Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Berkner glad do-it-all QB chose to stay after moves due to Katrina
RICHARDSON — There’s no “I” in team, as the saying goes, but there’s an awful lot of Yedidiah Louis in the Richardson Berkner offense. The junior quarterback leads the team in passing and has rushed for more yards and touchdowns than all of his teammates combined.
Coach Jim Ledford obviously knew what he was doing when he moved Louis from receiver to quarterback before this season. But what gave him the confidence that a 16-year-old, who had never taken a single snap, could take on such responsibility?
“Yedidiah is really special,” Ledford said. “He’s exactly what a coach wants. He’s a gem.”
And not just because Louis (5-8, 160), who has thrown for 645 yards this season and rushed for 1,251, is probably the team’s best athlete.
To show how Louis is such a gem, and mature beyond his years, you need to go back to when he lived in New Orleans.
Louis, who has seven older siblings, moved to Texas after Hurricane Katrina barreled through his neighborhood in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans in 2005. He lived in the Lake Highlands area for two years before his family moved home to New Orleans as he was getting ready for seventh grade.
After a year and a half back in New Orleans, Louis told his parents he wanted to move back to Texas.
“In New Orleans,” he said, “I didn’t feel like it was a good environment for me.”
That was back when Louis was in eighth grade. Those are pretty deep thoughts for a kid who was just about to turn 13.
Not surprisingly, his parents didn’t agree immediately.
“They were kind of like, ‘I don’t know. I think maybe we’ll just stay,’” Louis said. “But at the same time, they knew it was a better chance for me in everything. Texas is the place to be.”
Thanks in large part to Louis, Berkner (7-3) is back where it wants to be. Berkner missed the playoffs last year, but it will open the Class 5A Division I playoffs Friday. The opponent will be Garland (8-2), which will have the challenge of stopping Louis, who has passed for nine touchdowns and rushed for 14.
“We thought he had the ability to play that position, and we knew we weren’t going to have a big offensive line to protect the quarterback,” Ledford said, “so we were going to need someone to be elusive.”
Louis is definitely elusive. He also has a strong arm, giving Berkner’s option offense the threat of the long pass.
Louis resisted a position switch at first, because he loves to play receiver, and his good hands and speed make him a college prospect as a slot receiver.
But Ledford assured Louis the scouts would find him.
“They’ll see you with the ball in your hands and see that you can make plays,” Ledford said. “That’s what they want to see.”
That’s what Berkner players, coaches and fans also want to see. And they’ll be seeing it for another year, Louis said, because he’s not moving again.
“It feels like a family. All my teammates and all the students accept you for who you are,” he said. “I came here and I’m staying here.”