Tim Buchanan (pronounced BUCK-cannon, not BEW-cannon) became the Aledo Bearcats head football coach in 1993. That first year, his team went 2-and-8. Since then, the program has done nothing but win.
In his second and third seasons (1994 and 1995), his team lost only 2 games each year but still missed the playoffs. And then in 1996, the playoff run started.
It's really amazing when you look at what Buchanan's program has done since 1996. In a sport in which teams typically play 10 games, the Bearcats have never played fewer than 12 games in a season since '96. They average 13.6 games per season. That means they are going 3-4 rounds deep in the playoffs every year.
Buchanan's record in 17 seasons with Aledo is 170-48-3. The Bearcats have won the state title once, in 1998, when they were in class 3A. In 2004 Aledo made it to the state championship game but lost to Lincoln.
The program definitely has some advantages. Like Allen and Southlake Carroll, Aledo is a one high school town. The athletes are not being split among two, three or four different high schools. So they get the cream of the crop. But that doesn't guarantee winning, and certainly not at the level of consistency with which Buchanan's teams have done it.
I talked to coach Buchanan today to set up an interview for tomorrow (we'll air a story on WFAA later in the week). He said that before he came to Aledo, he worked with coach Ross Rogers, at A&M Consolodated. Buchanan said he was told that there are four different seasons: the off-season January through May, the non-district season, the regular season, and the playoffs. The key to winning in November and December is having fresh coaches and fresh players -- not beating them up in the off-season and in September through October. Buchanan said that was very important to having a winning program; that ... and having goof football players.