — perhaps more so than last season — but HP should still be favored almost every week.
Every team in the district has a bye this week, so it’s a good time to examine how the seven future HP opponents are stacking up thus far.
The most intriguing team is also the only unbeaten one — North Mesquite, which has outscored its three opponents by a combined 145-21. The Stallions haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, but they appear much improved behind the junior combination of dual-threat quarterback Ja’Quez Gooch and running back Dreshawn Minnieweather.
Richardson Pearce and Richardson Berkner are each 2-1 and have racked up plenty of points while not playing much defense. Mesquite and defending district champion Mesquite Horn are both 1-2 against solid competition. In Horn’s case, that record includes a forfeit against Duncanville when the Jaguars used an ineligible player. The Horn offense has looked stout behind quarterback Chris Robison.
Both Lake Highlands and Richardson are winless, with the Wildcats probably looking the better of the two based on competitiveness.
The bottom line is that the race for four playoff spots should be wide open. Expect HP, Horn, and North Mesquite to be the front-runners — in no particular order — with a logjam behind them.