Yellow Jackets focus on what’s ahead, not behind


There are a lot of things Byrd might be looking to overcome this week when the Yellow Jackets take on Haughton tonight at 7 at Lee Hedges Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets will be coming off a stunning 63-28 loss to Benton last week. And they will be without the services of their three-year starter at quarterback, Lake Lambert.

But those are not the real issues for Byrd coach Stacy Ballew. He knows exactly what he wants from his team as it reaches the halfway point of the 2022 season.

“I just want us to improve in every single facet and play a game where all three phases are 100 percent,” he said. “You have games where offense plays well and bails out the defense. And you have a game where it’s 14-7 and the defense has bailed out the offense. Or you win one on special teams.”

Of course, every football coach in America wants the same thing, but it’s also Ballew’s way of trying to get his team to pay attention toward the job at hand and not worry about what has just happened.

His message to his team in the aftermath of the loss to Benton was simple. “The message has been that we have to move forward,” he said. “We addressed all of our mistakes from last week and then we started preparing for Haughton.”

It’s another week, another challenge in District 1-5A and Byrd will be up against a Bucs team that is 3-2 and coming off a 37-24 win over Southwood.

“They are a tough football team,” Ballew said. “They’re getting better and better every week and their kids play extremely hard.”

Haughton quarterback Colin Rains has passed for 759 yards and six touchdowns, completing 52 of 86. He has also run for 226 yards on 42 carries.

“The quarterback is a tough runner and a good thrower with some talented receivers,” Ballew said.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Lambert is still in concussion protocol. That means junior J.D. Gallmann, who came in last week and completed 2 of 3 passes for 22 yards after Lambert got hurt in the third quarter, will take over.

“Last week was a tough spot for him to come in and perform, as it would be for any quarterback at any level,” Ballew said. “With him having a week to prepare, with him getting all the snaps, we feel confident. He played all last spring at quarterback and has played quarterback and wide receiver this fall. We have confidence in him. He knows the offense and how to run it.”         

Contact J.J. at

Haughton (3-2, 1-1 in 1-5A) vs. Byrd (4-1, 1-1)

Where: Lee Hedges Stadium

Series: Byrd 10-5

Last year: Byrd 38-7

Last week: Haughton beat Southwood 37-24; Byrd lost to Benton 63-28

Rankings: Haughton is 8th  in Shreveport-Bossier Journal poll; Byrd is No.2 in SBJ Top 10

LHSAA power ratings: Haughton is No. 23 in Division. I Non-Select; Byrd is No. 2 in Division I Select

Radio: Byrd (The Tiger 1130 AM, 103.3 FM)

Notables: The last time Byrd gave up 63 or more points was in a 70-6 loss to Southwood in 1988 … this week’s homecoming game against Haughton will be the first start for junior quarterback J.D. Gallman … Byrd has won 17 of its last 24 homecoming games … last season, Byrd won 38-7 at Haughton’s Harold E. Harlan Stadium for the first time since 2015 … Jackson Dufrene’s 57-yard touchdown reception last week at Benton was his longest and the fourth game in five he has had a TD catch.  

Haughton’s Scholar Athlete of the Week is senior Andrew Vogan, 3.69 GPA … senior Cayden Hinkie celebrated a birthday this week, his 65th (just joking; he’s not that kind of senior) … coaches have lives away from football, believe it or not. Tuesday at suppertime, Jason Brotherton was waiting outside his wife’s office for Kenda to “jump in the truck and head to our daughter’s volleyball game.” He’d already dropped their son off at baseball practice and was supposed to pick him up on the way home from volleyball. SBJ hoped he didn’t forget him. “Well … that’s happened before” … watch out for RB Tyler Rhodes, who ate up 137 yards on 16 carries behind an undersized and overachieving line in last week’s win over Southwood.

Benton (2-3, 1-1 in 1-5A) at Natchitoches Central (2-3, 1-1)

Where: Northwestern State, Turpin Stadium

Series: Benton 5-4

Last year: Benton 35-16

Last week: Benton beat Byrd 63-28; Natchitoches Central lost to Airline 46-0

Rankings: Benton is No. 3 in SBJ Top 10 poll

LHSAA power ratings: Benton is No. 19 in Division I Non-Select; NCHS is No. 40 in Division I Non-Select

Radio: Benton (The Light 92.1 FM); NCHS (95.9 FM, Kix Classic Country)

Notables: The Tigers own a 5-4 advantage against the Chiefs since 2009 and have won four straight in the series. Benton won last year’s game, 35-16 … the Tigers boast either the No. 1 or No. 2 statistical leaders on the Bossier Parish list in passing yards, rushing yards and receiving yards through Week 5.

Bossier (0-5, 0-2 in 1-4A) at Minden (1-4, 0-2)

Where: The Pit, Minden HS

Series: Minden 33-32-2

Last year: Did not play

Last week: Bossier lost to Northwood 48-12; Minden lost to Huntington 60-28

Rankings: none

LHSAA power ratings: Bossier is No. 35 in Division II Non-Select; Minden is No. 28 in Division II Non-Select

Radio: Minden (Real Country 104.5 FM)

Notables: Bossier had two kickoff returns for touchdowns in its loss last week to Northwood. Ja’karvis Guice had a kickoff return for 87 yards. Keyshun Johnson had one in the third quarter for 75 yards … Bossier faces a Minden team, who – like the Bearkats – are looking for their first win in District 1-4A.