Freedom rising senior quarterback Jayden Birchfield has been named the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference preseason player of the year according to recent voting by 16 media members who cover the conference.
Meanwhile, his Patriots have been picked to finish second behind defending champion Watauga in the NWC preseason media poll.
Birchfield, a Navy verbal commit, received eight votes for player of the year. Watauga quarterback Anderson Castle was second with five votes, and Watauga running back Bryce Satterfield (two) and Hickory running back Cody Young (one) split the remaining votes.
Birchfield was NWC offensive player of the year as well as repeating as Burke County co-player of the year last fall when he completed 174 of 279 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,780 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also rushed 90 times for 422 yards and 15 TDs, leading the county in both passing and rushing scores and setting a new county record for total TDs in a season.
In addition, Birchfield established new county career records for passing yardage (6,023) and total offensive yardage (6,795).
In team voting, Watauga gained eight first-place votes (and 102 total points) to Freedom’s five (96) and third-place Alexander Central’s three (89). Those teams were followed in order in the poll by Hickory (60), St. Stephens (39), South Caldwell (36) and McDowell (27).
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