Gino Mariani

Highland coach Gino Mariani addresses his team during a 2018 5A state playoff game against Mountain View at Holt Arena.

Gino Mariani led Highland back to the state’s biggest stage in 2018.

The Rams played in the 5A state championship game this season despite losing 14 starters from 2017’s state-title team. Highland lost 24-22 to Rocky Mountain, but the Rams added to their rich history by appearing in their 19th state title game in the IHSAA era and their fourth appearance in a championship game since 2013.

The Rams outscored their opponents by an average score of 33.6-17.1 this season, helping Mariani improve his record to 161-43 in 18 seasons as head coach at Highland.