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North Hall's Rochester provides 'Tough Mudder' mentality out of the backfield
Trojans' senior now has more than 1,300 yards this season as they look to earn No. 2 spot to postseason
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North Hall's Kevin Rochester breaks off a long touchdown run Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, against Cherokee Bluff during the first half of their game at The Brickyard. - photo by Scott Rogers

Kevin Rochester isn’t apprehensive about setting bold goals. 

The accomplished senior running back for the Trojans has already crossed one of his list for 2021, so now he’s on to the most ambitious goal. 

In addition to striving to be a person of unquestionable character and a Christian example to everyone in the locker room, Rochester is now embarking on trying to hit 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Trojans (6-3, 4-1 Region 7-3A). 

“Once I reach my goals, it is setting the next one every step and having something to work for,” he said.

North Hall’s running back said his success is a collective effort. 

“My (offensive) line gives me great holes,” he said. “I know they’re giving me their all. I want to give it right back to them and give it back to the team. Every time I get the ball, I want to get as far as I can get and run over as many people as I can.”

Since he’s sitting at 1,353 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, Rochester will have the postseason to try and reach this mark, as the regular season ends Friday against Dawson County (5-4, 4-1) in Dawsonville. 

The winner of the Week 12 matchup will lock up the No. 2 spot in the state playoff bracket. North Hall is looking to open the postseason at home for the third consecutive season as region runner-up. 

In 2019, North Hall topped Lovett in the playoff opener in Gainesville, while last season the Trojans beat North Murray to open state at Lynn Cottrell Stadium. 

Most recently, Rochester had a 255-yard night and three scores in the region championship-game loss to Cherokee Bluff. 

“He is a really good football player,” Cherokee Bluff coach Tommy Jones said. “He’s one of the best running backs in North Georgia. We knew that in (to last Friday’s game). You couple that with that they (North Hall) may have the best offensive line around.”

Against the Bears, Rochester ripped off a 64-yard scoring run, which put the Trojans ahead 14-0.

Rochester is within striking range of Kyle Bacus’ 1,682 yards rushing in 2016 at North Hall. 

Rochester’s longest run of the season was a 70-yard score against White County on Oct. 1, along with four runs of more than 40 yards this season.

“He understand what is expected of him and does it,” Trojans coach David Bishop added. “When you do that in our system, you’re going to be successful.”

Ironically, running long distances is one of Rochester’s least favorite activities. 

To remedy that, Rochester has gained mental toughness by engaging in ‘Tough Mudder’ competitions, endurance races that incorporate physical challenges that test competitors mental fortitude. 

He’s competed in three of these grueling events and has two more planned on the calendar with his youth ministry leader from Lakewood Baptist Church. 

Rochester carries that fearless mentality over to the football field.

Even on game days, Rochester puts on his ‘Tough Mudder’ shirt underneath his shoulder pads. 

That’s a not-so-subtle reminder that he has to give it 100 percent to be successful at the premier position in North Hall’s offense.