Francis Leads Five Selections to the Roanoke Times All-State Team
ROANOKE, Va. - Senior defensive tackle Joel Francis was named the state's College Division Defensive Player of the Year and paced five total selections from the Bridgewater Eagles football team on the Roanoke Times All-State team announced on Sunday.
Francis was joined on the first team by senior center Shawn Otte, while fellow defensive tackle Danny Grogg, junior linebacker Andrew Palmer and sophomore defensive back Darrick Gore were each tabbed to the second team.
For Francis, the recognition comes on the heels of his selection by the Richmond Times Dispatch and Richmond Touchdown Club as the state's top defensive lineman.
Most recently, Francis earned a spot of the D3Football.com South Region team, becoming the first All-Region defensive choice for the Eagles since Dominic Jeter's third team selection in 2010.
Francis was also named the Lou Wacker Defensive Player of the Year by the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and also picked up first team all-conference accolades.
Francis turned in a stellar senior season for the Bridgewater Eagles football team cracking the top five in the ODAC in sacks and tackles for a loss. Francis ranked in a tie for fifth in the league in sacks among defensive linemen with 4.5 and led the conference in tackles for a loss among defensive linemen with 12.5.
Overall, the Woodbridge, Va. native finished in a tie for sixth in the league in sacks and was ranked third in tackles for a loss. Francis also forced one fumble on the season and accounted for a score with a safety in Bridgewater's season opening victory at St. Vincent.
On the year, Francis amassed 55 tackles which led the league among defensive linemen and ranked him in a tie for 23rd in the league overall.
Francis ranks sixth in program history in tackles for a loss with 33.5 and is seventh all-time in sacks with 12.5.
Grogg was a disruptive force with Francis in the middle of Bridgewater's four-man front. The Harrisonburg, Va. native posted 43 tackles on the year and also recorded 2.5 sacks, which ranked him 16th in the league. Grogg started in all 10 games for the Eagles on the year and also posted one fumble recovery to go along with one blocked kick and was named the ODAC Defensive Player of the Week following the Shenandoah game.
Palmer was Bridgewater's statistical leader in the linebacking corps. The Penn Laird, Va. native ranked eighth in the ODAC in total tackles with 84, while ranking seventh in tackle assists with 48. On the year, Palmer recorded 1.5 sacks and six tackles for a loss. Palmer also intercepted two passes, with one in the season opener at St. Vincent and the other coming in Bridgewater's non-conference finale at the Apprentice School.
Gore was brilliant all season long in Bridgewater's new-look defensive umbrella. The sophomore started in all 10 games and led the secondary in tackles with 50 on the year. Gore broke up three passes on the year and also recorded one interception in Bridgewater's five-interception performance in the season finale at Catholic. The Petersburg, Va. native also posted eight tackles for a loss on the year.
Otte made 10 consecutive starts and saw time in 679 plays. The senior surrendered one sack and was named to the All-ODAC list for the second season in a row after a third-team selection in 2011.
Francis, Grogg, Palmer, Otte, Gore and the rest of the Eagles finished the 2012 season with a 7-3 overall record.