Highland Park might not be changing its offseason routine as it readies for a jump to Class 6A this fall, but that doesn’t mean the Scots aren’t prepared.
At least that’s the feeling of head coach Randy Allen, who has seen plenty of positive signs both on and off the field since the conclusion of spring drills in May.
The Scots solidified their offensive chemistry while winning the prestigious EOC Playmakers regional tournament in June. While their subsequent performance in state qualifying tournaments in Rowlett and Midlothian was subpar, Allen said his skill players showed progress.
“We do so much 7-on-7 during spring training against ourselves,” Allen said. “The main focus of the summer is just to get them back out there throwing and catching, and I want it to be fun for them.”
Allen also is pleased with the consistent attendance among players at HP’s voluntary summer strength and conditioning sessions four times each week.
HP has faced an unusually high degree of turnover on its coaching staff since last season. Almost the entire defensive staff will be new this fall, including new defensive coordinator Don Woods, who has been the defensive line coach for the last five years. He replaces Mark Howeth, who left the Scots to become the defensive coordinator at DeSoto.
“He knows our system and our players know it and they believe in it. We’re going to stick with our same scheme,” Allen said of Woods, who will continue to coach the 3-4 alignment HP has employed since 2004. “We think that’s the best thing for our team.”
Three of the new defensive assistants were promoted from the freshman level — David Clarke (cornerbacks), Bobby Leidner (defensive line), and Daren Eason (outside linebackers).
Other additions to the defensive staff include David Hall (inside linebackers) and Toby Trotter (safeties). Todd John (inside receivers) and Blake Spivey (running backs) will join the offensive staff, although both have experience with the HP program. John was the head coach at Crandall for the past two years.
HP completed its 2013 season with a loss to Denton Guyer in the Class 4A Division I state semifinals in December. The Scots will start fall practice on Aug. 11, then will travel to Plano West for a scrimmage on Aug. 22 before starting the regular season Aug. 30 against Frisco Centennial in the Tom Landry Classic at SMU.