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Winning a Texas high school football state title can advance coaches to the NCAA or beyond. Here’s why many choose to stay at the grassroots level instead.

Randy Allen's career aspirations started at 12 years old.

Growing up in Abilene, Allen played whatever sport was in season: football or basketball or track or baseball. He always ended conversations with coaches with "sir" and cherished the impact they had on his maturation.

Allen knew then, years before embarking on what would become one of Texas' most revered and innovative high school football coaching careers, that he wanted to be a coach.

The journey Allen's taken throughout the last 44 years, including the past 20 at the helm of Highland Park, is unique because few have garnered the same accolades and what will be four state championships -- three straight -- if Highland Park beats Alvin Shadow Creek in the Class 5A Div.