Onnly One No. 81: Denison may have been seeing multiples after Friday

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 18, 2007 - There was only one player wearing No. 81 for the Wildcats on Friday night. It just seemed like there were more.

SSHS senior defensive end Tyler Francis had a dominating performance against Denison with 15 tackles, three of them for losses including a tackle of the punter, three sacks and a blocked punt.

Wildcat head coach Greg Owens said he could see a game like that coming for Francis because of his hard work mixed with his size (6-4, 225) and athletic ability.

"When I first got here last year, I visited with him and his parents, looking at his athletic ability and the things he needed to work on to play college ball. And, he's really worked on it," Owens said. "His lateral movement and flexibility have improved, and he's turned out to be a heck of a football player.

"Friday night was a phenomenal game for any kid, especially a defensive lineman. He made some huge plays. I'm excited about kids like that who are vested in what we're selling here, working their tails off and seeing them getting their rewards."

In the summer, he was a regular at The Edge and ended up bench pressing 300 pounds and clean lifting 280, an improvement over last year when he was a Second Team All-District selection.

His goal for this year is to make First Team All-District and register 10 sacks. He is on his way with three sacks and five tackles for losses this season. He is tied for third on the team in total tackles with 21.

Francis is reluctant, though, to talk about personal goals.

"I just try to do my part, do my assignment. If you do that and everybody does that, you get rolling as a team," he said. "When you have goals as a group, you can make great things happen.

"I want to be the best that I can at my position, work hard and help the team."

While he causes chaos for the opposition, some of his favorite off-the-field activities are much more tranquil: hunting and fishing.

"I like to go out there where it's peaceful and just relax," said Tyler, the son of Richard and Janeen Francis. "I usually go sand bass fishing with my dad."

Owens said Francis, who is good friends with middle linebacker Josh Dunn, are similar in their values and lifestyle.

"They enjoy life, they enjoy football, they enjoy everything," the coach said. "Tyler is a great, hard-working, big kid. He's really kind of quiet.

"He's another kid that you don't have to worry about outside of here. He's going to be doing right - his mom and dad are going to make sure of that."

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