SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Belaire Bengals

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Belaire Bengals
Belaire Bengals (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Belaire Bengals are stop No. 41 for Sportsline Summer Camp.

It would be an understatement to describe the last three seasons at Belaire High School as a struggle. Since 2017, the team has a combined five wins, three of which were over Glen Oaks. The Bengals have scored an average of just nine points in their last 29 contests. Morale has been low and performance has been subpar. Now, there’s a new leader and he’s looking to change that.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Belaire Bengals - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Belaire Bengals - Part 2

“I want to be able to hang my hat, not from the ground up, but build a program and show that it can be done,” said head coach Byron Wade.

Wade spent the past three years as an offensive coordinator at Baker High School and will now be on sidelines as the Bengals’ head coach. The 35-year-old has been a part of multiple rebuilding phases in his coaching career and he said this one won’t be much different.

“I always tell people the day you plant the seed is not the day you are going to eat the fruit. So, right now, I want to come into this Sherwood community, this area, make this school more attractive. Make it more appealing, make football something that everything is looking forward to within the community where that culture can be established and it will be contagious,” Wade explained.

“He wants to be more like a father figure, brother type man, and he shows us that we don’t have to be in bad situations,” added junior defensive back Bryson Armstrong. “We can lead and show people there are other good ways.”

Schematically, Belaire will run a power spread offense but, at this point, no positions have been made official yet. Wade said before he can start giving out titles, this group has to find that family bond first and if it all comes together, the Bengals will be roaring loud in 2020.

“We have tons of talent. If everybody performs to the best of their abilities, it’s no doubt the sky is the limit for how much success we can have,” Wade pointed out.

“I think we can build upon those tough years,” said junior tight end and linebacker Christian Tolliver. “There is nothing more dangerous than a person that has nothing to lose. You want to put more at risk and when you can get a bigger reward.”

Wade said he is setting the bar very high. He added it’s not just to give them something to look forward to but to aim very high to be disciplined.

Wade explained he wants to make sure his players understand that hard work is only half of it and that the rest of it is mental. He wants to make them mentally tough and condition them to be strong on the field, in the classroom, and at home.

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