Homewood Slays Bucks For 5A Title

Homewood ran around, over and through Buckhorn on the way to the 5A title Friday night at Legion Field.

Birmingham, Ala.—-Homewood running back Steve Freeman wasn't the most widely known of the Patriots' offensive weapons coming into Friday night's 5A State Championship game, but his performance against Buckhorn may have proved him to be the most valuable.

Carrying the ball just nine times on the night, Freeman gained 194 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Patriots bombed Buckhorn 45-13 to win their sixth state title and fourth since 2000. The rushing total breaks the 5A record previously held by Maurice McCullough (180) of Russellville in 2003. His four rushing touchdowns is also a record with former Patriot Parker Gargis holding the previous record with three.

In a game that was over almost before it began, Freeman was the show of shows on a night when Homewood had stars all over the field. On the game's first drive it was the combination of Austin Hubbard and Tim Hawthorne that put the Patriots in business. On a drive starting at its own 38-yard line, the Patriots used 10 plays before a Hubbard pass to Will Cole from eight yards out put them on the board. On the drive Hawthorne had two of his five first half catches, but it was just the start of things for the Patriots.

Hawthorne had a solid night in his final game wearing a Homewood uniform.

Following a three and out by the Bucks, Homewood took over again on offense and it took just four plays to cover 66 yards for the touchdown. The bulk of the damage came from the legs of Freeman, who broke a 47-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 Patriots with 3:22 left in the first half.

Buckhorn got on the board just seconds into the second quarter following a 50-yard drive. The score came on a Lydarius Friend 35-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Blake East. On the play Friend cut in front of a Homewood defender and snatched the ball away before walking into the endzone. A missed extra-point though was a sign of things to come for Buckhorn.

Following a Tyler Robbins 31-yard kickoff return to the Buckhorn 49, it took only four plays for the Patriots to get in the endzone with Freeman again doing the damage. After a Hubbard pass to Hawthorne for 38 yards put the ball inside the Buckhorn 10-yard line, Freeman raced into the endzone from six yards out to make it 21-6 Homewood.

Auburn baseball signee Austin Hubbard finished the night 12-16 for 170 yards and two passing touchdowns, all coming in the first half.

Another three and out by Buckhorn set the stage for the rout by Homewood as the Patriots scored on five plays from 56 yards in just 1:34. The scoring play came on a 15-yard Hubbard pass to Hawthorne in which he took the ball away from three defenders before stepping into the endzone. If it wasn't certain before, the rout was definitely on.

Freeman would add a 36-yard touchdown run late in the first half and the Patriots tacked on a field goal to make it 38-6 at the break. The 5-9 senior running back picked up where he left off the open the second half as he broke the first play from scrimmage 72 yards for his fourth touchdown of the night. The play made it 45-6 Patriots and Coach Bob Newton emptied the bench for the remainder of the contest as Homewood won going away.

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