'Killer B's' swarm all over 'Lander foes

Stings come by the dozens when Cloudland takes field

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The stellar backfield on Roan Mountain has been the beneficiary of some great blocking this season, but the Killer B's (Dakota Benfield, Mark Byrd, Derrick Birchfield, and Mark Barnett) are stinging opposing defenses with ruthless efficiency.
   Last week the 'Landers had two backs pass the century mark, while Dakota Benfield compiled 288 yards on a mere 26 carries. Despite Benfield's awesome performance, the key for the Highlanders this season has been spreading the wealth.
   Until last week's game, the 'Landers had received steady contributions from the entire backfield, and beaten teams with a swarm of different backs and plays.
   Head coach Mike Lunsford is obviously tickled to have such a fine fleet of runners to pace the power I, "They have been a pleasant surprise," said Lunsford "I thought they would be good, but that doesn't do them justice, they are great."
   There are so many aspects of this 'Lander backfield that when combined together, make for a superior combination of size, speed, agility, and awareness.
   Mark Barnett comes first alphabetically, and on most plays, he is the first one in the hole. Barnett has kept defenses honest all season, not allowing them to sell out to stop the other 'Lander weapons.
   Barnett is happy with his role in the Lunsford game plan, "It doesn't matter who we play, it's a search and destroy mission for me."
   Those are strong words, but appropriate indeed considering Barnett's role as both fullback and middle linebacker on defense, Lunsford is pleased with Mark's play, "He's a tough runner, and opposing teams have to respect him."
   Benfield has recently shown himself to be the front-runner of the powerhouse backfield. With consistent showings all season, last weeks breakout performance has given opposing defenses yet another unstoppable force.
   Benfield attributes his successes to his supporting cast, "The line has done and awesome job," said Benfield "We're a power I team, Mark Barnett and Jason Birchfield opening holes and picking up blocks, they all do a good job."
   Birchfield has been a solid contributor as well. With better than average speed and a nose for the hole, Birchfield has seen time as a third down back this season.
   Lunsford commented on his platooning tailback, "He's steady and consistent, said Lunsford "He's a solid short yardage runner."
   As most fans will tell you however, on Roan Mountain the key cog for 'Lander success is Mark Byrd. His level of play, elevates the ability of his teammates, making the offensive unit for the Highlanders a fluid machine.
   Lunsford is understandably excited about his sophomore signal caller, "He's the wheel, he makes us 20 points better," said Lunsford "You can't measure his success in statistics, its simple, when it counts, he gets it done."
   Byrd went on to mention another factor of 'Lander football, the intangible attitude, "All the coaches prepare us mentally, they push us and it makes up better," said Byrd "We get it into our head that we're winners, and then we go on the field and prove it, Birchfield added.
   Fans will undoubtedly be watching these young men this week, as they prepare for the upcoming clash with the Midway Green Wave.
   Swarm vs. Wave... Advantage B's