Roar of the crowd sounds good to Beard
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 26, 2005 - Ivan Beard likes to tinker with the booming audio system in his car and even has an eye toward becoming an audio technician.

So, he had to love the sound of the Sulphur Springs crowd when it cheered its approval Friday night when Beard came down with his first interception of the season against Greenville.

It couldn't have come at a better time. Sulphur Springs had just taken a 28-17 lead and was trying to fend off a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Lions.

"Everybody was fired up for him and fired up for the defense,' said defensive coordinator Robert Wallace. "It was a good momentum-changer, and we need more of that."

Along with his interception, Beard, who is a senior cornerback, had five tackles and two pass break-ups in the 31-17 victory. He now has 28 tackles on the season.

"Ivan had the best game that he's had all year," Wallace said. "He's come a long way. His thing isn't a lack of ability, it's a lack of confidence. Once he gets his confidence that he can make a play, he'll go do it. Once he does, he usually makes good things happen."

Beard is getting comfortable at cornerback after not playing his junior year and missing spring training last May. At 5-9, 170, he's the most athletic cornerback on the roster.

"I'm enjoying my senior year," Beard said. "I've got a good bunch of people around me. I feel confident we're going to play well.

"Coach Wallace told us from the beginning that we needed to play better, and we needed to come together because all eyes were on the defense. We know our stats haven't been very good, but we know our potential. We've just got to play to our potential, and I think we did that Friday."

They have another tall order this week with Texas High coming to town. The Tigers are ranked anywhere from No. 2 to No. 6 in state, depending on the poll. They also have a 6-6 quarterback in Ryan Mallett who is considered one of the top junior signal-callers in the state.

Coaches will be depending on Beard to help control the Texas High offense, which is averaging 39 points per game.

"The last time he played full-time as a sophomore on JV, he was outstanding. He returned quite a few picks for touchdowns and some punt returns for touchdowns," Wallace said. "I think for a while, he wasn't comfortable, but I think now he's getting some confidence back. 

"We keep pumping him up all week. He's always in good position - he just has to make a play on the ball, and now he's doing that."

When Beard's not playing football, he's either working at Chicken Express or hanging out with friends and playing video games. But, he's also gotten a lot more comfortable with his teammates after sitting out a year.

"I like the camaraderie we have on the team," he said. "It's not just about one person. If everyone does what they're supposed to, then you can win. It's a team sport, not individual."

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