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Karl Kennedy is using the 2018 heartbreak as a source of motivation and learning during the offseason.

McDONOUGH — The workhorses of a team are often the ones who line up in the backfield and could be the biggest factor between a win or a loss.

Those backfield warriors are often running backs and Karl Kennedy experienced that factor firsthand last year. With 767 yards under his belt and seven touchdowns rushing, Kennedy is ready for his senior year.

But it’s worth looking back at the junior campaign that he said was tough in more ways than one.

“Last year was a tough year,” Kennedy said. “It felt like we lacked the leadership needed to help keep the team in line and we didn’t emphasize the little things as well as we should have.”

From the leadership being down on the program, Kennedy also missed two games at the end of the season that may have stopped him from hitting 1,000 rushing yards. To hit 1,000 yards is a rite of passage for high school rushers. Kennedy enters this season working on his durability and speed to make a difference.

Of course, that isn’t the only difference he’s looking to make on the field this year. The ability to improve his own mindset heading into the season is a big boost to look forward to. That improvement has led him to be a more vocal component to the team.

Kennedy said he’s never been the type to speak out and say a lot but after seeing how the team struggled in 2018 in leadership, he feels like it’s necessary.

Add in the fact that the Mustangs have a better offensive line building and Kennedy feels good about the chances Ola has in 2019.

“It makes me feel good that my offensive line is getting better,” Kennedy said. “I wouldn’t have any of the success I have if it wasn’t for them.”

This season the Mustangs are looking at one tall order but the goal for 2019 is simple: Avoid repeating a 1-9 season and use it all as motivation to be back in the playoff talks at the end of the season.

“You use it as a teaching point,” Kennedy said of going past a losing season. “We take the losses from last season and learn from the mistakes we made mentally and physically as a team and come back stronger and together.”

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor.

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