Kennesaw State safety Taylor Henkle holds up Plank — a mascot of sorts on the team’s sideline — after his interception in the closing seconds of last weekend’s win at Montana State. The introductions of Plank and an imaginary barber shop have added to the jovial nature around the successful Owls’ sideline.

KENNESAW — Kennesaw State’s football team is finding more ways to have fun.

Just look at the sideline.

Sure, there are still high-fives and fist-bumps, but if you look closely now, Plank and the barber shop are there, too.

During the Owls’ 16-14 win at Montana State last Saturday, both activities were front and center in the final moments of the game.

Plank is a block of wood from the Cartoon Network series “Ed, Edd and Eddy.” Plank is an imaginary friend that randomly seems to move about, and lately it has been presented to a special teams or defensive player who makes a big play, gets a big hit or forces a turnover.

When former Kell High School standout Taylor Henkle intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter to all but seal Kennesaw State’s win, he was presented with Plank — with its crudely drawn eyes and smile — on the sideline.

The only problem was, he wasn’t really sure why.

“I’ve seen it around the locker room and in people’s lockers, but I didn’t ask any questions,” Henkle said. “I don’t know who came up with the idea to hand it to me after the pick. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I held it up, and there were a few Kennesaw State fans there in the front row, and they took the picture.

“Hopefully, it gets tossed around a lot on Saturday.”

Kennesaw State (8-1, 3-0 Big South Conference) will host Charleston Southern on Saturday, with a win keeping the Owls in the driver’s seat for the conference championship and automatic bid to the national tournament.

While Henkle may not have known all the ins and outs about Plank, Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon did some homework to find out about the wooden award.

Bohannon said former Kennesaw Mountain standout Tanner Jones, a scout-team receiver, found the plank on spring break, and over the last few weeks, began bringing it to the locker room. Just like the cartoon, Plank gradually found its way from the locker room to the sideline, and then to the bench.

“One of our players took the plank out to the bench for the Gardner-Webb game,” Bohannon said. “I think the plank just kind of hangs out on the sideline, sits on the bench and drinks juice. I don’t know.”

“The plank is like a person — like, during the game Saturday, the plank had a snowcap on, because it’s cold out.”

Bottom line, winning is fun.

“It just adds a little something to the celebration of making a big play,” Henkle said. “You have to remember to move on to the next play, but little things like that make it a little extra fun.”

Once Henkle put Plank down, it was time for celebration No. 2.

“If you make a big play, or make a touchdown, it’s off to the barber shop,” he said.

There, defensive lineman Desmond Johnson is in charge as the primary stylist.

“He does a good job,” Henkle said.

Other members of the team assist. Someone offers a hot towel, another holds the mirror while a third brushes off any imaginary hair. Anyone can help, but its Johnson’s shop.

“(Defensive lineman) Barclay (Miller) was trying to clean up my beard,” Henkle said, “but it was a little rough. I told him to take it easy because I like it.”

Would Henkle see Miller or Johnson when in need of a real shave or a haircut?

“Absolutely not,” he said.

The players and coaches know this could be a special season, and they have their heads on straight. Everyone is focused, but not too wound up, to make some memories along the way.

“The bottom line is, our kids are having fun,” Bohannon said. “You are supposed to go out and compete and play hard, but it’s supposed to be fun. I want them to enjoy it and have fun, as long as it’s in the right way.”


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