Byrd shines on both sides of football

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A standout on both sides of the football, Brookhaven Academysenior Kolby Byrd sparkled for the Cougars Friday night in their27-14 road victory over the Manchester Mavericks of Yazoo City.

For his performance, Byrd is The DAILY LEADER’s Defensive Playerof the Week. Working at middle linebacker, Byrd accounted for 11tackles and 2 interceptions as the District 4-AA champion Cougarsraised their record to 8-3 on the season and prepared for theplayoffs. He returned an intercepted screen pass 47 yards for atouchdown.

Byrd and his teammates are anticipating a rematch with theBowling Green Buccaneers Friday night on R.M. “Red” Stuard Field.Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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“We have to step up on defense to beat Bowling Green,” Byrdpredicted. “They are averaging 38 points per game.”

The Bucs beat the Cougars 36-34 in overtime Oct. 10, atBrookhaven. “Bowling Green passes the ball well. They like to throwthe football deep on fade routes,” said Byrd.

Byrd (6-0, 225) also works at running back on offense. He alsocan play quarterback.

He had 15 carries for 115 yards and 1 TD as the Cougars erased a14-13 halftime deficit. His fourth quarter interception secured thewin.

“I like defense better than offense,” said Byrd. “I like hittingpeople. When you play linebacker, you are in the middle on everyplay.”

Byrd recalled the screen pass by Manchester. “They let the(defensive) linemen go through. You know it’s going to be a screenpass. I focused on the running back.”

BA head coach Herbert Davis said Byrd played an exceptional gameagainst Manchester. “Kolby really stepped it up for us. He finishedstrong. He was making every tackle and running over folks.

“Kolby has great instincts,” added Davis. “He’s strong so he canshove off blocks.”

Byrd has been wearing No. 33 since his freshman season. He wasselected The DAILY LEADER’s Defensive Player of the Year on the2007 All-Lincoln County Team.

Byrd said BA’s defensive unit has grown stronger as the seasonprogressed. They include Nathaniel Sbravati and Caleb Dorman atlinebacker, Will Gatlin, Garrett Posey and Austin Barnett at endand Caleb Covington, Reid Smith, Clint Stuard and Clayton Reedrotating at nose guard.

In the secondary, Ty Smith, Scottie Peavey, Mark Rushing, AlanMichael Allred, Kyle Burt and Jennings Mills are the leaders.

During his 4-year varsity career, Byrd has had three headcoaches, starting with Ray Ishee. He played 2 years for Bo Miltonbefore Milton left for Parklane. Davis was hired last winter.

Byrd said he enjoys playing for the energetic Davis. “He’s veryintense. He’s intense in practice, too.”

Byrd comes from an athletic family. His father, Terry, andmother, Liz, both played basketball at Columbia Academy. His dadalso played football.

Looking to the future, Byrd plans to sign a baseball scholarshipwith Mississippi State University next Wednesday, Nov. 12. He is anoutstanding catcher who was selected the DL’s Defensive Player onthe 2008 All-Lincoln County Baseball Team. He wants to major inforestry and wildlife management at MSU.

In his spare time, Byrd enjoys hunting and fishing. He hasharvested 3 deer during the bow season, including a 10-point buck.On Sundays he enjoys watching the Indianapolis Colts and San Diegorunning back LaDanian Tomlinson on TV.