With much cooler turf under their feet at Highlander Stadium, the Highland Park Scots opened football practice on Monday morning. Head coach Randy Allen said he was pleased with the way his players reported and with the new Cool Play surface.
“We had a real good day,” Allen said at the end of the two-hour workout. “The first day you have to go over who has turned their papers in and who has got their physicals in. There are just a lot of little things. This field turf is about 30 degrees cooler than the turf we had last year. It makes a significant difference with the heat. We take a break about every 25 minutes. If they feel like they’re getting faint, they can get out and go get a drink any time they want to.”
The Scots, who finished 9-2 last season, return just one starter on offense (WR Andrew Frost). However, Highland Park has six starters back (linemen Jack Cevehra, Andrew Clyde, and Caz Orr; linebacker Tanner Houghton; and defensive backs Boomer Backich and Robert Mencke) on a defense that surrendered an average of just 17 points per game last year. However, Mencke is sidelined with a back issue for at least two or three more weeks. Allen said the Scots have plenty of players ready to step into the starting lineup and make an impact.
“We have good players who are willing to wait until their senior year to get on the field on Friday night,” Allen said. “A lot of them played on our JV Blue team last year. Even though they didn’t get varsity experience, some of them got 10 games on the JV Blue schedule. The secret is we have a lot of guys who are willing to wait and get some good playing team on the JV team.”
Allen said rising freshman quarterback Lindell Stone, who might be transferring to Highland Park from Southlake Carroll, did not report for the first day.
“I know that our two quarterbacks on the freshman team this morning were Michael Clarke and Jon Welfelt,” Allen said. “That’s it.”
The Scots will go through practice this week, capped by a full scrimmage on Saturday morning at Highlander Stadium.
“The first week is pretty normal — just trying to get your offense and defense in,” Allen said. “The second week you spend part of the time still trying to get better and repping what you do, and spend a couple of days getting ready for Plano West. Then, you start getting ready for the opener.”
The Scots will host the Wolves in a scrimmage on Aug. 23. The regular-season opener against Aledo is Aug. 31 at Eagle Stadium in Allen.