It’s been six months since Highland Park’s football season ended with an upset loss to Frisco Wakeland in the second round of the Class 5A Region I playoffs.
Yet for returning players, the sting of that defeat is still vivid, offering some motivation during three weeks of spring practices that provided valuable preparation for the upcoming 2022 season.
“The guys are making a lot of progress,” said HP head coach Randy Allen, who is entering his 24th season at the school. “We’ve gotten a great look at our players who are competing for starting positions and have a good feel for our depth chart.”
The Scots practiced for the past three weeks, as permitted by UIL guidelines — culminating in the annual Blue-Gold public scrimmage on Thursday at Highlander Stadium — to build depth and gain experience before a jump to Class 6A next season.
With a handful of returnees missing spring drills due to minor injuries or commitments in other sports, Allen and his staff were able to glimpse players who are shifting positions or otherwise haven’t had any varsity reps, but who could be valuable contributors in the fall.
One player who did participate throughout the spring is quarterback Brennan Storer, who passed for more than 2,500 yards with 25 touchdowns while starting every game as a junior. He also ran for eight scores.
“He’s executing our offense very well and showing the benefits of having 12 games under his belt,” Allen said. “As a quarterback, your offensive line and receivers have a lot to do with your success. Our line is developing just as Brennan is developing.”
Storer will have other familiar faces around him, such as Jay Cox, Jackson Heis, Beau Lilly, and Grayson Schrank. Meanwhile, the HP defense has just two returning starters, meaning that development in the spring has been especially critical.
“We have good speed on defense,” Allen said. “Once we get everybody back, we’re going to have a lot more experience.”
The Scots will resume practice on Aug. 8 before traveling to Plano East for a scrimmage on Aug. 19. The regular-season opener will be a week later when HP hosts Flower Mound Marcus. The eight-game slate in District 7-6A starts on Sept. 9 against Lake Highlands.
“It’s a new challenge with new opponents. For our fans and players, there’s excitement in something different. It’s going to motivate our team,” Allen said. “Our guys feel like they have something to prove.”