For the first time since 2001, Highland Park won’t start the season in the Tom Landry Classic. But the competition level will be as high as ever.
The Scots will host Rockwall on Friday to kick off another season of high expectations by putting an experienced defense to the test immediately.
HP is dropping back down to the Class 5A level this season, where it will be one of the state’s largest schools in terms of enrollment. For the last two years, the Scots played in 6A, where they were one of the smallest schools but still won 20 of 24 games, including a district title.
So this season feels like a new chapter in the program’s history in several ways, with so many fresh faces to lead HP’s high-powered offense. While there are question marks on that side of scrimmage, however, the defense is expected to be among the best in the Dallas area, especially with a linebacker corps that includes returning starters Matt Gahm (who has verbally committed to Virginia), John House, and Bennett Brock.
The Scots have won five straight games at Highlander Stadium since having their 84-game home winning streak snapped by Pulaski Academy in last season’s home opener.
Rockwall is the only 6A opponent on this season’s HP schedule, and the Yellowjackets have made deep playoff runs in each of the past two years, losing to Lake Travis in the Region II final in 2015.
The Jackets lost some firepower on offense but return receiver Sam Crawford (who caught 15 touchdown passes a year ago) and quarterback Matt Jones, who has some varsity experience.
The game will be the first of three nondistrict contests for HP, which will travel to Waxahachie next week and host Mansfield Timberview on Sept. 9. The District 15-5A opener will be Sept. 16 at home against Lovejoy.