The Chaparrals are returning state finalists and they've got a good chance to get back there. They're ranked 5th in the 6A preseason poll and boast one of the nation's top quarterbacks in UT commit Sam Ehlinger.
Ehlinger, a MaxPreps Pre-Season High School All-American, threw for 50 touchdowns and ran for another 20 scores his junior season.
And considering the name he’s made for himself, it may come as a surprise that more often than not Ehlinger says people don’t get the pronunciation of his last name right.
“I obviously haven’t done enough to prove that my name is Ehlinger!” says Ehlinger with a laugh.
But it’s likely people won’t be messing up Ehlinger’s last name again.
Wills Crenshaw says, “You think how much he improved between his sophomore and junior years. If he improves that much again? There’s not gonna be anybody that can stop him! No matter what team we play!”
Ehlinger nearly led the Chaps to a state title falling just a touchdown short in the 6A Division 1 championship game.
“We started something last year that we couldn’t quite finish and we want to get back there this year,” Ehlinger says.
Ehlinger will begin the journey as the “Texas Football” cover boy and as a high profile University of Texas commit who’s helping recruit future Longhorns.
"Yeah it's great! I always like going uphill. I always like being positive. I wanna get better every day so when I have the chance to go into a program that's on the up and potentially take them to the places that everyone wants to go, it’s really awesome," Ehlinger says.
And Ehlinger couldn’t script a better head coach. Todd Dodge was also a high school record setter turned Longhorn quarterback.
"There's not a whole lot I haven't been through in the quarterbacking world,” Dodge says.
After four state-championships at Southlake Carroll Dodge knows exactly what it takes.
"I think Sam's done a great job. With all the accolades he's gotten, and there have been many and he's deserved them all, I really see still a hunger in him to continue to get better."
And while the 17-year-old Ehlinger hasn't mastered everything.
“I'm horrible at bowling. Horrible at golf. Rollerskating ice skating, skateboarding. There's a lot a lot of things I'm not very good at."
Ehlinger just might take the Westlake offense to even higher heights!
Dodge says, "Now we're going into his third season. I've never had a three year starter! This is…like a new toy that I've never had before and I'm loving it!”