SHREVEPORT, La. – In the decade from 2010 through 2019, the C.E. Byrd Yellow Jackets enjoyed a tremendous amount of prosperity on the gridiron. In those 10 seasons, the Yellow Jackets posted seven winning seasons, four double-digit win seasons, captured four District 1-5A titles, made 10 consecutive playoff appearances, had two undefeated regular seasons, garnered a No. 1 ranking, appeared in the Class 5A semifinals and were the Division I State Runners-up.
In the three seasons from 2013 through 2015, Byrd amassed 33 wins against just five losses. The 33 wins were the most in a three-year period in the 115 years of Shreveport-Byrd football. In 2013, Byrd made its first appearance in the Mercedes Benz Superdome by reaching the Division I State Championship. It was the first state title game appearance for the Jackets in over 50 years. Unfortunately, Byrd suffered a heartbreaking 23-22 loss to Archbishop Rummel, but the disappointment from the loss did not diminish the season’s accomplishments.
This decade of prosperity for the purple and gold couldn’t have been possible without the stellar performances of some outstanding players. To honor these great players, a panel of voters, including head coach Mike Suggs, wash chosen to nominate, select and vote on an All-Decade Team. Despite football being what many consider the ultimate team game, and a bevy of deserving players, the following were selected to Byrd’s All-Decade Team:
Richard Carthon (#7, 5’9”, 185, 2008-11) – A four-year letterman, Carthon led Byrd to an undefeated regular season in 2011. He guided the Jackets to 12 wins before losing to Carencro in the state semifinals. He holds the single-season record for rushing touchdowns with 26, including an incredible 76-yard scamper against top-ranked West Monroe in the season opener. He was the 2011 District 1-5A Most Valuable Player and The Times All-City Offensive MVP.
Charlie Barham (#3, 5’8”, 180, 2016-18) – Despite his size, no back ran with more grit, determination and angst than Barham. A 2018 All-District performer, Barham finished his career ranked fifth on the school’s career rushing list with 2,361 yards. His 1,479 rushing yards in 2018 ranks fourth on the single-season list, and he has two of the Top 10 single-game rushing performances in the 115 years of Yellow Jackets football.
Dominic Haggerty (#10, 5’6”, 160, 2012-14) – A two-time First-Team All-District performer (2013, 2014), Haggerty led the 2013 team with 1,154 all-purpose yards and he scored 12 touchdowns. He had 14 rushing touchdowns in his senior season.
Tysen Hardman (#15, 5’9”, 175, 2013-15) – For two of his three varsity seasons, Hardman was the forgotten back in the Byrd backfield that consisted of Haggerty, fullback Louis Mills and quarterback Tyler Howard. However in senior season of 2015, Hardman rushed for 759 yards and led the team with 12 touchdowns and was a First-Team All-District selection.
Joey Jernigan (#1, 6’1”, 163, 2012-15) – In Byrd’s run first offense, Jernigan gave Byrd a deep threat on the perimeter that kept defenses from stacking the box. He had 412 receiving yards and five touchdowns and averaged 34.3 yards per reception his senior season.
Michael Dunman (#87, 6’5”, 252, 2012-14) – Dunman averaged 25 yards a reception as a sophomore and was an integral part in leading the Jackets to the 2013 state championship game. He was a First-Team All-District selection as a sophomore and a Times All-City selection in 2013.
Zack Ward (#59, 6’6”, 250, 2014-16) – A unanimous section and a three-year starter, Ward anchored an offensive line that helped the Jackets amass over 10,000 yards of total offense in his three seasons. A First-Team All-District selection in 2016, Ward is currently a member of the Army Black Knights football team.
Collier Campbell (#73, 6’2”, 254, 2009-11) – Campbell was a First-Team All-State selection his senior season in 2011. It marked the first time since Lincoln Coleman in 2002 a Yellow Jacket offensive lineman had received the honor. He helped lead the way for backs like Carthon to run through. Campbell was also a First-Team All-District and All-City honoree.
Nick Erwin (#58, 5’9”, 246, 2016-18) – Despite being an undersized lineman by today’s standards, Erwin drew praise from his coaches and peers for his hard work, leadership and determination. He was a two-time First-Team All-District selection in 2017 and 2018 and was an All-City choice in 2018.
Garrett Malmay (#58, 5’11”, 275, 2013-15) – Along with Zach Ward and Lawson Scott, Malmay made up an incredible offensive line that saw Byrd amass impressive offensive numbers. Malmay was a First-Team All-District selection in 2015.
Ryan Downey (#51, 6’0”, 195, 2011-13) – A unanimous choice, Downey was the leader of Byrd’s offensive line for two seasons. He was a two-time First-Team All-District and All-City selection in 2012 and 2013.
J.D. Lorence (#11, 6’3”, 205, 2010-12) – A defensive player his first two seasons at Byrd, Lorence took over as the Jackets starting quarterback in 2012 after Richard Carthon had graduated. Lorence led Byrd to eight wins and a share of the District 1-5A crown. He was a First-Team All-District choice in 2012.
