But count Steele coach Michael Jinks among those not surprised about the Knights' 13-2 season and playoff run.
"I thought that if we stayed healthy, we would have a legitimate shot at this," Jinks said. "Any time you have a great player like we do in Malcolm Brown, and you play great defense, you have a chance to go a long way."
The Knights blasted Houston Memorial 44-20 in the state semis to earn their spot against high-powered Denton Guyer in the final. Both are loaded with FBS prospects. Steele has three seniors in Scout.com's Texas Top 85, while Guyer has three in the top 50, led by Oklahoma State quarterback commitment J.W. Walsh.
But Steele has the top overall player in Brown, Scout.com's No. 1 running back prospect. The 6-foot-1, 224-pound bowling ball with speed has been more than just a great player; Jinks said he also functions as one of the team's top leaders.
"When you have (No.) 28 on your team, you never think you're out of a game," Jinks said. "That goes for the players, the coaches and the fans … everybody around our team.
"He's not Superman. He can't do it all by himself," Jinks said. "But if he's on your side, I think it's safe to say your chances of winning go up significantly. He makes everyone around him more confident."
That confidence should extend to Texas fans, as Jinks said Brown continues to be a solid Longhorn commitment, despite the staff upheaval.
"Nothing has changed," Jinks said.
Nothing, that is, but Steele's profile within the state. And if Brown continues to play at a high level, Jinks said Steele could hoist its first state championship trophy.
"We just have to continue to get better," Jinks said. "We know they have a very explosive offense, but we feel that we have a great defense. We just need to continue to improve, take care of the football, run the football and stop the run.
"If we do that, we have a great chance."