Freedom stymies South
The South Caldwell offense could never manage to find its rhythm, resulting in just six points and a 30-6 loss to Freedom on Friday night in Morganton.
“I thought we stood toe-to-toe with them early,” South head coach Butch Carter said. “When you play a team of that caliber, you can’t turn the ball over and you have to do the little things right. They (Freedom) are a great football team.”
The Patriots (7-1, 4-0 in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) took almost no time at all to get on the board. After returning the opening kickoff to the South 41 yard line, Freedom scored in just four plays on a 12-yard run by BJ Emmons. The PAT failed, leaving the Patriots lead at 6-0 just over one minute into the game.
South Caldwell (3-5, 1-3) put together a drive extending from late in the first quarter to early in the second. However, a fumble inside the Patriots’ 15 yard line gave Freedom the ball back.
After forcing a Freedom punt, the Spartans put together their best drive of the day, only to be stopped on fourth and goal at the Patriots’ 1 yard line. Four plays later, Chris Bridges broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run to give Freedom a 13-0 lead at the half.
On Freedom’s first possession of the second half, Titus Smith hit Khris Gardin on a wide receiver screen and Gardin ran 56 yards for the score to put the Patriots ahead, 20-0.
The Spartans finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter. After Andrew Lackey stripped Smith, Nick Mathews finished off a five-play, 28-yard drive with a touchdown run on a reverse from nine yards out.
Freedom quickly responded with a four-play, 57-yard drive, capped off by Bridges’ second touchdown run of the evening. This run came from 27 yards out to give the Patriots a 27-6 lead with 7:23 to play. Freedom closed out the scoring with a 30-yard field goal by McCartney Barrier.
“I just felt like we could never get in a rhythm with our run game or our passing game,” Carter said. “That’s a tribute to Freedom’s defense. They were in position to make plays all night.”
South Caldwell returns home next Friday to take on St. Stephens. Freedom will host the undefeated Hibriten Panthers.
FREEDOM 30, SOUTH CALDWELL 6
SOUTH CALDWELL^0 ^0 ^0 ^6 – 6
FREEDOM^6 ^7 ^7 ^10 – 30
F — BJ Emmons 12 run (McCartney Barrier kick failed), 10:59.
F — Chris Bridges 45 run (Barrier kick), 3:20.
F — Khris Gardin 56 pass from Titus Smith (Barrier kick), 5:56.
SC — Nick Mathews 9 run (Mathews kick failed), 9:17
F — Chris Bridges 27 run (Barrier kick), 7:23.
F — Barrier 30 field goal, 1:41.
RUSHING - South Caldwell: Gavin Reed 20-77, Nick Mathews 3-34, Mason Sides 6-27, Jonathan Almond 2-22, Adam Watson 5-16, Peter Lambert 2-5, Garrison Drum 1-0, Trevar Soles 9-(-13). Freedom: Chris Bridges 10-132, BJ Emmons 13-124, Titus Smith 4-(-16), Team 1-(-29).
PASSING - South Caldwell: Trevar Soles 4-9-1, 50 yards, Gavin Reed 0-1-0, 0 yards. Freedom: Titus Smith 4-12-0, 97 yards.
RECEIVING - South Caldwell: Nick Mathews 2-29, Garrison Drum 2-21. Freedom: Khris Gardin 2-79, Josh Ray 2-18.