The key to Highland Park’s lacrosse fortunes this season could be in the knees.
Let’s flash back to 2011, when the Scots lost seven players to season-ending knee injuries, forcing them to rely on young and inexperienced players, and struggled to an early exit in the playoffs.
The next year, HP won the Texas High School Lacrosse League state title.
Could a repeat be in the Scots’ future following a 2014 season in which a series of injuries to key seniors led to some growing pains and an eventual loss in the state semifinals? Coaches and players hope so, and they have reason for their optimism.
“I really think that will pay off this year. A lot of our guys got experience because of some injuries we had,” said HP head coach Derek Thomson. “I think we have as much talent as probably anybody in the state, but there’s a lot of other things that factor into winning a championship.”
Thomson said the makeup of this year’s team — which opens the season on Saturday against Austin Anderson in the Patriot Cup at SMU — resembles some of HP’s past championship squads.
He likes the mix of youth and experience on the roster, which includes 16 seniors along with five freshmen or sophomores who already have verbally committed to college programs.
“We have a lot of balance and a lot of depth,” Thomson said.
After winning six state titles during a nine-year span beginning in 2004, the Scots have lost in the state semifinals in consecutive seasons, including an 8-5 defeat last spring to eventual champion ESD.
Just two players on the current squad were on the 2012 title team. That serves as motivation for the returnees looking to end that championship drought.
Said senior midfielder Kevin Ken: “With two state semifinals in a row, we just want to get over that hump and win a state title.”