Freddy Edwards didn’t rest following a freshman season in which he nearly led Granite City to the Class 7A football playoffs.
Instead, the three-sport athlete went back to work with Warriors quarterback coach Brad Hasquin.
“When I came into high school last year, I knew how to throw the football, but my form was just terrible. He (Hasquin) coached me up on that,” Edwards said. “Last year, he told me I should come in early with our quarterback, Kendrick Williba, and learn because with him being a senior, after he left it was going to be my job.
“This summer I spent a lot of time learning. I watched a lot of film and worked on the things I needed to improve on. I got smarter, and I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
Edwards personally accounted for more than 1,700 yards of total offense and 23 touchdowns for a Warriors team that finished 4-5. In the Warriors’ season opener Friday against Jerseyville, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound sophomore rushed for 247 yards and four touchdowns while throwing a pair of scoring passes in a 52-41 victory.
Inserted at quarterback after Williba went down with an injury three weeks into the 2016 season, Edwards has now made just seven starts under center. In those seven starts, Granite City has scored 27 or more points four times.
After I broke my ankle a couple of years later, I realized that this is what I want. I decided to do what I needed to in order to make myself bigger, faster and stronger.
Freddy Edwards, Granite City quarterback
“Freddy has improved as a quarterback in regards to reading his progressions in the passing game,” Granite City head coach Carl Luehmann said. “He just has a better understanding of being a quarterback and in knowing what his offensive linemen are going to do and the routes that the receivers are running.
“He’s in control of the offense this year.”
The Belleville News-Democrat Athlete of the Week, Edwards scored on runs of 38 and 53 yards in the first half, as the Warriors (1-0) scored 40 first-half points against the Panthers. He then added runs of three yards and five yards to go along with scoring passes of 68 yards to Eugene Williba and two yards to Brennan Haddix.
Edwards completed 5 of 7 passes for 119 yards in the game.
“To me, it was mostly the work of our offensive line, which gave us a chance to move the ball down the field, and the defense for holding them (Jerseyville) and getting our offense back on the field,” Edwards said. “The defense made some key stops, and on offense, we were able to move the football and make big plays.”
Edwards began playing football in the Granite City Parks District a few years ago. It was only when he was forced to sit out a season with a broken ankle that he realized how much he loved the game.
“I’ve been playing football since I was eight,” he said. “After I broke my ankle a couple of years later, I realized that this is what I want. I decided to do what I needed to in order to make myself bigger, faster and stronger.”
Edwards also plays basketball and baseball. Each sport, he says, helps him with the others.
I believe the school board did what they thought was best and in the best interest of us (the students). I can live with it.
Freddy Edwards on Granite City leaving the Southwestern Conference
“Being a three-sport athlete isn’t a problem. The physical aspect of football carries over to the basketball court, and the eye-hand coordination needed to play baseball carries over to all sports,” he said. “Those things along with my work ethic, and what I’ve learned from all of my coaches in those sports ... all ties in to the athlete and person I am.
“Plus I hear that college coaches and scouts like multisport athletes.”
The Warriors will host Carbondale on Friday before hosting Belleville East in their Southwestern Conference opener Sept. 8.
“I believe the school board did what they thought was best and in the best interest of us (the students),” Edwards said of the decision. “I can live with it.”
The Warriors last qualified for the playoffs in the 2011 season, when they lost a first-round game to East St. Louis.