For the 13th straight year, Highland Park will open its season in the Tom Landry Classic.
With a 9-3 record in their previous 12 appearances in the annual neutral-site event, the Scots have more wins than any school in its history. They also have more losses.
HP was probably eager for a retooling of the matchups this season after losing decisively to Aledo in each of the past two openers, including 44-3 last year.
But the point of the Landry event is strong competition, and so Frisco Centennial won’t offer much of a break for the Scots as they prepare for a historic jump to Class 6A later this season. The game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium.
The Titans have won or shared three consecutive district titles at the Class 4A level and have been to the playoffs in each of the past four years. They are just two years removed from an appearance in the 4A state quarterfinals.
Of course, HP a much deeper pedigree in terms of victories and postseason success, in which it ranks first among all teams in the state. Last season, HP came within a late Denton Guyer rally of reaching the Division I state title game in its final 4A campaign.
Both teams return considerable experience on offense. Explosive receiver Devin McCord returns after leading Centennial in receptions and yardage a year ago, when the Titans fell to South Oak Cliff 63-37 in the second round of the playoffs.
The Scots likely will start nine seniors on offense, most of which saw extensive playing time during HP’s run to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals last fall.
Dual-threat quarterback Brooks Burgin returns after passing for 3,497 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. He also ran for 19 scores. Leading receivers Andrew Frost and Kevin Ken also will play prominent roles.
“We have quite a few starters back on offense,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “Senior leadership is always critical.”
At running back, Stephen Dieb and Hayden Black likely will share the bulk of the carries, with Carter McDade moving to the defensive secondary. The left side of the offensive line has experience with Jack Sides and Rees LeMay joining center Clayton Woods, who has verbally committed to UT-San Antonio.