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MORGANTON — No. 1 seed Freedom took advantage of a wet, soggy night and forced seven turnovers to defeat No. 16 seed East Rowan 33-13 to advance into the second round of the NCHSAA 3A football state playoffs.
After fumbling the ball on its first drive, Freedom’s defense saved the Patriots by forcing East Rowan quarterback Samuel Wyrick to fumble the ball in the backfield. Junior linebacker Izzy Davis scooped up the ball and rumbled 47 yards for a quick 6-0 lead.
On the next Patriot possession, BJ Emmons shot straight through the line for a 99-yard touchdown dash.
Freedom went ahead 27-0 on consecutive short touchdown strikes from Titus Smith to Khris Gardin in the second quarter.
The Mustangs finally put points on the scoreboard on its first drive out of halftime with a 78-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 25-yard scoring strike from Samuel Wyrick to Seth Wyrick.
On the ensuing Freedom drive, Emmons found space once again, this time sprinting 65 yards for the score before East Rowan’s Samuel Wyrick threw his second scoring toss of the game to Max Wall for 17 yards.
For the Patriots, Emmons led the way with 224 rushing yards, 29 receiving and two scores. Smith threw for 55 yards along with his two touchdown tosses.
Senior defensive back Marcus Wakefield tallied three turnovers for the Patriots defense.
Samuel Wyrick threw for 93 yards and ran for 68. Max Hall finished with 84 rushing yards, 31 receiving yards and a score.
Freedom will take on Forestview in the second round after the Yellow Jackets defeated Carson 63-48 in a shootout.
East ended its season 4-8 in its debut year in the Southern Piedmont Conference.

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