From the scorching temperatures to the challenging nondistrict schedule, Highland Park has been thrown into the fire early this season, and emerged with barely a blister.
The heat will be on again on Friday, as the unbeaten Scots travel to face fellow playoff contender Lake Highlands in the District 7-6A opener.
HP won all eight of its league games last year en route to a perfect regular season. The Scots (2-0) have won eight consecutive district crowns overall.
After starting with a lopsided triumph over Flower Mound Marcus, HP survived a late Lewisville rally for a 21-18 win in its home opener a week ago. The Scots have won 22 consecutive regular-season games.
HP was shut out in the second half by the Farmers, which required a stellar defensive effort against a bigger and faster opponent. Jack Morse and Anders Corn made big plays down the stretch to help preserve the victory.
On offense, Warren Peck has thrown three touchdowns and rushed for three more while not committing any turnovers. His top target in the passing game is Steel Tobin, who has almost half of HP’s total receiving yards from his slot position.
The first 7-6A test for HP might be the toughest against the Wildcats (1-1), who have made 15 straight postseason appearances and posted six straight winning seasons.
However, Lake Highlands has a new head coach this season, as former offensive coordinator Cory Campbell took over for Lonnie Jordan, who left during the spring to become the athletic director at HP.
The Wildcats couldn’t overcome a sizable first-half deficit during a 41-21 loss to Flower Mound last week. Lake Highlands has turned the ball over six times in its first two games.
A bright spot has been workhorse running back Deonte Dean, who has accumulated 424 yards and scored four touchdowns in just two games. Other top offensive playmakers include quarterback Tripp Holley and receiver Leland Germany.
Dean ran for 145 yards and two scores during a 52-21 defeat at HP in 2022, but the Lake Highlands defense had no answers for HP’s offensive efficiency in that matchup.
After dropping its first two district contests last season, the Wildcats won six straight to finish third in the standings behind HP and Jesuit Dallas.
Meanwhile, the Scots won their eight league clashes a year ago by an average margin of more than 36 points. Their quest for an encore begins on Friday.