BV coaches remember a 'tremendous athlete'
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Bureau Valley coaches remember Alex Franklin for his athletic abilities when he suited up for the Storm teams.
Franklin, a 2010 graduate of BV, fell victim of a fatal shooting on Thursday, July 11, outside of his apartment complex in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 27.
According to a release by the Colorado Springs Police Department, officers responded to a call of a shooting, and found a male suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The male, who was later identified as Franklin, was transported to a local medical facility, where he died.
The release states the El Paso County Coroner is conducting an examination to make the final determination of the cause and manner of death, adding that the case is being actively investigated as a homicide.
No arrests have been announced and no suspect information has been released.
Franklin played basketball and football on and off for Bureau Valley and was a state track qualifier as a freshman and sophomore.
“He was a heckuva an athlete,” longtime Bureau Valley assistant coach Craig Johnson said.
Jeff Ohlson, former Bureau Valley football coach and athletic director, now at Princeton, said Franklin "was a very good athlete, one of the best I've seen."
Ohlson acknowledged Franklin had some personal struggles in his life that prevented him from reaching his full potential.
"He had some struggles, but he was a good kid, a polite kid and respectful to all the coaches. He worked hard. I remember he showed up every day at practice, worked hard and battled," Ohlson said.
"It's hard telling how far he could have gone."
While he didn’t play on the Storm’s Big Rivers Conference champions/state quarterfinalist as a junior in 2008, Franklin was a key piece on their playoff team his senior season as a running back and defensive back.
Ohlson said Franklin started for the first time in week 8 in 2009, leading the Storm to a 34-6 win over Sterling Newman. He scored three touchdowns, including an exciting interception return, criss-crossing the field.
"(Newman coach) Mike Papoccia asked me after the game, 'Where did he come from? We didn’t see him on any films,'" Ohlson said.
Franklin scored on a recovery of a blocked punt made by teammate Michael Weidner in the Storm’s last-minute 22-19 first-round playoff loss at Aledo Mercer County.
He took part in Bureau Valley football’s 100th win on Sept. 5, 2009, scoring on a 61-yard first-quarter reception to give the Storm a 14-6 lead on their way to a 53-12 win over River Valley.
Franklin was the Storm’s top scorer in basketball for a 20-8 Storm squad as a junior, averaging 13.8 ppg, but did not finish out his senior season.
"When Alex played at a high level, we were pretty good and he took us to another level," said former BV coach Brad Bickett, whose wife, Jolene, is related to Franklin. "He worked really hard. He was a dynamic offensive player and made himself a good defensive player."
Services for Franklin, a father of a son, Leo, will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 20, at the Grant-Johnson Funeral Home in Princeton. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.