They say that Highland Park does not rebuild, they simply reload. Last year was the best example of that. Although 4A was down, it looked like Highland Park would be down as well. They had graduated one of their best classes and had a bunch of unknowns. All they did was reel off 15 straight victories and was a dropped pass away from their second state championship. The players at Highland Park have established themselves as elite - and they have an unparalleled work ethic. Again, it would seem on paper only returning 3 starters might be problematic - but this is a JV that has just won all throughout their subvarsity career. This will certainly be the biggest district test Highland Park has had in quite sometime. Their last loss was in triple overtime to Richardson Pearce 6 years ago - a 5A that just dropped down from a 4A looking for some respect.
There will be a battle for quarterback. Luke Woodley is the odds on favorite for winning it - but two seniors that came up through the system, Blake Burgin and Dillon Zweifel will at least fight for the opportunity to play. Highland Park will always have a good running back. The big name out of the crew will be Brookes McIlhenny - but Will Glasscock and Bryan Dickerson will see time lined up at back as well. This could be the weakest set of receivers in awhile - Austin Mai and Cort Svendsen are expected to be receivers on the team. The offensive line is always the strength of the team - and a good up front five could mean another long run. The line isn't big nor has any D1 calibur individuals - but they will be a well coached group of five led by Ty Pierce.
The defensive side of the ball may have some questions - and the offense may have to bail them out. The defensive line will be led by Edward Neblett, Scott Read and big John Broderson. The team will have good, but not great linebackers in Cody Walker and Jackson Hager. The secondary will be fast but not have the size (but none of the teams in the district really have good size at defensive back) - Stephen Bailey, Matt Bonano and Jeffrey Howeth will be the set of eyes in the secondary looking to be able to stop the talented receivers in the district.
Highland Park, the #1 team in the area almost in a consensus manner, does look to have flaws - but no one is better at hiding his flaws than Randy Allen. He may see the writing on the wall - as he submitted in the questionnairre that the best thing going for them is tradition. The type of tradition they have though is so overwhelming - it may be all they need. I do predict that Highland Park will lose a district game this year - but I think the team that beats them will too - and they'll end up with a share of the district title and have a very healthy playoff run yet again. They are in a district though that if the parts don't click and the players don't sell out in the Randy Allen system - they can drop as low as third and be a quick playoff casualty.