The sensation Aledo coach Tim Buchanan felt when he woke up Sunday morning was so gratifying, he wanted to experience it again.
"It was so good that I took a nap so I could do it twice," said Buchanan, who won his fourth state championship and third straight at Aledo with a 49-28 victory over Manvel in the Class 4A Division II title game on Saturday.
But while Buchanan and his staff are still savoring the season, it won't be long before they start looking ahead to next season.
The Bearcats lose record-breaking running back Johnathan Gray, title game offensive MVP and quarterback Matthew Bishop and other key contributors to graduation.
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"It's going to be a different style of Aledo football," Buchanan said.
Pate Davis, a 6-foot, 175 pound junior who had 103 yards passing and a touchdown this season, will take over under center. Davis averaged 10.1 yards a carry and had 500 combined receiving and rushing yards with four touchdowns.
"The biggest place we drop off isn't so much skill players, but offensive linemen," Buchanan said. "But we've got the majority of our defense back, so we'll be OK there."
The Bearcats lose all five starting offensive linemen but return junior running back Caleb Frysinger, who averaged 9.6 yards per carry this season and had 545 total yards and eight touchdowns.
Reloading at Carroll
Southlake Carroll coach Hal Wasson still hadn't "come down from the clouds" a day after winning the Class 5A Division I state title. While several key components to Carroll's undefeated season are departing, Wasson said he expects a relatively smooth transition into next year.
The Dragons return one of the state's most dynamic players in quarterback Kenny Hill, a junior who was named offensive MVP in Carroll's 36-29 victory over Fort Bend Hightower on Saturday. Hill threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the title game.
Replacing Hill's targets and production from the middle of the defense will be the Dragons' biggest challenge, Wasson said.
The Dragons lose all four starting linebackers and a receiving corps that accounted for nearly 2,500 yards.
"The big deal is we've got a good group of candidates, it's just filling in the puzzle with them," Wasson said.
Carroll loses title game defensive MVP Will Davis, who had 181 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks at linebacker this season. It will also be without Sabian Holmes, who posted 1,252 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
Carroll returns three veteran offensive linemen who'll block for sophomore running back A.J. Ezzard, who missed most of the regular season with an injury but rushed for 421 yards and four touchdowns during the playoffs.
Defensive back Tanner Jacobson, who had nine tackles and a sack in the title game, and cornerback Ray Crockett, who made several key plays for the Dragons during the postseason, also return.
"He's got all the skills," Wasson said of Crockett. "He's got a chance to be a collegiate corner."