After getting rubbed the wrong way at Barbe last week in their season opener, the Byrd Yellow Jackets sought a ship-righting win against perennial powerhouse St. Thomas More on Thursday in the Landers Battle on the Border opener.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Plagued by an inexperienced team after losing a multitude of seniors, the Jackets fumbled and bumbled their way to a 31-0 loss to the Cougars, who were playing without several key starters.

STM was dominant from the outset with a beautiful mix of pass and run that seemed to befuddle the Jackets’ defense. Byrd lost two key fumbles, one in the first half and one in the second that the Lafayette visitors turned into quick scores.

Byrd coach Mike Suggs didn’t see much he liked from an offense that never could get untracked.

“I’m trying,” Suggs said when asked what he saw as improvement over the Barbe game. “We have to grow up. We’re making too many mental mistakes, and we will find a way to correct them. We’ve got to get it done.”

The second Byrd fumble came on the Jackets’ second play of the second half and allowed STM to score on a 1-yard run to go in front 31-0. That allowed a Cougar team, missing Louisiana Tech-commit Griffin Hebert and middle linebacker Noah Fontenot, to coast the rest of the way.

“I knew Byrd was decimated this year, losing all those guys, and I’ve been in that position before,” STM coach Jim Hightower said. “I think maybe we had a little more horsepower tonight. Our backs made some big runs to open things up for us.”

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