The upcoming season presents a huge opportunity for the Dallas Highland Park High football team and head coach Randy Allen to enter the record books.
Winners of three consecutive Class 5A Division I championships, the Scots could join a very small list that includes Sealy High, Celina High and Austin Lake Travis High – the only teams in the Lone Star State to win four straight titles. Meanwhile, Allen, who has headed the Highland Park program for two decades, is eight wins away from entering the 400-career win club that includes current Corpus Christi Calallen coach Phil Danaher as a member.
But Allen’s focus remains on the upcoming season rather than his place in Texas gridiron history.
“I’m more interested that we get better each week and we peak in the playoffs,” he told Texas Scorecard. “All that other stuff takes care of itself if your football team’s playing well and they get better.”
Highland Park will return 10 lettermen from an undefeated squad that bagged the school’s sixth football title overall in what many consider one of the best championship showdowns ever, a 27-17 victory over an upstart Alvin Shadow Creek High team coached by a former quarterback of Allen’s. The offense will be under the command of 4-star quarterback and Arkansas commit Chandler Morris while the defense will be strengthened by 2018 title game defensive MVP Prince Dorbah.
Allen explained that Morris, who will play for his father Chad in Fayetteville, “had a great junior season” in which he replaced John Stephen Jones, who led the Scots to the 2016 and 2017 titles.
“There was a lot of pressure on him; he had a tremendous junior year,” Allen said. “He threw for over 4.000 yards and was one of our leading rushers.”
Allen praised the Morris family for a “great sacrifice” they made to let Chandler finish his high school career in suburban Dallas.
“I’m just so thankful I get the opportunity to coach Chandler,” he said. “He’s a great young man.”
Allen is equally high on Dorbah, a Texas commit. According to the coach, the 4-star defensive end and second-team all-state selection last year racked up impressive figures in solo and assisted tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and quarterback pressures.
Despite presiding over one of the most successful programs in Texas, Allen acknowledged the formidable gauntlet that is his district, 6-5A.
“Our district is loaded,” he said. “The Dallas Morning News called it ‘The District of Doom’.”
Mansfield Legacy High, Mansfield Timberview High, and Lancaster High each offer a tough challenge, the coach said. But Highland Park fans should expect what Allen described as a “highly motivated team” in 2019.
“I just want to thank The Lord Jesus Christ for the blessings of being able to go into this season with the opportunity to continue the state championship journey,” Allen said. “It’s just been a dream come true. We’ve always wanted a program that could fight year in and year out, that could fight for the state championship. . . . We’ve just got to play our best football this year.”