Brandon Mobley knew the first-year Hough football program would struggle in its first season.
But instead of accepting that the Huskies would not be competitive this year, the wide receiver and his teammates used the negativity around the school and in the community as motivation to step up and play a large role on the team.
"When we hear the critics say that we were going to be last in conference and that we weren't going to win any games, that amped us up," said Mobley.
The 16-year-old responded well, becoming Hough's leading receiver and one of the biggest offensive threats the team has on its roster.
Mobley had 351 yards, an average of more than 50 per game, going into last Friday's 62-12 loss at Mooresville.
Although the numbers don't seem like much, Mobley has done it on only 28 receptions, averaging a respectable 12.5 yards per catch. He's also caught three touchdowns this season.
Jared Sobo and Nick Burrow are the Huskies' next top receivers, having a little more than 110 yards on the season.
Although Mobley, who has also played a few snaps at corner back, is happy with his performance this season, he's not completely satisfied with how he's playing.
"I feel like I could do more, so I can step up next year as a senior," he said. "But I feel that I've already stepped up a lot and have taken some big steps."
Huskies' coach Bobby Collins said Mobley is a blue-collar football player who has made an immediate impact on the senior-less team.
"He comes to practice with a smile on his face and comes out competing every day," said Collins. "He makes his teammates and the coaching staff better."
Collins added that he's been impressed with Mobley's performance.
"He's played outstanding," he said. "When we throw a football at him, he's going to make his best effort to try to catch it."
Getting Mobley the ball has been a challenge, though, as the receiver has seen more coverage from opposing defenses.
In addition to that, opponents have also loaded the box trying to stop running back Quantarius Jordan, who averaged 164.5 rushing yards in the first two weeks of the season. He's averaged only 35 yards per game since.
Quarterbacks Keegan Brennan and Josh Stilley have both seen their ups and downs facing the extra pressure and having their running game become less of a factor.
"Like any young team, sometimes we make some errors that break us down during games," said Mobley. "I feel like we came together pretty well this summer and we just keep fighting every team that we play."
Hough started off the season, by winning back-to-back games, which is a rare occurrence for a new program. Since, then, the Huskies have gone 0-6, but have stayed competitive.
Collins said that's all he could ask for.
"As a first-year program, our goal was to teach the game of football - the fundamentals - and make sure the kids got better week by week," said Collins.
"We want to win every game, that's the goal every week, but what's more important is to keep getting better."
Hough will have a good chance of getting their third win of the season this Friday, when they face a struggling Lake Norman team that has only won one game this season. The Huskies will host the No.2 team in the state, Mallard Creek, to close out their season.
Regardless of what happens, Mobley said he's enjoyed this season and hopes to use what he's learned to improve and further help his Huskies next year.
But first, the 5-foot-10, 150 pounder, hopes to finish out the season strong.
"I want to be all-conference, so I want to play great and get a lot of yards for this team," said Mobley.
"Hopefully I'll get some looks from different colleges."