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Cameron Smith

Unheralded QB ties Texas record with eight TDs in playoff win

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Boerne Champion (Texas) High quarterback John Free picked an incredible time to have a career game on Friday. The relatively unheralded senior starter led the Chargers to an impressive regular season, then found an even better way forward in the third round of the playoffs, tossing a state-record eight touchdown passes en route to a 66-42 win over Port Lavaca Calhoun (Texas) High.

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Free, who only received statewide attention once earlier in the season -- he received the Class 4 Built Ford Tough Player of the Week award after torching Medina Valley (Texas) High for a combined 439 yards and five touchdowns earlier this year -- was nearly unstoppable against Calhoun, completing 25-of-30 passes for 565 yards at San Antonio's Alamodome. The win moved 12-1 Champion into the state quarterfinals, where the Chargers will face Corpus Christi Calallen on Friday.

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"We came out and tried to do what we always do," Free told the San Antonio Express-News. "The offensive line gave me all the time I needed. The receivers were getting open. It felt great."

In fact, Free, who entered averaging 204 yards and two passing touchdowns per game, was even better than his eight-touchdown passing line indicates. The quarterback also scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, all part of a huge first half in which he passed for two touchdowns in the final two minutes before the break, giving the Chargers a 42-28 lead they'd need to hold on for a huge playoff victory.

All that followed an ominous 75-yard touchdown pass on the game's second play from Free to wide receiver Garrett Overley. Free also completed scoring passes to Cody Mallory (three), David Massey (two), Blake Allemand and Alec Aldaco.

"[Free] has done well for us all year," Boerne Champion coach Danny Threadgill told the Express-News. "He finds ways to make plays. This time he happened to do it in a bigger venue."

After that performance, something tells us Calallen will expend plenty of effort trying to make sure Free isn't able to find quite as many ways to make plays, all with a state semifinal berth on the line.

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