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Byrd to lean on defense as offense gains experience, confidence early in 2019
July 17, 2019, 7:30 am

n any option-oriented offense, the fullback plays a key role in its success. How do you replace a fullback who was a three-year starter and finished his career in the top five among rushers in the 114-year history of a program?

The short answer is, you don’t. That’s the scenario entering the 2019 high school football season for C.E. Byrd head football coach Mike Suggs.

Charlie Barham, who was all of 5’8” inches tall and 180 pounds, finished his brilliant career with 2,361 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns ranking him fifth on the school’s career rushing list. Barham rushed for 1,479 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2018 ranking him fourth on school’s single-season rushing list.

How does Suggs replace this vital cog in the Jackets’ multiple-option attack? Suggs, who begins his 22nd year at the helm of the Byrd football program, will turn to 6-foot, 170-pound senior Jeremy Williams to fuel the Byrd offense. Williams rushed for 245 yards and two touchdowns in nine games last year as Barham’s backup. Despite getting just 36 carries on the year, Williams averaged 6.8 yards per carry.

“You don’t just replace a guy like Charlie Barham,” said Suggs. “He was as tough as they come and ran with an aggressiveness and awareness that’s unique to him. Jeremy (Williams) gives a combination of speed and power that we really like. We had some attrition over the spring and summer where we lost a couple of guys, so other backs will have to step up.”

Two wingbacks Suggs hopes will step up and take some of the load off of Williams are juniors William Berry (5’9”, 153), and Venzell Thompson (6’0”, 170). Another pair of junior Elijah Tilmon (5’5”, 160), and Jamarsha Hughlon (5’8”, 133) will also compete for playing time in the Yellow Jackets’ backfield.

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