Royce Freeman’s touchdowns are as common as July’s 110-degree days in the Great Imperial Valley.
The 6-foot, 1-inch, 215-pound junior continued to make history this season at Imperial High, whose football lineage dates to 1942 and whose list of graduates goes all the way back to 1908.
Freeman led the Tigers to a 9-3 record and won the San Diego Section scoring championship for the second consecutive season, with 36 touchdowns and a total of 220 points in 12 games.
Freeman scored 39 touchdowns and had a total of 240 points in a 9-3 campaign in 2011.
His career total of 76 touchdowns and 462 career points ranks Freeman seventh in San Diego Section history. He passed Helix’ Reggie Bush (450) this season and needs 236 points in 2013 to better the career record of 697 set by Mission Bay’s Dillon Baxter in 2009.
IN COMPANY WITH THOMAS, ARNAIZ
Upon graduation in June, 2014, Royce will join the two other most prominent athletic alumni of Imperial High.
Linebacker Robert Thomas, who played collegiately at UCLA, was a No. 1 selection of the St. Louis Rams and the 31th player in the 2002 NFL draft.
Robert Thomas played seven seasons for four teams and is the younger brother of Stan Thomas, who attended El Centro Central and played tackle at Texas before the Chicago Bears’ drafted him with the 22nd selection in the 1991 draft.
Jim Arnaiz was a four-sport standout (football, basketball, track–shot put and sprints–and baseball) before attending California Poly-Pomona and embarking on a legendary coaching career.
Arnaiz is one of the most honored coaches in San Diego Section history, having guided Helix to four San Diego Section championships and posting a career record of 212 victories, 77 losses, and 6 ties.
Madison’s Pierre Cormier was runner-up to Freeman in Divisions I to IV with 29 touchdowns and 176 points in 14 games. Oceanside’s William Gulley was third with 158 points, followed by Eastlake’s Aaron Baltazar, the leading D-1 scorer with 128 points.
USUAL D-5 SCORING
The smaller schools produced their annual complement of blockbuster scorers. Justin Harrison of Calvin Christian had 192 points, followed by Ben Giese of Tri-City Christian (178), Serge Burmeister, La Jolla Country Day, 168; Willie Wilson, Mountain Empire, 140, and Bulla Graft, The Bishop’s 138.