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TCS’ Woods is making his own name


Tuscaloosa Christian's Freedom Woods, center, leads the Warriors in rushing and kick returns. (Photo by Stewart Gwin )


As of right now, Tuscaloosa Christian running back Freedom Woods may be fielding more questions about his name than what follows his name in the Saturday morning yardstick.

"My grandfather was friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and everything, and I think my name came from him," Woods said. "He gave my name to my dad and my dad gave his name to me."

Starting soon, Woods will be asked more about his football skills. He leads the Warriors — who host Flint Hill Christian on Friday in the Christian Football Association semifinals — in rushing and kick return yards.

"He’s been a great kid to coach," Tuscaloosa Christian coach Hunter Christian said. "He’s been hard-working, done everything I’ve asked him to do. One of those players that’s gotten better every week."

Woods has been a big playmaker for the Warriors, taking only 34 percent of the carries and accounting for almost half of the Warriors’ rushing yards with 776.

"When he’s in there, we can move the ball well," Christian said. "He’s gotten better every week. Every week we play, I feel more confident in getting the ball to him."

Woods showed his playmaking abilities in the Warriors’ regular season-ending 44-21 win over Victory Christian.

"Our first play from scrimmage, we ran him right up the gut for (53) yards and a touchdown," Christian said. "Every time he touches the ball, he can make a big play."

Woods added, "I just try to do my best and follow my blocks and do what I can do to make my team win."

Woods also scored on a 70-yard kick return last week to give the Warriors a 21-6 lead in the first quarter.

Woods has more value to Tuscaloosa Christian’s offense than his raw production. He requires the full attention of the opponent’s premier defensive player, opening holes for players such as Caleb Waddell (who has 365 all-purpose yards) and Andrew Mason (455).

"He really opens up a part of the offensive scheme that the other team has trouble covering him and our other weapons," Christian said. "When he is in the game, they have to put their best players on him. When he’s in the game, we can move the ball well."

Woods loves the challenge of facing the best every opponent has to offer.

"You have to be tough, real tough," Woods said. "That’s the only way to put it, you have to be tough. You can’t be scared of what the defense is throwing at you.

"Because every week is a big challenge. Every week is a big change and it gets you better and better."

As the playoffs come and every game gets increasingly more intense, Woods does not feel obligated to put up big numbers himself. He has another theory on playoff success.

"I think you have to work harder," he said. "If we want to go to the championship game, we have to work hard and we have to do our best.

"I’m going to work very hard these two weeks and preparing for the championship, and I’m going to do the best I can."