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Trinity Academy running back Tyler Burns is receiving major-college interest. “I like having the ball in my hands. Whatever move you make, they have to react off of you,” he said.

Trinity Academy running back Tyler Burns is receiving major-college interest. “I like having the ball in my hands. Whatever move you make, they have to react off of you,” he said. Fernando Salazar/ The Wichita Eagle | Buy this photo

Football 2014: Trinity Academy’s Tyler Burns gets back in gear

Published August 21 at 11 a.m. | Last updated August 16 at 10:05 p.m.

Tyler Burns isn’t afraid of working hard. He’s consistently pushing himself.

His toughest workouts, though, usually come with his father, Brad.

Burns, a senior running back and defensive back at Trinity Academy, admits that there are times when he would prefer to sit on the couch and be lazy. Especially since his dad likely wants to get in a weightlifting session even though Tyler worked out earlier in the day with his team.

But this is an athlete who will rise to a challenge. And when the challenge comes from his father, a former body builder? Well, there’s no way he stays on the couch.

“The part I don’t like is I’m always so sore after,” Burns said. “And he’s stronger than me in benching. He’ll be repping out 300 pounds, whatever. I can’t do that. I think I can get around 270, max-wise, but I haven’t maxed in a while.”

“I’m trying to push him along,” Brad Burns said of their workouts. “I don’t know if he’s pushing me or I’m pushing him, but it’s bonding time. And if I can help him get better or keep him from getting an injury, then it’s worth it.”

But if Tyler Burns (6-foot, 205 pounds) has some pain, he doesn’t want to stop.

“He doesn’t have a three-quarter-speed button,” said Brad Burns, a Trinity assistant. “If you’re feeling some pain, maybe you don’t lift quite as much. Maybe back off a bit. He doesn’t do that very well.”

In 2013, Burns was hobbled after he suffered high-ankle sprains in both legs.

The first injury occurred Oct. 4. Trinity opened 4-0, including wins over Cheney and Garden Plain, and Burns had 926 rushing yards.

But on his first carry against Conway Springs, Burns suffered an ankle injury.

“I was hurting, but I was playing through it,” said Burns, a 2012 All-Metro selection when he had 1,449 rushing yards. “The adrenaline, it made me think I could push myself through it.”

He returned in the second half and had a 47-yard touchdown run, but he could do little else. He missed Trinity’s game against Collegiate and then he hurt his other ankle against Augusta, finishing the season with 1,296 rushing yards.

“It was frustrating for him,” Trinity coach Jared McDaniel said. “He was not able to go out there and compete like he wants to. It wasn’t until probably Christmas break or after that, after resting and rehabbing, that he was ready to go. It slowed him down quite a bit.”

Burns, who was back in shape enough to win the Class 4A 100 meters and long jump in May, continued to battle through because that’s how he was taught.

“If there wasn’t a broken bone sticking out or blood all over the place, we didn’t run on the field (to check),” Brad Burns said.

There are times, though, when Brad Burns, as a parent, sees the hits on his son and wishes he would fall to the ground instead of looking for an extra half-yard.

Give him the ball and he uses his speed to outrace, while using his quick cuts to evade. He is patient in the backfield but he can create, whether he’s going outside or at the defense.

“A lot of coaches tell me they’re really impressed with how he can be going one direction and he can put that foot in the ground and totally change direction,” McDaniel said. “We do sprints in practice, and he has everyone beat by his first four steps. That’s how explosive he is.”

Air Force has made Burns a scholarship offer. He has visited Wyoming and Tulsa, and Kansas State has offered him a scholarship as part of the 2016 class, meaning he’d have to pay his own way for a semester.

But he’s not worried about his college future right now. He’s looking forward to the season starting.

“I like having the ball in my hands. Whatever move you make, they have to react off of you,” he said. “I’m a hard-nosed runner. I don’t give up easy.

“That’s how my family is. I don’t stop no matter how big or fast the guy is that I’m going against.”

Reach Joanna Chadwick at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @joannachadwick.