Patience pays off for Beard, Gazette’s Offensive Football Player of the Year
The journey hasn’t always been easy for Trinity Catholic running back Beau Beard, the Gazette’s Offensive Player of the Year for high school football players in Marion County.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior had to wait his turn behind upperclassmen his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2021, as a junior, Beard started to take on the lead back role as he ran for 786 yards and five touchdowns.
For Beard, 2022 was a make-it-or break-it year, and did he ever take advantage of it, exploding for 1,478 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. His totals were the highest in the county by a far margin.
Trinity Catholic head coach John Brantley III knew it was coming based on the work he saw Beard put in over the past two years.
“I’m not surprised at all,’’ Brantley said. “He’s a four-year kid at Trinity and he has done it the right way. He’s seen some great examples before him, and he bought in. He has been a big part of Trinity Catholic football.”
Throughout the season, Beard was counted on as the leader of the offense while Brantley and his staff were breaking in a new starting quarterback. Beard averaged 134 rushing yards per game and routinely went over 20 carries per game.
Those workhorse type of games are where Beard thrived, and knew he had to come through for his team. His most memorable performance came in the 1S State Semifinal game against John Carroll Catholic where he had 35 carries, over 200 yards and the game-clinching touchdown to send Trinity Catholic to the 1S State Championship game.
Trinity came up short in the title game, losing 21-3 to Naples First Baptist Academy on Dec. 10.
“For a lot of those games, it was about focusing, keeping my teammates on the right track and standing tall when adversity happens,” Beard said.
Brantley echoed the same sentiment and showed appreciation for the player Beard has become.
“He always wanted the ball. He had a great offensive line, but some of those runs were on his own, too. He’s a great package and likes to go hit somebody,” Brantley said.
As for playing at the next level, Beard has not committed to any colleges or universities, but he said he does have his eye on a couple of schools as he works to get his diploma. He currently has a 2.9 GPA, and he plans to major in business in college.
Off the field, Beard is one of a kind with a smile on his face and a positive attitude that is infectious.
“He’s always got a smile and he’s always happy,’’ Brantley said. “It’s hard for him to get down. During the year, if we had any adversity on the football field, he was the first one to step up and tell everybody to get on his back because he knew he could lead us out of the situation.”
As the wins and accomplishments stacked up for Beard and his team during Trinity’s 9-3 season, Beard learned a lesson along the way that he said he will keep with him forever.
“Whether it’s football or life in general, I’ve learned to trust your teammates. That’s what I had to because you must have the trust in your teammates,” he said.
As Beard finishes high school and begins to embark on the next chapter of his life, Brantley spoke with pride and is excited about the possibilities ahead.
“He knew it was his last ride with Trinity Catholic and he had to make it happen this year. He did everything he needed to do to be successful and be the complete football player he turned into. I’m happy for him, he’s doing well in school and now we just need to try and find the best available situation for him at the next level,” Brantley said.