Last year was a long one for Chapman Beaird and Franklin. You can hear the disappointment in the Franklin senior’s voice as he remembers it.
But you can also hear his resolve to make 2018 better. So far, he has.
“It was tough,” Beaird said, speaking of last season. “We went 3-7 and didn’t make the playoffs. It was pretty discouraging, but so far we’ve bounced back pretty well. We’ve always used that as motivation, like during offseason workouts, [to] just try not to repeat what happened last year and stay focused on what our goal is for this year.”
According to MaxPreps.com, which keeps records back to 2004, that was Franklin’s only losing season apart from 2012. The Rebels won at least eight in every other season.
Getting to eight could be tough for Franklin this season. The 3-3 Rebels have a matchup with Oakland looming after this week’s Centennial game.
But the way Franklin’s defense has played, don’t count the Rebels out. Beaird will help lead the way for whatever comes next. Here’s more about him on and off the field.
Beaird leads Franklin’s defensive resurgence
Last year, Franklin had a disastrous 1-7 start. But the one good constant for the Rebels was the defense. Three times, it held opponents to 14 points or fewer. It gave up more than 24 points just three times all season.
That’s carried over to this year. Franklin allows just 14.3 points per game, and comes off a 24-7 thumping of Hendersonville in which it allowed only 105 yards.
“I think definitely our defense has been strong, a key factor on the team,” Beaird said. “We returned a lot of starters on that side of the ball. And we’re a lot younger on our offensive side, so our offense struggles a little bit more, but I think our defense really does keep us in the games a lot of times.”
Beaird, the Rebels’ starting strong safety, deserves a lot of the credit. He leads the team in tackles (29 solo, 15 assisted) and interceptions (two, returned for 88 yards) and has added five stops for loss.
“I’m mostly happy with how I’ve played,” he said. “I have a lot of tackles, a couple of interceptions, but I’m always trying to get better. [I want to] get better at open-field tackling, that sort of thing.”
A leader off the field
Beaird stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 180 pounds. He said he’s not being recruited for football, and seems okay with that.
“I’m probably not [going to play in college,]” he said this week. “My dad encouraged me to walk on somewhere, but I don’t know. It’s most likely not [happening.]”
Ask him about his extracurricular activities, and he’ll tell you that he works at a grocery store, helped start an Ultimate Frisbee team at school and plays basketball for fun.
But there’s a whole lot more to Beaird than that. Fortunately others do his bragging for him.
Beaird is on the verge of becoming an Eagle Scout, a rank that only about six percent of Boy Scouts earn, according to BSA data from 2014. To get there, a Scout must lead an Eagle Project, one he plans and chooses.
For his, Beaird is working with the Williamson County Heritage Foundation to install informational markers and improve the condition of the historic McGavock family and slave cemeteries. Those markers will tell the history of the cemeteries and the land, located at 826 Highgrove Circle in the River Landing neighborhood.
An unveiling of the markers comes on Oct. 6, where a descendent of the McGavock family will speak. The public is welcome to attend.
The Franklin star spent his summer on a three-week humanitarian trip to Mozambique during the only break in his football schedule. He saved money to go, and helped build an elementary school while there.
Church is important to Beaird. Every morning at 6, before school, he attends a scripture study.
On top of it all, Beaird reports for work at 6 every Saturday morning at Gordon’s Food Service following long nights of playing football.
As for college, Beaird’s looking at BYU, Utah, Auburn and Michigan, and is considering engineering or “something in the medical field” for majors. He carries a 4.5 GPA.
Franklin coach Donnie Webb certainly appreciates all Beaird has brought to the team.
“Chapman is true student-athlete,” Webb said. “He is a great student in the classroom and he has made himself into a really good high school football player. Chapman is a quiet leader that leads by example. He is committed and accountable. Chapman does a great job of listening to his position coach [defensive coordinator Andrew Holcomb] and he trusts coach Holcomb’s advice. He knows his limitations as an athlete and makes up for that by being at the right place at the right time. This comes from practicing as a winner and watching film as a winner.
“We are extremely proud of how much Chapman has grown as a football player, but we are also so very proud of watching him mature into a great young man.”