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September 5, 2013MORGANTON - In a game of former conference rivals(2009-2012), Burns (2-0)travels to Freedom (2-0) Friday night to face the Patriots in a early season showdown.
Burns and Freedom are very familiar with each other, being conference opponents in the South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A for the past four seasons. The Bulldogs went 4-0 against Freedom in conference games, winning three SMAC championships in a row, however the Patriots eliminated Burns from the playoffs last year in a third round match-up in overtime.
Freedom looks to have a solid offense, with junior QB Titus Smith, senior RB/WR Khris Gardin (Burke County's All-Time receiving yards leader with 1,712 yards) and senior RB Chris Bridges, who ran for 400 yards and six scores in 2012. The Patriots will have a strong ground game, but the Bulldog defense won't be able to focus on just stopping the run, as first year Patriot Head Coach Blair Hardin will mix it up with a very good QB throwing the ball, who completed his first five passes for 191 yards and three scores last week. Freedom has also been very tough defensively so far in 2013, giving up only six points during the first two weeks of the season.
Burns will look to counter with senior QB Chris Montgomery, senior RB Tylan Ruff and senior WR Jaylin Hill. Montgomery and Ruff have combined for six offensive scores this season, five on the ground and one passing. The Bulldogs will also have a strong defensive line that includes NCPreps Pre-Season All-State 3A team member Josh Ramsuer and SaDarius Byers. The Bulldogs will look to continue being stingy against the run as they haven't given up over 100 yards on the ground in either of their first two contest of 2013.
Burns defeated Hunter Huss 51-12 powered by senior RB Tylan Ruff's 15 carries for 176 yards.
Freedom defeated county rival Draughn 47-6 with QB Titus Smith's 200 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Recent History of the rivalry
2009: Burns 49 - Freedom 35 (Conference Game)
2010: Burns 35 - Freedom 20 (Conference Game)
2011: Burns 27 - Freedom 26 (Conference Game)
2012: Burns 31 - Freedom 21 (Conference Game)
2013: Freedom 19 - Burns 18 (NCHSAA 3A 3rd Round Playoff Game)
Battle to keep and eye on
Burns defensive line versus the Patriots offensive line
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