23 Teams in 23 Days: The C.E. Byrd Yellow Jackets

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SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – “We’re improving a little bit every day,” said Byrd Football Head Coach Stacey Ballew. “That’s all you can ask. I ask to get a little bit better everyday and build on the day before.”

The Yellow Jackets are also looking to build on the year before, where they reached the state championship for the first time since 2013. This season, they’re trying to prove they’re not a one-hit wonder. 

“When people question us, it just drives me and drives all of us just to work harder and prove them wrong,” said senior running back Mitchell Ramsey.

“Last year, we proved to ourselves we’re pretty good and we have a chance,” added senior safety John Jordan.

As Byrd looks to make another trip to the state title game, they’ll do it with a new head coach for the first time in over 20 years. However, with Coach Ballew being on the Yellow Jackets’ staff since 2002, don’t expect too much to change on the sidelines. 

“Everybody’s working well with Coach Ballew, ” said Ramsey. “He’s been here for a while.”

“Since he coached defense last year, it was a pretty smooth transition,” added Jordan. “We all know he’s comfortable with us.” 

What has changed, though, are the players on the field. Byrd will have to replace a total of seventeen starters from a year ago.

“We lost a lot of guys last year,” said senior Ryan Todd. “It’s been a dog fight for these starting spots.”

“Everybody’s out here pushing each other, going 110 percent everyday, ” said Ramsey. “Spots change everyday. Whoever is out here working the hardest is going to earn it.”

“We have some spots where there are some battles to see who’s the front runner, but this is a game that’s team oriented,” said Coach Ballew. “We don’t play just eleven. There’s been years where we’ve had 18, 19 kids play on defense alone. I don’t look at it as a kid’s a starter necessarily. It is, ‘Are they going to be able to get on the field and contribute at some point?”

There’s new players, new coaches and a new team in 2021. But, what will Byrd football look like in this new era?

“We’re going to find out,” said Coach Ballew. “We’re going to find out.”

That first chance to find out is Sept. 2 against Huntington.

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