LINCOLNTON, Ga. - The desire started years ago for Jametrus Freeman.
Each Friday night as a youngster, Freeman would leave his Harlem home and spend the weekend with his aunt and uncle, Phyllis and Bennie Wright, and watch Lincoln County football games with his relatives at Buddy Bufford Stadium.
He dreamed of suiting up in Lincoln County's red and white uniform and playing in front of capacity crowds. But he thought he never would get that chance since his mother and stepfather were in the military, and the family lived in Harlem.
"Ever since I was little, I wanted to play football here," Freeman said of Lincoln County, which plays host to Metter in the state quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Buddy Bufford Stadium. "The tradition they have here and how they play and stuff, I wanted to be a part of that."
Freeman's mother learned she would be transferred to Texas after his eighth-grade year. Since he didn't want to move to Texas, Freeman moved in with his father in Lincolnton and went out for football as a freshman.
He played behind University of Georgia signee Shedrick Wynn at defensive end during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Wynn graduated in 1999, and Freeman took over. He's been one of the team's strengths since.
"His play has been very consistent," said Lincoln County defensive ends coach Mark Hill. "He pretty much stays on an even keel, really improved on his leadership and has become a solid player. His pass rush has improved a lot, and that's probably where he's improved the most.
"He hasn't missed any time with injuries this season and pretty much every day, you can depend on him to be here."
Freeman's grandmother has a nickname for almost all of her grandsons. She nicknamed his cousin, Exavier Wright, "Potato Chip" as a youngster because of his craving for potato chips. Wright was the Red Devils' running back last season and was a first-team all-area selection by The Augusta Chronicle.
Freeman said his grandmother nicknamed him "Meat" because "she said I used to like to eat meat all the time when I was little."
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com