Highlands won't soon forget its playoff loss to Thomas Jefferson in last year's WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals, but as the Golden Rams make the switch to Class AA's Allegheny Conference, coach Sam Albert feels the road to Heinz Field will only get tougher.
"I was a head coach at Freeport, I know the types of athletes in the conference," said Albert, who coached the Yellowjackets for five seasons until assuming his current role at Highlands in 2004.
"It's going to be a very, very strong and competitive conference. We know that we're going to have our hands full."
Quarterback Blake Leri and running back Elijah Jackson, who led the team with 1,287 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns last season, return to a team that must replace 21 seniors who graduated after finishing 7-4 (6-2) in the tough Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference.