With all that occurred from Thursday night to Friday morning, the smile on the face of four-star, ESPNU 150 offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle was understood.
Estelle on Thursday was a part of Pearland (Texas) Dawson's 41-34, overtime victory in a Texas Class 4A first-round playoff against Rosenburg (Texas) Lamar Consolidated. It was a win in which Dawson had to erase a two-touchdown deficit early in the first half.
Estelle, No.49 on the ESPNU 150, is Dawson's first UA All-American, an honor that he holds with gratitude and modesty. It's an accolade that the big Texas commit ranks among his all-time greatest.
"It's really special, because most people don't get the chance to do this," Estelle said. "I see it as a gift from God, and I'm going to go in and do my best."
Before Thursday, Estelle had wondered if the presentation would be the highlight of his senior year. He much rather would celebrate a state championship with his teammates, and early against Lamar Consolidated, the Eagles appeared to be heading toward the wrong end of an upset.
It took an extra period, but Dawson got the job done, and Estelle's senior dreams live on. It was his trademark stellar blocking that not only helped Dawson compile 409 yards of total offense but also sprang quarterback Garry Trimble on the game-winning, 25-yard touchdown run.
Estelle has been one of the most consistent players at Dawson, as well as throughout the greater Houston area. At 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds, Estelle does his part to carry Dawson's young tradition on his broad shoulders. The school first opened in the fall of 2009.
"It's a big deal and a huge honor for him, considering all the hard work he's put in," Dawson coach Eric Wells said. "It also is a big honor for the school and the community. Our younger kids can see the hard work he's put in and that it pays off."
Estelle is looking at the Jan. 5 trip to St. Petersburg, Fla., as a chance to showcase his skills against the nation's best. He's also looking at the trip as an opportunity to get to know some of his future teammates better.
"I have a connection with some of them already. I talk to Curtis [Riser] once in a while, and I talk to Peter [Jinkens], Thomas [Johnson] and Johnathan [Gray] every now and then," Estelle said. "I think it's going to be fun, because I'll get the experience to go against all the top players.
"There are a lot of special players out there. It really makes me feel like I have to show out. I've got to show the world what I can do."
Those who have seen Estelle know that even with his size, he's elusive and deceptively fast off the ball. Add those characteristics to his brute strength and sound technical play, and it's easy to understand why he has more than 15 offers.
He's just happy he gets the chance to use those talents in the UA Game -- as well as at least one more playoff game.
"To win in overtime was big," Estelle said. "We don't want it to end yet. We're trying to keep it going in our road to a state title."
Wells added: "He's big and athletic with power and quickness, and he doesn't move like an offensive lineman. Once he gets up to Texas, I can't imagine what's going to happen to him."
Damon Sayles covers recruiting in the Midlands for ESPN Recruiting. He can be reached at email@example.com.