By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Since he was a sophomore, Chad Freeman has been the starting quarterback for the Del Norte High varsity football team and has been a key part of the Warriors' success.
Even in his first year, Freeman, now a senior, said he was focused, knowing that as the quarterback he had to lead by example and work together as a team to succeed. Although he was a sophomore, he knew he had to step up and be a leader.
"I just stepped in and did my job," he said.
Head coach Lewis Nova said he is impressed with Freeman's presence on the field.
Nova said Freeman has the ability to make adjustments on the field if he sees something in the defense that makes him change the play. He also remains calm under pressure, which is a vital trait in a signal caller.
"He has grown as a senior," Nova said "He's running the offense very well."
All three years with Freeman at quarterback, Del Norte has won the Big 5 Conference title.
This season, the Warriors are 9-0 overall, as they await word on their seed and who they will play in the North Coast Section Redwood division playoffs, which is set to begin on Nov. 16.
Del Norte will find out where they will play on Sunday.
"We've played well as a team this season," Freeman said, adding the squad is looking forward to the playoffs and hopes to do even better than they did last year when they won two playoff games.
For the year, Freeman has thrown for more than 1,000 yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also can run the ball well and has scrambled for seven rushing touchdowns.
Highlights include a monster game against rival Eureka on the road on Oct. 13. In that ballgame, Freeman threw for three touchdowns and ran the ball in for a score. He finished 14-for-19 for 200 yards in the 40-14 win. Against Fortuna on Oct. 20, Freeman threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, including one for 67-yards in the 50-6 win.
Freeman said that while he loves being the quarterback, he said it is all about being part of a team and working together for a common goalto win.
Freeman said he's just one component on the team and he knows it takes everyone working together to be successful.
He said he understands that a good passing game can't work without the offensive line giving him time to make a throw, the wide receivers making the correct read and the running backs being able to break free and stretch a defense.
"We're a family out there," Freeman said. "Every person looks to each other. We're a team."
Nova said Freeman is a player "that leads by example" and always gives it everything he's got.
This includes weightlifting in the offseason to get ready for the season, and always going the extra mile in practices to make sure he's ready on game day.
"He shows them what it takes to be a success," Nova said.
"I like to lead by example," Freeman said.
Senior tight end Saxon Schultz said it's been a memorable experience having Freeman at quarterback and said his desire and knowledge of the game and his leadership skills is something he and his fellow teammates admire and respect.
"He doesn't make many mistakes," Schultz said. "He knows what to do on the field."
Freeman said he loves playing quarterback and enjoys the responsibility that goes with the position.
He said as the quarterback, many times there is little margin for error, where a right play can win the game and the wrong play, such as an interceptioncould lose the game.
"I really enjoy playing with the pressure," he said. "I don't think about stuff. I just go out and perform."
After his high school career finishes, Freeman hopes to continue his playing career in college.
Freeman said he has already received letters of interest from colleges from Division one to Division three levels.
He said he's still formulating all of his options and hopes to continue to play quarterback on the collegiate level.
If he does not gain a football scholarship, Freeman said he plans to tryout as a walk on wherever he goes.
Freeman said the realization that this is his senior year really hit during the team's last regular season game last week against McKinleyville and with the playoffs coming up.
"Each game could be my last one," he said. "I don't want it to end, so we just have to keep on winning."