Solid pair of athlete's in 'Lander LB corps

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff
tbrown@star.com

   This season the Cloudland Highlanders have been the beneficiary of a fine collection of backs and linebackers. Two of these young men have contributed greatly, overcoming all expectations... Jason and Derrick Birchfield are true athletes to say the least.
   Head Coach Mike Lunsford is pleased to have a pair of ballplayers like Derrick and Jason under his command, these young men have worked hard and the benefit can be seen on Friday nights, "They have been a big part of our team this year," Lunsford said "Derrick has never missed a practice, and Jason is one of the best blocking backs I've ever coached."
   Jason's contributions from the blocking back position and Derrick's abilities in the defensive secondary make the Highlander football team stronger on both sides of the ball.
   Derrick commented on their off season improvement and talked about this season's team goals, "I've been working hard on my turns, and I still need to get faster."
   That modest attitude is one coach Lunsford loves, "Derrick is a quiet but he leads by example," Lunsford said "He's a hard-nosed football player, and he has a great attitude."
   Jason has also made a large impact for the 'Landers this season. His contributions from the offensive backfield as well as his outside linebacker spot have been indispensable for Cloudland.
   Jason attributes his success to his work in the off season, "We worked hard over the summer lifting weights," Jason said "We are faster than last season but we still need to improve."
   That attitude and competitive work ethic has helped these young men to higher levels this season. Lunsford continued to remark on these young men and their abilities, "When I feel like I've pushed Derrick to far, he looks at me and says 'It will just make us better'" Lunsford said "That's the kind of mindset you love as a coach."
   "Jason has done so much for us this year that has gone unseen" Lunsford said "He and Barnett are the best tandem of blocking backs that I have ever coached."
   With the majority of the season now gone, the Birchfield's are working towards the playoffs and the challenges the postseason will bring.
   Confidence is the key for both young men, Lunsford feels that both young men have the talent necessary, they just have to trust their ability.
   "Jason needs to be more comfortable with his reads," Lunsford said "He hasn't played a lot of linebacker and he is working hard to be better at it."
   "Derrick just has to believe himself, He's done an excellent job and he has improved our pass defense with his play."
   Although they are not brothers, this pair of Birchfields should remain a big part of the 'Landers postseason picture. With continued success, these silent contributors will be making some noise come November.