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Herriman • This is a story about a punishing runner, humble team leader and a touchdown machine.
This is a story about one of the players who made Herriman a reputable program from the second the Mustangs took the field in 2010.
It's also a story its subject – Herriman senior Francis Bernard – may never see. That's because he isn't interested in reading about himself or his team. He believes doing so a year ago partly was to blame for a disastrous end to a once-promising season.
"At times, we look to the hype a lot," said Bernard, who plays running back and safety. "That's something we need to get rid of."
Instead, Bernard will do his reading on the field. Reading defenses as he runs past, over and through would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone. Reading opposing quarterbacks' eyes while adding to his interception total.
Bernard, who stands 6 foot 1 and weighs 210 pounds, has worn a path to the end zone over the past 2 1/2 seasons. His three-touchdown performance in last week's rout of Copper Hills was his 13th multi-touchdown game in 27 efforts. It was the 10th time that he had scored at least three times.
Of his 42 career offensive touchdowns, 11 have been for longer than 20 yards a statistic that illustrates Herriman coach Larry Wilson's assessment that Bernard is more than just a power back.
"He combines the speed and power part of the game, "Wilson said. "He can be a very physical runner if the situation requires it, but he also has speed and quickness. He makes some amazing cuts at times. He has darn good vision and very good balance.
"He works extremely hard in the offseason in the weight room and core development and speed. He doesn't rely on natural ability. He's going to develop that ability the best he can."
Bernard has combined with quarterback Tueni Lupeamanu (38 career TDs) to account for 65 percent of the Mustangs' 751 points.
"Francis and Tueni and a couple of the other kids gave us some legitimacy and credibility right off the bat," Wilson said. "From a sophomore level on, you could tell that they were special players."
Bernard's nose for the end zone has garnered attention from colleges in-state and beyond. He said he has received interest from BYU, Utah and Utah State, as well as Pac-12 schools Oregon State and Arizona.
Most see him as an "athlete" and aren't recruiting him as a running back or safety.
"Utah wants me to play some slot [receiver] and some safety," Bernard said. "But they just don't know yet. It depends on how my future goes and if I go on a mission or not."
But first, there's work to do with the Mustangs. After starting 5-0 a season ago, Herriman went 2-3 to close the regular season and was bounced in the opening round of its first playoff appearance.
This season, the high-scoring Mustangs (38.7 points per game) stand 3-1 entering their Region 7 opener Friday against Hillcrest.
This season, Bernard wants to ensure Herriman lives up to the hype instead of getting caught up in it.
"We are progressing, but at times we just … I don't know if we are reading our press clippings or if we think we have it all," he said. "We just need to remember where we came from and remember that we have to work for everything."
Herriman senior running back/safety Francis Bernard has scored 42 career offensive touchdowns in 27 games.
Bernard has scored nine TDs in four games this season, including a career-high four rushing scores against Orem in the season opener.
Bernard has received interest from Utah, BYU, Utah State, Oregon State and Arizona.