Ferriday’s Taylor finishes stellar career

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 24, 2002

FERRIDAY, La. &045; Want to find out what all Class 2A opponents experienced when it came to running down The Natchez Democrat’s All-Metro Most Valuable Player?

See if you can track down Ferriday quarterback Tyrrence Taylor. If he is out of school, your best bet is the Concordia Parish School Board office where he works every afternoon. Get there before 5 p.m. because Taylor will juke you just as he did to the Homer defense on the Trojans’ game-winning drive to get them to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

If he avoids you there, check the Ferriday High gym, but don’t interrupt basketball practice in which he is taking part.

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Taylor lives by the old mantra: idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

&uot;I don’t like those times when you just sit around and think, so I try to do as much as possible,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;When I’m at home, I have a lot to think about, and I’m always thinking about football.&uot;

About what might have been. About how a battered and bruised Trojan team traveled the two-plus hours down to Reserve and turned in a beaten performance in a 40-21 loss to Riverside Academy.

No senior wants his prep career to end, especially if he was a stone’s throw away from the Superdome and a chance to play for a ring.

&uot;We didn’t seem like we were into it,&uot; Taylor said of the last high school football game he’ll ever play. &uot;We got off the bus quiet, and we came out on the field shaky. It was a poor played game on everybody’s part, mine included.&uot;

The numbers didn’t reflect that, though. Taylor accounted for all three Ferriday scores &045; one passing, one rushing and a 56-yard punt return for six. He finished with 74 yards carrying the ball 10 times and 235 yards through the air in the loss to the Rebels.

For the season he was a triple threat &045; arms, legs and hips. As a mobile signal caller, Taylor completed 55 percent of his passes (139-249) for 2,105 yards. He had a 3-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (18-6).

On the ground he added 794 yards rushing the ball scoring eight touchdowns, including a dramatic 1-yard plunge with 9.7 seconds left to propel the Trojans ahead in the playoffs.

Leading by six from the first quarter on, Taylor and his teammates saw their lead evaporate when the Pelicans’ Broderick Ramsey caught a 14-yard touchdown pass with 3:56 to play.

&uot;We knew it was a slow-paced game. When they scored to put us down, I looked at the clock and said in my mind, ‘We’re going to win,’&uot; Taylor said. &uot;I told the guys in the huddle before we started the drive to look at the scoreboard one last time. ‘We either win or we go home.’&uot;

Ice flowing through his veins, No. 9 engineered a drive from his own 35 that began sourly. After picking up a first down, the Trojans went three plays netting &045;2 yards.

When all hope had exited Melz Stadium, Taylor came up with a strike to Christopher Sheppard on fourth-and-12 that sustained the drive for a first down.

&uot;Coach called my number every play and the guys wanted it desperately,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;You could see it in their eyes.&uot;

From the Homer 43, Taylor’s feet did the talking with runs of 11, 10 and 8 yards to get the ball down to Pelicans 3 with less than a minute remaining.

A field goal could have won it, but the Trojans wanted six.

After freshman Montago Tennessee failed on two chances to cross the goal line, but moved the ball to the 1, Ferriday called a timeout with 13 seconds.

They say, ‘dance with the one that brought you,’ and McFarland obliged with a Taylor sneak that sent the senior into paydirt and the Trojan faithful into hysteria.

&uot;No one likes to imagine his last time on his home field, but I’m thankful that mine will be a memorable one,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;When I walk through these gates and look at the field, I miss it dearly.&uot;

While Taylor hasn’t made any official visits to any colleges, he has a short list of where he’d like to go. The top five: Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, Southern Miss and Oklahoma State.

He’s got time to pick a major, but if he wants to play football as a freshman he’s at least qualified with a 3.1 GPA and an ACT score of 17.

&uot;I just want to be on the football field,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;These guys at Ferriday, I’ve played with them so long that I have a feel for them. In a new environment, I’ll have to learn to lean on people I’ve never met and that’s exciting.&uot;

But there’s still time. Let’s not pack his bags just yet. He’s got the spring semester to tie up loose ends and make a push into the playoffs on a new venue.

He hadn’t played high school basketball before this year. He is getting a head start on that trust he’s looking forward to about college this season on the basketball floor.

&uot;It was real different because on the football field I’m the one in control,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;Football was my game, my team. It seemed funny to be on the other side of it, but I’m getting use to it.&uot;

The transition for kids from small high school towns to colleges of the size of where Taylor is pursuing can be typically awkward.

But with his feet, arm, mind and discipline, Taylor has shown he’s not your run-of-the-mill teenager. To many in Ferriday, he stopped being a kid when he strapped on that black-and-yellow helmet and donned the Trojans’ jersey.

&uot;Someone told me the other day I’m kind of like a role model,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;Wherever I go (to college) I’ll be a nobody, but I’ll always be known in Ferriday. Hopefully I’ll make a name for myself wherever I go.&uot;

And Taylor is always going somewhere.