On the football field, Sequoia Smith lives a double life.
On offense, Smith is the quarterback’s best friend, playing left tackle. On defense, he’s a signal caller’s worst nightmare as a pass-rushing defensive end.
At both spots, the 6-4, 220-pound Smith is hard to miss on the field.
Last year at his defensive end spot, Smith was in on 45 tackles. He also posted four sacks.
He said a majority of the time, teams ran to the opposite side.
“I don’t know. I think I scared them to the other direction,” Smith said. “I actually like it better when they try to run away and I can chase them.”
Even with his lanky frame, Smith has decent speed.
While crushing running backs and quarterbacks is a perk of his job on defense, he points out that he must help the linebackers by occupying offensive linemen.
“My job is a small piece of a larger puzzle,” Smith said. “If I do my job, the whole defense has a chance to be successful.”
He views his job on the offensive line the same. Smith knows if he gets his block, then quarterback Clay Barnett and running back Qualynn Wells will have a chance to make plays.
Smith admits the line is smaller than in the past, but he feels it will be an athletic group capable of helping the offense make plays.
“The line has a chance to be one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Smith said.
There’s stress from playing both roles but he said it actually helps him be a better player at each.
“I get a view on both sides of the ball,” Smith said. “It helps me as a defensive end playing tackle. I know what they are trying to do.”
Along with anchoring lines on both sides of the ball, providing leadership to a young squad will also fall on Smith – one of the team’s few seniors. But it’s not a job he said he will have to do by himself.
“We have good leadership and players that will be able to fill those shoes,” Smith said.
BIG SHOES TO FILL
Over four years, Fino Cardona amassed 4,641 yards and 64 touchdowns to become Boyd’s all-time leading rusher. The Yellowjackets will now try to fill that void. Here’s a look at Boyd’s leading offensive players:
Rusher: Qualynn Wells – 379 yards and 3 TDs
Passer: Clay Barnett – 79-141-12 for 1,083 yards and 11 TDs
Receiver: Qualynn Wells – 4 receptions 73 yards
By Jake Harris
In his third year as head coach at Boyd, Brandon Hopkins is hoping to use his team’s youth to his advantage.
After losing all-time leading rusher Fino Cardona and two of their top linebackers in Garrett Ragsdale and Cameron Schulte, Hopkins said that a lot of the team leadership has to come from the younger players this season.
“It’s hard to replace someone like Fino, and [top returning rusher] Qualynn Wells is still learning the position, but he’s going to be a threat,” Hopkins said. “He’s got his advantages too, and he can hit a home run on every play with his feet.”
Wells, a district and county selection for Newcomer of the Year, ran for 379 yards and five touchdowns off of 67 touches last season, and also played receiver. In the spring, Wells made the state track meet in the 200. This year, Hopkins has him playing offense and defense at running back and defensive back.
“He could have a breakout year on both sides of the ball,” Hopkins said.
The Yellowjackets went 4-7 overall last season and will be utilizing the spread offense and 4-3 defense this season. Hopkins said he hopes the younger players on the team will step up and lead.
“We don’t have a ton of seniors. Our quarterback [Clay Barnett] is a junior. We’re getting good leadership from the seniors, but a lot of that has to come from the younger guys,” Hopkins said. “This last year’s made them a lot better, especially the offensive line.”
In addition to the replacement of Cardona by Wells, the offense will see another top position manned by a “young guy.”
Clay Barnett started nine games at quarterback as a sophomore last season, throwing for 1,083 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hopkins said that he should be greatly improved with more games under his belt. But he’ll have some help from an experienced offensive line.
Senior offensive lineman and all-district defensive end Sequoia Smith is another player Hopkins sees as a leader. Seniors Seth Wallace, Matt McConnell, Gunner Partin and Lucas Sims are all returning. Wallace, the leading returning tackler, racked up 49 tackles last season. McConnell was an all-district offensive tackle last season who Hopkins expects to be a force on the defensive line. Partin got himself an honorable mention for offensive line last season and Hopkins said that Sims could be a two-way starter on offensive and defensive lines.
“One of our biggest strengths is our starting offensive and defensive line players,” Hopkins said.
As for the underclassmen, Hopkins said the key returning players to watch are juniors Xavier Kyle, Justin Milligan and Troy Thompson and sophomore Reece Jordan. Kyle, a wide receiver and defensive back, started a couple of games on both sides of the ball last season. Milligan, a running back and a linebacker, started at linebacker as a sophomore.
“He has a high motor,” Hopkins said.
Thompson will be playing wide receiver and defensive back after starting six games as a safety before breaking his collar bone last season. Jordan played eight games last season at defensive end as a true freshman.
Overall, Hopkins said that he is optimistic about the season.
“If we stay away from injuries, we should have a chance to make a good run,” Hopkins said.
