KENNESAW -- Ever since the program launched in 2000, Kennesaw Mountain saw every season end the same way -- with the Mustangs on the outside of the playoffs and looking in.
Kennesaw Mountain finally changed that Friday night.
The Mustangs rolled over Osborne for a 60-7 win at Cobb EMC/Mustang Stadium and secured a spot in the state playoffs for the first time.
As the No. 4 seed, the Mustangs (4-5, 4-3 Region 6AAAAAA) will travel to unbeaten River Ridge for the first round of the playoffs.
“It feels good,” said Kennesaaw Mountain coach Caleb Carmean, a former quarterback under the program's founding coach, Scott Jones. “These kids have busted their butts. They’ve battled through 0-10, they’ve battled through the adversity of everything going on this year. I’m just really proud of them.”
Kennesaw Mountain allowed Osborne (1-9, 0-8) to score on the opening drive of the game, on Khalif Walters’ 18-yard touchdown, but it dominated the remainder of the game.
The Mustangs’ offense also dominated with a total of 566 rushing yards. T.J. Jenkins finished the night with 342 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries.
Jenkins started the scoring in the first quarter with a 34-yard touchdown run to pull Kennesaw Mountain within a point, and he then gave them the lead on a 38-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds left in the first quarter to put the Mustangs in front 12-7.
Osborne was forced to punt in the waning moments of the first quarter, and the attempt was returned for a 71-yard touchdown run by Jailen Taylor.
On Kennesaw Mountain’s ensuing drive to start the second quarter, Trique Arnold extended the lead with a 76-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
Jah Welch scored a 10-yard touchdown, and Jenkins followed with a 78-yard touchdown run, making the score 40-7 at halftime.
“Our offensive line played their butts off,” Carmean said. “We told them on Monday that we have a lot of guys out and adversity to deal with this week, but they all had a great night tonight.”
Jenkins scored a 9-yard touchdown run in Mustangs' first series of the third quarter. Wide receiver Carl Fisher followed with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Hall.
Tensions became high between the teams late in the third quarter as the score got out of hand. After several dust-ups, Carmean gathered his players to remind them of the importance of the game and what lay ahead.
“Discipline is what got us here and is what is going to continue to carry us,” Carmean said. “You can’t allow the emotional aspect of the game to overtake, or you’ll get yourself in a bad situation.”
Jenkins closed the scoring with a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter.