Hometown Heroes: Franklin Lions

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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- Franklin aims to compete for a district title and return to the playoffs once again in 2017. Mike Hedrick welcomes back five starters on offense and four more on defense as he enters his 41st season as a head football coach.

The Lion Slot T attack will lean heavily on tackle Casey Phillips. The Baylor commit will help pave the way for the ground game at left tackle, but is one of only two returning starters on the line, along with center Dalton Watkins. Clayton Rosprim and Avery Archibald will be among the many Franklin backs to carry the football. Junior Colton Ortner will step in at quarterback this season, replacing Abilene Christian-bound Thomas Box.

The defense will return a pair of starters, Will Fannin and Nick Lopez, at linebacker and two more, Dalton Dixon and Rashawn Green, in the secondary. Hedrick feels like his team will need to be strong up front. “We will have to improve on the offensive and defensive line. If the offensive line matures we can be fairly good,” Hedrick said.

The Lions face the same strong schedule they handled well a year ago, opening with four straight 4A teams that made the playoffs in 2016. District 10-3A Division I will be no cakewalk again either, as matchups with Troy, Cameron Yoe, McGregor, and Rockdale will likely determine the Lions playoff fate.