Since Gary Rose took over Carl Albert's football program before the 1995 season, the Titans have been nothing but consistent.
Carl Albert has been in the playoffs in every one of those 18 seasons, and the Titans have won at least nine games in all but two seasons.
Carl Albert's playoff streak continued this year in improbable fashion, as the Titans came back from a 1-5 start to win eight consecutive games and win Rose's ninth title at the school.
Carl Albert's turnaround earned him The Oklahoman's All-State Coach of the Year honors.
But Rose has another impressive streak going at Carl Albert. Starting with the sophomore class that was at Carl Albert when Rose took over, every class of players has won at least one title at some point from their sophomore to their senior seasons.
Former Carl Albert and OU standout J.D. Runnels was around before the Rose era began, watching his uncles play for the Titans.
Then Runnels won three titles with the Titans as a player from 1999-2001.
“They knew what players they had and how to use them,” Runnels said. “Coach Rose is amazing about that. You look at guys like myself, J.T. Realmuto, David Oku and all of the guys that have made the All-State team and won player of the year awards. They put them in such good positions that they excel.”
Another example, Runnels said, came this year when Steven Thompson went from an unheralded player going into the year to a quarterback who dominated the state title game against a defense that featured OU commitment Stanvon Taylor.
“You put Stevie one-on-one with Stanvon and Stanvon will come out on top, but they cover him up, get him moving before Stanvon can get there and he gives them problems,” Runnels said. “It all starts with the offensive line and controlling the line of scrimmage.”
The Titans' turnaround this season was historic. Only two other teams in state history had come back from similar starts to win a championship.
Tulsa McLain started 0-5 in 1986 to win the 4A title, and Wynnewood started 1-6 in 1988 before winning the Class 2A title.