081419_MNS_Super_8_Riverwood_Kyle_Kennard_1 Kyle Kennard

Riverwood defensive back Kyle Kennard is preparing for the 2019 season.

Riverwood produced its most successful season in more than a decade with an eight-win campaign in 2018.

The win total was the highest since earning nine victories in 2001. The Raiders also finished second in Region 6AAAAA and hosted their first postseason contest since 2001.

The team looks to carry that success into 2019.

“We are looking to continue the momentum created last year,” Riverwood coach Robert Edwards said. “We lost a lot of seniors, so we are looking to develop the next group of athletes to compete at a high level.”

Leading the defensive effort will be senior lineman Kyle Kennard, who had 56 tackles and eight sacks last year. The Georgia Tech commit saw the excitement in his teammates this offseason.

“We’ve been getting prepared for the new season and getting new players,” he said. “We’re working on gelling together. It was nice being part of something and making history. You can tell that we’re more excited because winning changes everything. If there’s a problem, it's easy to fix because everyone is bought in and knows the result that can come from it.”

The Raiders also retain the services of last season’s leading tackler in senior Elijah Kirby, who had 74 stops in 2018. Senior linebacker Kaleb Patton also had a strong season with 65 tackles last year.

The transformation started with the hiring of Edwards before the 2018 season.

“Coach Edwards and his staff came in and turned us around,” Kennard said. “They didn’t let us slack off or give us pity.”

Riverwood has broken through with a strong season that ended with a postseason berth. The next step will be to earn a postseason win, which hasn’t happened since 2001.

“We’re not going down without a third-round exit in the playoffs,” Kennard said. “We have the pieces to get there and can come through.”

2019 schedule

Aug. 23: Chattahoochee

Aug. 30: at McIntosh

Sept 6: Kennesaw Mountain

Sept. 20: at Banneker

Sept. 27: Lithia Springs

Oct. 4: at Decatur

Oct. 18: Carver (Atlanta)

Oct. 25: at North Springs

Nov. 1: Grady

Nov. 8: at Jackson (Atlanta)

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