Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Highland Park hopes to avoid losing consecutive games for first time since 1995
There were plenty of reasons for Highland Park to panic this week, but the Scots are keeping their cool.
Highland Park returned to practice Saturday following a rare season-opening loss to Aledo. Additional losses came in the form of injuries to two senior linebackers who are expected to miss extended time.
A rebound Friday night will require Highland Park to beat visiting Monterrey (Mexico) Tech, which upset Stephenville — the top-ranked team in Class 3A — 27-17 last week.
“We’re more worried about Highland Park,” coach Randy Allen said, “and we’re more worried about setting the record straight and getting our team right. We’ve worked extremely hard, and we don’t feel like the last game was reflective of the type of football we’ve played in the past or the type of football that this team is capable of.”
Friday’s 31-12 loss to Aledo was Highland Park’s first in a season opener since 2004.
Allen said the multitude of injuries gave him déjà vu. The injury bug bit Highland Park in the first game of last season, too, when linebacker Guy Tom Kellogg broke his leg on the first defensive play against Everman.
This time it was two other linebackers — Travis Alford and Bryce Green — who suffered injuries. Alford dislocated his hip and will miss at least two months, Allen said. Green broke his thumb, and Allen said he didn’t know how long he would be out.
Several more players missed time during the second half with cramping. Allen said he’s keeping the team hydrated and trying everything from Gatorlytes, mustard and pickle juice to eliminate that problem.
The injuries and cramping may be largely unavoidable, but the Scots know there are other areas to improve.
“I know we didn’t pass protect like we should have,” senior center William Barns said. “I feel like we’re a great O-line, but we had some mental mistakes and technique errors and I really think those will be corrected this week.”
Quarterback Jet Tuma, who made his first varsity start, said there was blame to go around.
“I feel like as a whole team that we could have done some things better,” he said. “We’ve bounced back already. We just need to focus on the next week.”
This will be the third year in a row Highland Park will face Monterrey Tech. Beating the Borregos has never been a problem for the Scots before, winning 46-7 last year and 56-30 in 2010.
Highland Park will try to avoid losing consecutive games in the same season for the first time since 1995.
“They just beat Stephenville,” Allen said of Monterrey Tech. “It was obvious who had the better football team. I’m not sure if that’s the first Texas football team they’ve beaten the last two years, but I know that has to make those kids feel like they’re improving and raising their level of competition.”
Monterrey Tech was forced to cancel several games in Texas last year after a threat of violence from a drug cartel.
Allen said Tech would not have scheduled games this year if safety risks were still a concern.
“Something must have happened to make them feel confident that they could keep their word and make all their games in Texas this year,” he said.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN