West quarterback Boyd is big reason Maroons are 4-0

News-DemocratSeptember 25, 2013 

Boyd led the Maroons to a 42-14 win over Belleville East on Saturday.

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— Sherand Boyd was a man in motion Saturday.

Boyd, a junior quarterback at Belleville West, rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more as the Maroons overwhelmed Belleville East 42-14 to improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southwestern Conference.

Boyd, in his second season as a starter, had seven carries for 100 yards and was 14-for-18 passing for 181 yards.

"I have to give all the credit to my O-line, wide receivers and running backs," said Boyd, the Belleville News-Democrat's Player of the Week. "Without them, I couldn't do anything.

"We focus a lot in practice about tempo, and that helped out in that game. The game was actually almost easier than practice."

Boyd certainly made it appear that way.

His rushing touchdowns covered 56 yards and 32 yards and gave West a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Boyd's 10-yard pass to senior Brian Hill made it 21-0 later in the quarter, and his 36-yard strike to sophomore TeAntez Anthony made it 28-7 at halftime.

"He's really grown and developed this year into the quarterback that we wanted him to be. That's for certain," Maroons coach Cameron Pettus said. "He's still got a lot of work to do, but he is making leaps and bounds."

West's four wins have come by an average margin of about 31 points. Boyd, complemented by a strong supporting cast, has passed for 534 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 260 yards and four TDs. He has completed 61 percent of his passes (35-for-57).

Boyd has become a more complete package since last year, when he threw for 816 yards and six TDs and ran for 277 yards and eight touchdowns.

"It felt like my downfall was my throwing last year," said Boyd, who completed just 45 percent of his attempts (47-for-104). "After the season and during the offseason, I did a lot of work practicing on my throwing. And it's showing. I feel better throwing the ball this year."

It's not just a stronger arm that has benefited Boyd, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 190 pounds after hours in the weightroom.

"Footwork and throwing techniques. I watched a lot of videos," Boyd said. "I watched (Jon) Gruden's football camp and I went to a few camps myself. That really helped out. And my quarterback coach, Robert Flake, helped me out a lot this offseason."

Being a starter in the SWC, especially as an untested sophomore, was an eye-opening experience for Boyd.

"We're in the toughest conference in the state, almost," Boyd said. "So you've got to be pretty good in this conference. You've got to correct your weaknesses and perfect your strengths, so that's what I did a lot of in the offseason."

Boyd, who covers 40 yards in 4.6 seconds, doesn't get overly caught up in his statistics. However, he is obsessed with avoiding interceptions. He has one this season and had just two last year.

"My sophomore year, I had one goal, and that was to not throw too many interceptions. That was my only goal," Boyd said.

The source of strength for Boyd's on-field prowess is his mother, Kameka Dixon.

"My mom motivates me every day with my schoolwork, my work around the house and on the field," he said. "I work all year round. I don't get a break. Take out the garbage, cook dinner, other chores. And I'm working out with my little brother (Sherond) also, making sure he grows up to be a good guy."

Sherond, whose first name is spelled similar to that of his older brother, is an eighth-grader and will attend West next year.

"He's a running back and linebacker," said Sherand Boyd, adding that Sherond enjoys attending Maroons games. "He likes coming to watch Tori (Millender), Antoine (Davis) and Brian Hill. Those are a few of his favorite guys out here."

Boyd said his younger brother could be good enough to make an impact at the varsity level next season.

"I really think so. He's pretty good," Sherand Boyd said. "I go to a lot of his games and he's doing the same things I was doing when I was his age."

Boyd hopes to land a Division I scholarship. Millender, a linebacker, and Hill, a running back/linebacker, have lured many top coaches to West games.

"I know if I keep doing what I'm doing and get better each week and each year, I shouldn't have any problem picking a school," Boyd said.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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