World-class archer doubles as Byrd (Shreveport, La.) school punter

World-class archer doubles as Byrd (Shreveport, La.) school punter


World-class archer doubles as Byrd (Shreveport, La.) school punter


Thorough preparation. Impeccable accuracy. An unwavering mind.

Elite archers display all those qualities and more. The Trafford name is synonymous with archery, and Byrd senior Hardy Trafford, a member of USA Archery’s Junior Dream Team, would love to wear the Red, White and Blue as an Olympian one day.

However, Trafford, a right-handed shooter, has learned another athletic endeavor requires the same tools he uses to excel with a bow and arrow.

Trafford and his left leg excel on the football field. He’s entering his final season as a kicker/punter for Byrd.

“Archery and punting and kicking are all in the mindset — not like playing quarterback or cornerback where everything is built on performance and your muscles,” said Trafford, who recorded 59 points (53 of 56 extra points, 2 of 2 field goals) for the Yellow Jackets last season.

In high school football, a kicker is often an afterthought. The position is usually taken by a standout pulling double duty, not a specialist. That hasn’t been the case at Byrd.

“We’ve been fortunate to have good kickers throughout the years. Hardy is one of those guys,” Byrd head coach Mike Suggs said. “He’s so meticulous the way he works.”

Although Trafford will still be available to help Ben Smith with the kicking duties, he’s focused on his punting.

He followed his siblings’ successful footsteps in archery, and he plans to do the same when it comes to college.

Trafford’s oldest sister is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. His middle sister recently graduated from the Naval Academy. A third sister is entering her sophomore year at the Air Force Academy.

Trafford’s father, Skip, is a retired Lt. Col. in the Army.

“He told us to finish high school and college and then do what we want,” Hardy Trafford said.

For now, he’ll focus on the pigskin.

“I was the kickoff guy, but then coach hired Ben,” Trafford said with a laugh. “I enjoy punting.”

During a summer Air Force Academy football camp, Trafford trained with coach Bob Lucchesi.

“He told me my ticket to the Air Force Academy is my punting,” Trafford said.

A right-handed shooter, Trafford punts and kicks with his left leg. And there’s a very good reason.

“My dad told me there is more blood flow in the left leg, so that results in a stronger kick,” Trafford said. “Right hand, left foot are dominant.”

Monday, Trafford and Smith were practicing field goals from 53 yards out. Wednesday, he launched a 75-yard punt.

No matter which facet of special teams Suggs chooses for Trafford, he will embrace the opportunity.

“You get one play. You don’t get a chance to redeem yourself if you’re down by two with a game-winning field goal,” Trafford said. “In practice, you have to work on your accuracy, your consistency.”

Although the Air Force Academy has an archery range, Trafford’s sisters have said “they didn’t have much time to shoot.”

The next Summer Olympics are set for Tokyo in 2020. At that time, Trafford will likely be ready for his senior year of college. The site for the 2024 Games will be announced in a year. Los Angeles is a possibility. Who knows, perhaps Trafford will be there displaying those steady hands, pinpoint accuracy and unflappable approach.


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