Todd Miller did his best to smell the roses after his Pine Creek football team broke through to win its first 4A state football championship Nov. 30.

That's just not his style, though.

"As crazy as it sounds, I'm already thinking about next year," Miller said. "I'm just wired that way. Winning state is special, it really is. Life goes on. These guys are setting the bar high."

The 2013 season started with memories of the recent Black Forest fire fresh on the minds of the Pine Creek community, many personally affected by the state's most destructive blaze.

The group of individuals that became "One Team" dropped two of their first three games - all against 5A competition - but then rolled off 11 straight victories to win it all.

Miller, who became Eagles coach in 2005, had taken seven previous teams to the playoffs, missing the postseason only in 2012.

"Going through last season helped to enjoy this after what we went through," Miller said. "It makes you appreciate what the kids went through, both on and off the field. I'm just glad we finished the job. As you get older, you only have so many chances."

Kevin Carmody, The Gazette