Byrd sets sights on QB record

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   After a stunning game last week against Hampton, Cloudland's Mark Byrd put himself in position to do something not many people in this state have done: hold a state record.
   In 1985, Franklin Road Academy's Tate Rogers scrambled for 1,042 yards to capture the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season.
   Coming into this week's game against county rival Unaka, Byrd has had 72 carries for 902 yards with an amazing 12.5 yard per carry average. He needs 141 yards to capture the record this Friday night on Orr Field.
   "I would like to get it," said Byrd. "It would be nice because it hasn't been touched since the 1980s."
   "We really weren't sure about it, though we had heard it," said Cloudland coach Mike Lunsford. "It would be a big honor if he could get it."
   The amazing statistic of all of those is that he missed two games in the process. Byrd credits his linemen and teammates for their hard work and effort this year.
   "It's been a good year for us," Byrd said. "I'd like to thank all of the lineman, and Mark Barnett and Jason Birchfield who are the blocking backs for their effort."
   Byrd has been one of the highest touted juniors in the state after being the second fastest player at the University of Tennessee quarterback camp this past summer.
   "I've just got to go out and perform the best that I can," he said. "Hopefully the other stuff will fall into place."
   Cloudland fell back down to second in this week's AP poll behind top-ranked Ezell-Harding after a 30-20 victory over Hampton. Mark ran 15 times for 155 yards and two scores in the game.
   But as it ended, Byrd was spotted helping Kevin Harrison make his way across the field.
   "It was a good experience, they've got a great team with great talent," said Byrd. "It felt good to talk to him after the game and help him off the field since he was injured."
   Whether he breaks it or not, nobody can take away the season Byrd has had for the Highlanders.
   "If I don't break it, it's not a big deal as long as we do well and win the game," he explained. "It would be nice, though."
   STATE PLAYOFF PICTURE CLEARING UP
   This week, the TSSAA has released a possible playoff outlook for each class in the state. Only two things are for certain in this county, Cloudland and Hampton hold the top seeds in their respective regions.
   The Bulldogs could possibly play Wartburg, Rockwood or Alcoa, depending on this week, while Cloudland could meet up against Midway or Oneida.
   If Happy Valley knocks off South Greene this week, they will finish second in the conference, meeting with either Rockwood, Wartburg or Oliver Springs. However, if the Warriors lose, they will be bumped down to fourth place, where they will have to play Sweetwater.
   Now Cyclone fans, hold your breath because Region 1-4A is the most confusing bracket in the state.
   If Daniel Boone wins this week, Elizabethton is second, Sullivan South is third and Daniel Boone is fourth, unless Elizabethton loses and Sullivan South wins, in which case, Sullivan South is second, Elizabethton is third and Daniel Boone is fourth.
   If Sullivan South wins, Sullivan Central wins, and Elizabethton wins, then Elizabethton is second, Sullivan South is third and Sullivan Central is fourth.
   If Sullivan South wins, Sullivan Central wins, and Elizabethton loses, Sullivan South is second, Sullivan Central is third and Elizabethton is fourth.
   If Sullivan South loses and Sullivan Central wins, Sullivan Central is second, Elizabethton is third and Sullivan South is fourth.
   Whew! Well, you get the picture.
   LOCAL MATCH-UPS
   ELIZABETHTON AT UNICOI COUNTY

   The Cyclones were hammered last week in a shocking upset by Sullivan Central. But Elizabethton will bounce back with a vengeance in order to finish well in the regional brackets. ELIZABETHTON 54-20
   SOUTH GREENE AT HAPPY VALLEY
   This game is a must win for the Happy Valley Warriors if they are looking to post a good second place finish in conference play this year. Lamar Rollins is back and healthy, and will help his team entertain the Rebels. HAPPY VALLEY 26-10
   HAMPTON AT CHUCKEY-DOAK
   Hampton is playing the weakest team in 1-2A this week in what should be a complete domination. Look for the Bulldogs to take a favorable margin at the beginning, and rest their older players for the first round. HAMPTON 48-12
   JOHNSON COUNTY AT SULLIVAN SOUTH
   Sullivan South is in a must-win situation. They could possibly finish second, third, or fourth in the region, and they will not let Johnson County get by them. SULLIVAN SOUTH 18-8
   UNAKA AT CLOUDLAND
   The Unaka Rangers have had a year of ups and downs, and their last week of the season could possibly be a tough one. However, look for them to give it all they have against Cloudland. CLOUDLAND 52-16
   WESLEY'S OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: DAKOTA BENFIELD, CLOUDLAND & MITCHELL MORTON, HAMPTON
   Both of these young men played their hearts out this past Friday night. Benfield had 21 carries for 221 yards and two touchdowns, while Morton ran two touchdowns on a 17 for 48 performance while pulling out a 10 of 17 passing show for 126 yards.
   WESLEY'S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CODY CANNON, HAPPY VALLEY
   Cody Cannon exploded like a rocket again against North Greene with a huge interception return for a touchdown. He wasn't too shabby with his pounding hits either, recording double digits with his shots in the game.
   WESLEY'S LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: DALE BAKER, CLOUDLAND
   Baker played a good defensive game against the boys of Hampton this past Friday night. Baker was tough on the offensive line and played exceptionally well defensively with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
   THIS WEEK'S PICKS:
   Daniel Boone 28, Sullivan Central 13
   David Crockett 27, Morristown East 22
   Greeneville 38, Graham, VA 22
   Greenback 32, West Greene 16
   Dobyns-Bennett 24, Science Hill 16
   Powell Valley 42, Jellico 28
   Gatlinburg-Pittman 36, Seymour 12
   Morristown West 54, Cherokee 21
   Tennessee High 48, Sullivan East 20
   Volunteer 24, Cocke County 16