Zach Purcell (#70, 5’11”, 270, 2011-13) – A stalwart on the defense front, Purcell was a member of both the state semifinalists and state runners-up teams. Had 13 tackles-for-loss as a junior. Had a career high five tackles, including four solo stops against Rummel in the state championship his senior year. A two-time First-Team All-District performer.
Chad Cotton (#61, 5’9”, 267, 2009-11) – Despite his size, Cotton was a disruptive force at the line of scrimmage. He twice had a career high six tackles-for-loss in a game. Cotton was a First-Team All-District selection in 2011.
Stephen Solomon (#98, 6-1, 215, 2009-11) – Solomon and Cotton were the keys to the 2011 Purple Swarm Defense which allowed 258 yards of total offense in 13 games. Their play along the line of scrimmage allowed others to go and make plays. Solomon was a First-Team All-District selection in 2011.
Treyvon Sims (#21, 6’0”, 200, 2010-11) – The third member of the 2011 defensive line to be chosen, Sims’ combination of speed and quickness made him a formidable presence off the edge. A First-Team All-District and All-City selection in 2011, Sims and Scottie Dickson hold the school single-season record for tackles-for-loss with 23. He also holds the season record for sacks with 9.5.
Mike Taylor (#94, 6’0”, 215, 2013-14) – As one half of the M&M bookends, Taylor and fellow defensive end Malik Leary, made the Purple Swarm Defense one of the state’s best. Taylor lived in opponent’s backfields finishing his career with 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles-for-loss. He was a First-Team All-District selection in 2014. Taylor would go on to play collegiately at Georgetown University.
Krishun Cash (#32, 5’11”, 195, 2012-14) – A unanimous choice, Cash continued the long legacy of great Byrd linebackers. A three-year starter and tremendous playmaker, Cash is second on the career tackles-for-loss list with 31. He was the District 1-5A Defensive MVP, a Times All-City selection and a First-Team All-State choice in 2014.
Dayton Johnson (#34, 5’10”, 170, 2012-14) – Another unanimous choice, Johnson and Cash were the Purple Swarm’s version of the “Dynamic Duo,” with Johnson playing “Robin” to Cash’s “Batman.” However, his exploits didn’t go unnoticed by coaches and peers alike as he was a two-time First-Team All-District selection in 2013 and 2014.
Nicholas Peoples (#28, 5’10”, 180, 2009-11) – One of the finest defensive backs in school history, Peoples holds numerous school records, including the career leader in interceptions with 10 and pass breakups with 35. He was the District 1-5A Defensive MVP in 2011, a two-time All-City selection as well as the 2011 All-City Defensive MVP. He would go on to be a standout player at Grambling.
Trent Jones (#18, 5’8”, 160, 2013-15) – When the Jackets needed a game-changing play to be made, they looked to #18 to make it, which he often obliged. Despite playing in just nine games his senior season, Jones finished fourth on the team in tackles. He sits third on the career interceptions list with five, and he was a two-time First-Team All-District selection.
Chris Wilson (#22, 5’11”, 170, 2009-11) – A First-Team All-District and All-City selection in 2011, Wilson was a shut down corner back. He ranks in the Top 10 on the school’s lists for interceptions and pass breakups.
Juwan Jiles (#27, 5’10”, 178, 2012-14) – A standout on the Byrd’s 2014 team which went undefeated during the regular season and was ranked No. 1 in the state, Jiles was an All-District, All-City and All-State performer. In 2014, Jiles finished second on the team in tackles behind Cash. He recorded 12 tackles in a playoff game against East Ascension.
Jake Wyss (#57, 5’10”, 192, 2012-14) – In one of the closest votes, Wyss narrowly edged out Scotty Roblow. Wyss certainly did his part to continue the long line of great Byrd place kickers. He’s in the Top 10 in every one of the school’s kicking lists. However, he will forever live in Byrd lore for his 23-yard field goal in the 2012 season finale at Airline, which gave the Jackets a share of the District 1-5A title. He was a First-Team All-District and All-City selection in 2014.
Hardy Trafford (#85, 6’1”, 190, 2014-16) – Dubbed by coach Mike Suggs as “the best athlete in the school,” Trafford was not only an outstanding punter, but he also saw time behind center as the Jackets’ backup quarterback. He averaged nearly 40 yards a punt his senior year and had 10 of his punts downed inside the 10-yard line. He was a First Team All-District selection in 2016.
Demondrick Wells (#1, 5’9”, 180, 2014) – Wells made quite an impact in his lone season as a Yellow Jacket. He averaged 13.6 yard per punt return and 12.4 per kick return. He had a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown in Byrd’s 31-13 win over district rival Airline. Wells was a First-Team All-District selection in 2014 as a return specialist.
Jalin Thomas (#1, 5-6, 185, 2015-17) – Despite missing nearly two seasons due to injury, when he did play Thomas was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. He holds the school record for longest kickoff return for a touchdown with a 99-yard score against Haughton in 2017. In the first game of his varsity career, Thomas had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown in Byrd’s 53-14 win over Barbe. He was a First-Team All-District selection as a running back in 2017.