Boyd’s first game is on the road at Gunter at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29.
Aug. 29 … Gunter … Away … 7:30
Sept. 5 … Bridgeport … Home … 7:30
Sept. 12 … Pottsboro … Away … 7:30
Sept. 19 … S&S (HC) … Home … 7:30
Sept. 26 … Krum … Away … 7:30
Oct. 3 … Open
Oct. 10 … *Bowie … Home … 7:30
Oct. 17 … *Ponder … Away … 7:30
Oct. 24 … *Paradise … Home … 7:30
Oct. 31 … *Breckenridge … Home … 7:30
Nov. 7 … *Brock … Away … 7:30
* Denotes District 4-3A Div. I game
Gunter 21, Boyd 12
Palmer 21, Boyd 20
Godley 41, Boyd 13
Sanger 55, Boyd 28
Boyd 42, Bowie 34
Pilot Point 40, Boyd 14
Boyd 41, Callisburg 27
Boyd 41, Ponder 27
Boyd 49, Paradise 31
Whitesboro 43, Boyd 0
Van Alstyne 35, Boyd 8
Final record – 4-7
By Jake Harris
When Garrett Ragsdale and Cameron Schulte graduated last season, it created a void, both in terms of leadership and skill. The duo had 174 tackles between the two of them last season, and Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins is still in the process of looking for replacements for the two of them. Three Yellowjackets are currently gunning for the top linebacker spot – juniors Adam Harkness and Colton Meadows and senior Colton Batterton.
Hopkins said he isn’t worried about making a decision right now.
“It’s still wide-open, and we’ve got so many good people playing both sides of the ball that we’d easily be able to find a place for whoever doesn’t get the spot,” Hopkins said.
Operating out of a 4-3 formation, the Yellowjackets defense will begin this season with six returning starters to lead the younger members of the team.
One of those six, senior Seth Wallace, is the team’s leading tackler. The outside linebacker had 49 tackles last season.
Elsewhere on the defense, second team all-district defensive back Jackson Basting will be returning for his senior season, as will senior all-district defensive end Sequoia Smith and senior defensive lineman Matt McConnell.
4-3A DIVISION I
1. Boyd – The Yellowjackets lost a big piece of their offense with the schools all-time leading rusher Fino Cardona graduating. But Qualynn Wells should develop as a playmaker for the Boyd offense. The Yellowjackets must stay healthy as they have limited depth.
2. Breckenridge – The Buckaroos made the playoffs last year after going 3-3 in district. Austin Dooley could be the league MVP as Breckenridge’s top rusher and tackler.
3. Bowie – The Jackrabbitts bring back the league’s most experienced defense and a pair of solid running backs in Jay Ward and Carter Shackelford.
4. Ponder – Trey Dunlap is the league’s leading returning rusher after gaining 817 yards last year.
5. Brock – Former Tom Bean coach Chad Worrell takes the Eagles through their first varsity season in a district. Brock went 7-2 last year playing an outlaw schedule.
6. Paradise – The Panthers showed growth last year at the end of a 1-9 season. If Kash Helton develops at quarterback to support backs Chris Hill and Austin Hogan, the Panthers could contend for the postseason.
1 … Qualynn Wells … RB/DB … 11
2 … Xavier Kyle … WR/DB … 11
3 … Hector Alcivar … RB/DB … 10
7 … Jackson Basting … WR/DB … 12
8 … Triston Furgerson … OL/LB … 12
9 … Seth Wallace … TE/LB … 12
10 … Spencer Pellegrini … WR/DB … 10
11 … Preston Montgomery … WR/DB … 11
12 … Austin Sparks … QB/LB … 11
14 … Clay Barnett … QB/DB … 11
17 … Brandon Ferrier … WR/DB … 12
19 … Dylan Powers … WR/DB … 11
20 … Timmy Anderson … RB/LB … 11
21 … Colton Meadows … WR/LB … 11
25 … Dayton Colbert … RB/LB … 11
30 … Justin Milligan … RB/LB … 11
33 … Colin Brooks … TE/LB … 11
34 … Troy Thompson … WR/DB … 11
42 … Hayden Ford … TE/DE … 11
44 … Judd Smith … TE/DE … 11
45/70 … Adam Harkness … OL/LB … 11
50 … Reece Jordan … OL/DL … 10
51 … Hayden Brown … OL/DL … 11
52 … Cameron Clark … OL/DL … 12
55 … Sequoia Smith … OL/DL … 12
58 … Colton Batterton … OL/DL … 12
59 … Matt McConnell … OL/DL … 12
60 … Colten Bruce … OL/DL … 11
62 … Gunner Partin … OL/DL … 12
64 … Alex Hames … OL/DL … 11
66 … Lucas Sims … OL/DL … 12
75 … Bailey Kacala … OL/DL … 11