First-year player Ford climbing up football depth chart

Tyler Hotz, Staff Writer

Versatility on a high school football team can arise from many different sources.

Bearden has found some of that versatility from junior Bryson Ford, who before this season had not played high school football.

“I’ve adapted pretty well so far,” Ford said. “At first, since I have just played baseball, it was kind of hard to adapt to the physical part of it and also the fundamentals of football.

“You just keep getting more adapted to it as you go along.”

Throughout the early season, Ford has worked his way up through the depth chart and now starts at cornerback and also helps return kickoffs on special teams.

Ford is known to be athletic and has many tools that make him a perfect fit for the sport. As well as now being on the Bearden football team, Ford also stars for the Bulldog baseball team.

“He’s got great ball tracking skills and acceleration which I’m sure has come from baseball,” senior cornerback Jack Shires said.

Ford blocked an extra point against Morristown East last week and has five tackles so far this season. He also has a forced fumble and fumble recovery. In addition, he has boasted a 27.5 yard per return average including one that stretched 37 yards.

Ford will get a chance to add to his stat sheet when Bearden (0-4, 0-1 District 4-AAA) travels to Lenoir City (1-2, 0-1) on Friday night at 7:30.

“Being a baseball player, he has had to learn a lot such as keys, reads, and coverages and has really done a good job,” defensive coordinator Brian Tanner said. “At corner, he has done a great job in coverage and has earned that spot.

“And he adds another threat deep on kickoffs.”

Something that does not show up on a stat sheet is the “hustle plays”, and Ford has been seen already making many of them, especially last week against Morristown East.

“He played all out the whole game,” Shires said. “Especially on the extra point block, he was diving every time trying to make a play, which is awesome.”

With baseball season heating up in the spring semester, it may be hard for Ford to also come to spring practices for football. Even so, he has helped the team in more ways than one and coaches hope he can return next season.

“I want him to do great in baseball,” Coach Tanner said. “Hopefully he comes back as quickly as he can and helps us out and keeps improving.”

Added Ford: “The best part is being around the people, players, and coaches. It’s just a lot of fun being around them.”