The future is bright for Pine Creek football.
But that's no surprise to anyone who is immersed in Colorado high school football.
With nine playoff appearances in the last 10 years, five state title game appearances, and three championships, it's safe to say the Eagles have become a dynasty in Colorado Class 4A.
And their success isn't going to end any time soon.
Despite Saturday's 25-14 loss to Pueblo South in the 4A championship, Pine Creek will return next year with a veteran squad with some of the biggest upcoming talents in the state.
Fans got a glimpse of some of that talent Saturday when sophomore Gavin Herberg stepped in after senior quarterback JC Coulter went down with an injury in the second half.
And Herberg came in ready to make an impression.
In his first play under center Herberg sprinted seven yards into the endzone, spiked the ball and celebrated with fellow sophomore who is making waves of his own - David Moore III.
Herberg finished the game with 47 passing yards, a rushing touchdown, and 20 receiving yards on two catches. Prior to his quarterback debut on the state's biggest stage, Herberg had just two completions for 11 passing yards through the regular season.
"He’s a great young player and the future is bright," Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said after Saturday's game. "You never want to see a young kid go down in a game but Gavin had great composure and threw the ball well and ran the ball well."
Pine Creek will graduate 14 seniors this season, and welcome back an even bigger junior class of 16, not to mention the 50+ sophomores listed on the 2017 MaxPreps roster.
The Eagles will lose top contributors in Coulter, Wyatt Wieland, Xavier Hill, Isaak Rolfe, Danny Fuhr, and many more, but they'll also welcome back some of the top athletes in the state.
Moore led Colorado's sophomore class in rushing yards with 1,946. He's ranked third overall and is the only sophomore ranked in the top 45 as he flirted with a 2,000-yard season.
Herberg finished third on the team with 175 rushing yards and had 148 receiving, while sophomores Eddie Kyle and Max Lofy had 226 and 215 receiving yards, respectively.
Next year's offense looks to be in good shape, with players contributing for more than 3,200 total offensive yards returning - but the biggest question will be the Eagle defense, which allowed on average just six points per game in 2017.
Pine Creek will return leading tackler Sam Miller, who had 98 on the year, and sophomore Rece Rowan, who had 77 tackles will also return. But the defense will lose Isaak Rolfe and Christion Louis and Xavier Hill. The three top defenders were responsible for 203 total tackles. Hill also had six interceptions with 122 interception return yards, and two fumble recoveries.
The Eagle secondary will surely miss Hill, but Daniel Bone, Lofy and Kyle all had multiple interceptions on the year.
While Rolfe's little brother Elias had an impressive sophomore campaign and will return to follow in his brothers footsteps. Elias had 29 tackles, four sacks and three pass blocks in 2017.