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Trell Devers carries the ball toward the end zone during the Yellow Jackets’ season opener against Harmony.

If Trell Devers makes it look easy on Friday nights, it’s probably because he puts in the hard work during the day.

“I think the games are actually a little bit easier for Trell because he literally, and this is no exaggeration, he pushes himself to exhaustion and through exhaustion every day,” Elysian Fields’ athletic director and head football coach Scott Ford said of Devers who plays running back, linebacker and defensive back.

“He’s one of the best practice players I’ve ever coached. He tries to make practice harder than a game, which is a pretty good philosophy. Some people practice to get to the game. I think he practices to make the game easier. Not many kids can do that.”

“Losing (last year’s senior running back) Chris Smith,” Devers said when asked what got him to approach the game that way. “Without him, I felt like I needed to fill those shoes and that kid wears clown shoes so I have a lot of space to fill.

“Also, just on my own, I just want to be great at football. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great. I want to be able to play college ball and hopefully move past it if I can get to that chance.”

Devers said he learned a lot from Smith, who went on to play for Southwestern Oklahoma.

“He taught me not to think about the negatives but to focus on the play that it’s front of you,” Devers offered. “As a running back, he taught me, ‘Don’t stop your feet. Keep your head up, head on a swivel. On certain plays, you might have to pause to find the hole. Don’t just run up in there. If anything goes wrong, move on to the next play.’ I struggled with that at a young age.”

Playing behind Smith also motivated Devers to take advantage of every opportunity.

Maybe my first time running the ball last year,” Devers said when asked what moments so far from high school football standout the most. “I was behind Tony (Mason) and Chris but I felt like if I got in there, I needed to score to show what I can do.”

“His first carry was a touchdown against Harmony,” Ford said. “It was like 30 yards.”

As for right now, Devers currently has 33 carries for 242 yards and two touchdowns in two games. Defensively, he has 15 tackles.

“From last year to this year, he’s probably our most improved player.”

Dever and his Yellow Jackets are currently 2-0 as they head into tonight’s contest but advancing to 3-0 will be anything but an easy task.

“They haven’t scored a lot of points but they’ve been awfully close to a lot of big plays,” Ford said about tonight’s opponents, the Daingerfield Tigers.

“They’re athletic. We just need to keep getting better on defense because we’ve been playing really good defense so far. I feel like, for me personally, whoever wins the turnover battle is going to win the game. I know that’s cliché but for us that’s true.

“We haven’t done as good of a job at taking care of the ball as we need to. The first two games, we’ve gotten away with it but when you’re playing at team ranked third in the state, you’re not going to get away with that. We’re just trying to be as simple and clean as we can with a game plan and let our players play, and keep playing good defense.”

“I really believe in us this game,” Devers said. “I believe if everybody comes with the right mindset we can overcome and get the victory. I think it will be a close game but I still believe we will come out on top if everybody has the right mindset.”

Tonight’s game is the final non-district matchup for Elysian Fields and Ford said it will help prepare the Yellow Jackets for their District 11-3A DII opponents.

“We schedule them for a reason,” Ford said. “No. 1 I feel like we can play with them. No. 2 nobody else wanted to play them. That’s the kind of challenge we like around here. No. 3, we know it’s going to make us better regardless of what happens because ultimately, the most important games of the season start next week when we start district.

“When you start district, you want as few unknowns as possible about your football team and the only way to find out is to go against high caliber people that are big and athletic and that’s what we’re doing.”

Kickoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Mickey Mayne Tiger Stadium in Daingerfield.