KENEDY, Texas – It has been nearly two years since the last time the Kenedy Lions won a football game. Standout senior quarterback Dedrick Wilson thinks this year's team is ready to turn the corner.
"I think the team is more mature," Wilson said. "A lot of other teams have lost their seniors from this past year, so everybody else is starting off with a young team. Unfortunately, we had to go through that these past two years. But since everybody young on our team has played varsity, everybody has experience. I think things are getting better."
Wilson has already committed to playing Division I football at Army next season, and he said that decision has made things easier heading into his senior season: "It takes a whole bunch of pressure off, knowing that I don't have to go out there and strain myself every Friday night to pull offers in, to see where I'm going to go for the future."
Although that weight had been lifted, Wilson will still carry the weight of the offense in 2018, and act as the focal point of the Lions' attack.
"He's our playmaker," said offensive coordinator Robert Bell. "He's got to be the dealer. He's got to be the one to make the read and deliver the ball. That's where the senior leadership has got to come in. It's a lot of pressure on Dedrick this year. Our expectations for him are a lot higher because he is a DI recruit. We've got to have him be that team leader on the offensive side."
But Bell was also adamant that the Lions will not rely solely on Bell to win games for them.
"We're going to run the ball," Bell said. "Our young lineman got experience and spent time in the weight room this summer. We've told them they have to get competitive. They've worked hard this summer, so we want to run the ball. Our goal is to get the ball to as many different people as we can."
Most preseason predictions have Kenedy finishing toward the bottom of the District 15-2A Division I standings. That's just more motivation for the Lions to prove all of their doubters wrong.
"Everybody counts us out as just a low-life team," said sophomore running back J'ren Salais. "We're just trying to exceed our expectations and prove them wrong. Don't count Kenedy out this year."
Kenedy will open their season against Karnes City on Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m.