On September 2nd, Many High School won its season-opener over Oakdale and two days later, senior lineman Tyler Burkett was enjoying his Sunday by flying a kite in the swift breeze provided by Tropical Storm Lee.
"It was a windy day and the time to do it if you were going to fly a kite," said Many head coach Jess Curtis.
Tyler's kite got entanged with power lines and he was electrocuted and rushed to the hospital, where he tragically passed away.
"I got a call from the Sheriff's Department," recalled an emotional Curtis. "They tried to work on Tyler at the hospital. Every kid on our team came up there, from freshmen to seniors. I hugged his dad and told him I was sorry. I asked him to look outside the window so he could see all of Tyler's teammates.
"They loved him and he felt the same way about them. His dad went outside the room and addressed the players. He told them that Tyler absolutely loved being out there with them on the field."
Burkett was part of a close-knit group of seniors that includes safety Landon Fredieu.
"Tyler was a vocal leader who shined for us on special teams," said Curtis. "During the grueling summer workouts, he would push the other players and tell them they had to prepare for the fourth quarter. He was always saying, 'Go hard or go home!'
"Tyler ran cross-country, which was unusual for a lineman. He enjoyed running, so he would push Landon and the rest of the guys, and that's all they talk about now. The fourth quarter has become our best quarter all year. The guys all wear bracelets with Tyler's name and number on them; his name is painted on our field, and we have his number on our helmets.
"The kids won't forget. He lives with us and we will carry him along with us."
Last Friday, Many stayed perfect on the year by edging Loyola Prep, 28-24.