Highland Park has a district championship among its goals every year, giving Friday’s 6-5A Div. I opener plenty of meaning.
However, the game against Bryan Adams at Highlander Stadium also presents an opportunity for the Scots to bounce back after a 30-19 loss to Frisco Lone Star last week. That defeat not only ended HP’s school-record 33-game winning streak, but it also was the first home loss for the Scots against an in-state opponent in more than two decades.
The Scots (2-1) will try to start those streaks from scratch in a contest that — like a handful on the district slate — appears to be a mismatch on paper.
HP crushed the Cougars 49-0 last season in a weather-shortened game. BA went on to finish 1-9 with a young squad that returns more than a dozen starters looking for improvement.
The Scots defeated a pair of perennial Class 6A playoff teams in Rockwall and Mesquite Horn before the Lone Star loss. They’ve scored 137 points in three games, which makes it easier to overlook the eight turnovers (all interceptions).
Still, one key that lifted HP to an unbeaten record and a Class 5A Division I state title a year ago was turnover margin. So far this season, the Scots have only three takeaways, and their inexperienced secondary has struggled to contain elite receivers.
That shouldn’t be as much of a factor on Friday. The Cougars (1-2) started this year with a pair of lopsided losses before rebounding with a 12-0 shutout of Fort Worth Southwest. The offense has scuffled, with just two total offensive touchdowns in three games behind new quarterback Amari Jones and fullback Richard Hayes.
Meanwhile, the HP offense has looked menacing for the most part. Dual-threat quarterback Chandler Morris, an Arkansas commit, has thrown for 990 yards and seven touchdowns while running for a team-high eight scores.
Injuries have depleted the Scots on the offensive line, in the backfield, and on special teams. However, the receiving trio of Ben Smith, Case Savage and Paxton Anderson has been excellent in combining for 48 catches, 727 yards, and five touchdowns.
Friday’s game also gives HP head coach Randy Allen another opportunity to earn his 395th career victory, which would give him sole possession of third place on the state’s all-time wins list.