Edgewood players crowded together in their locker room, chanted back and forth, screamed in excitement and again celebrated.
Casey McCluskie had already taken his jersey and shirt off, was halfway into unwrapping a wrist when the party started in earnest.
Dylan Ingram had already changed into a dry shirt and shorts, one that highlighted the tears that started forming.
Either way, the Wildcats yelled with gusto after winning their fourth state championship in five years with Friday’s 41-29 win over Clarke Prep for the AISA Class AA title.
“We’ve left a big legacy,” senior receiver Rod Boykin said. “We’re the winningest class in Edgewood history and we’ve won all these state championships.
“It’s going to be hard for the next class, but we expect them to do it, too.”
Ingram became the state’s all-time single-season passing leader, and the Wildcats (14-0) again extended their state-best winning streak.
Edgewood’s 31-game winning streak reaches to October 2010 and covers three straight state championships.
“Not many folks can say they won their last game, much less their last 31,” coach Bobby Carr said. “We’ve preached to them that tradition never graduates.
“They kept it going for the last few years and I hope the next group keeps it going and we stay on top of the mountain.”
Ingram threw for 390 yards and became just the third player in state history to reach 4,000 in a season. He finished with 4,182 yards — the most in either the AHSAA or AISA — and an AISA-record 47 touchdown passes.
“Right now, I’m focused on what we’ve done as a team and having fun with these guys,” Ingram said. “This is a big thing for us as seniors and as a team as a whole.
“We left a winning legacy.”
Taylor Hawthorne caught eight passes for 130 yards, and Boykin hauled in six for 105 and two touchdowns. Ingram was 18-of-28 passing with one interception.
Edgewood, which totaled 539 yards offense, took the lead with five seconds left in the first half and, three plays into the second half, led 29-15.
Clarke Prep (11-2) never pulled within striking distance again, but that’s not new for Edgewood. The Wildcats had just one game decided by less than 12 points this year.
“It may hit them tonight or hit may hit them this weekend,” Carr said. “It will definitely hit them.”
The Wildcats have a week to celebrate on their own. Edgewood is out of school for Thanksgiving. (McCluskie’s off-week plan: “Go home, sleep, hunt, eat and then I’m going to repeat.”)
After that, they’ll jump into other sports. In a few months, they’ll get back around to football.
Thoughts of another big party in Troy abound. Maybe another 4,000-yard passer, too?
“I’m going to try,” said Hawthorne, a junior and Ingram’s likely successor at quarterback. “Hopefully, we can just come back here and win a state championship.
“That’s what I’m looking for.”