With a roster that’s so short on depth and experience, there are plenty of questions surrounding the Highland Park boys soccer team heading into Friday’s season opener.
The goal for head coach Randall Allen will be to have answers to many of those uncertainties by the time District 20-4A play rolls around next month.
So Allen acknowledges that there could be some growing pains early as he experiments with lineup combinations and tries to sort through his team’s strengths and weaknesses while navigating a difficult nondistrict slate.
The Scots will open the season on Friday night when they face Richardson Berkner at Highlander Stadium.
HP finished 10-7-6 overall last season and 4-1-3 in district play, allowing it to share the league title with Carrollton Newman Smith. The Scots were eliminated in the third round of the playoffs by Sulphur Springs.
“The guys traditionally step up to the challenge,” said Allen, who is beginning his fifth season at HP. “Things have really improved as far as expectations and setting the bar high.”
Among the top returnees for the Scots are forward Dawson French and defender Preston Deen, each of who were all-district selections last year. Others expected to contribute include midfielders Casey Evans, Kevin Crabb, and Matthew Ngo. The goalkeeping duties likely will be split between Joey Davis and William Planey.
“It think teamwork is going to be the key,” Allen said. “It’s going to take everybody contributing at their highest level for us to be successful.”
Allen said he has been impressed with the level of chemistry his team has showed during the first few weeks of practice. Many of the varsity newcomers were teammates on a strong junior varsity squad a year ago.
He hopes that will help HP continue a streak of playoff success that includes three consecutive seasons with at least two postseason victories.
“It gives us an incentive to want to uphold that tradition,” Evans said. “We definitely want to keep that momentum.”
After the nondistrict schedule, which includes the Governors Cup tournament on Jan. 16-18 in Georgetown, the Scots will open their eight-game district slate on Feb. 11 at Little Elm.