After a long day at school, football practice and tutoring, Dondre Lewis-Freeman doesn't rest when he gets home.
The Hopewell running back has been spending anywhere from three to four hours a day studying opponents' film on his own and with his father. That may be a contributing factor to the senior's continued success this season.
"I've been learning defenses and I'm picking it up pretty quickly," he said. "It's starting to pay off now."
Lewis-Freeman, who was named all-conference last season, has already rushed for 577 yards, averaging more than 115 yards per game.
He's recorded two 100-plus yard games, running for 206 and 165 yards against Myers Park and Harding respectively. Lewis-Freeman has scored seven touchdowns for Hopewell so far this year, including two scores last week that helped Hopewell win its first game against West Charlotte.
But Lewis-Freeman, who rushed for 1,146 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, still isn't happy with his numbers.
"I'm doing OK, but it's not to the point where I want to be," he said.
"My goal for this season is getting 200 yards each game. I want to hit the 2,000 mark this year."
Hopewell coach Chris Rust said he's glad Lewis-Freeman has set high goals for himself, even if he doesn't reach them.
"I'm glad he wants to think that way, because I would take 200 yards every game from him and not think twice about it," said Rust.
Lewis-Freeman's hefty goals aren't limited to himself, as he expects his Titans to be a legitimate contender alongside Mallard Creek for the I-Meck title.
"If we keep up the momentum in practice and through our games, I think we have a good chance of winning conference this year," he said.
Rust said that although he also wants his team to be crowned conference champs in November, he'd rather have his team focus on winning each game and not the end result.
"I think this conference is very strong up-and-down, so we can't look past anybody," he said.
Lewis-Freeman is unpredictable and versatile on the field, being able to not only beat opponents with his speed but also being able to take over as a power back.
Rust said Lewis-Freeman has been so successful the last two seasons because of the hard work he's put in the weight room and during practice to get better as well as his athleticism.
"He makes some moves that other backs just can't make," said Rust.
But Lewis-Freeman knows he's not doing it all by himself.
The 5-foot-7, 185 pounder attributes his success to the Titans' big and talented offensive line, whose smallest player is 220 pounds.
He explained that he's also learned to read the holes the O-line is creating for him and making better decisions of where to take the football.
Lewis-Freeman said he's also had a lot of help from fullback Denzel Heath, who not only has done a good job of blocking for him, but also takes some of the pressure off his running mate.
"I get in and bust out with my speed, and Denzel can pound it, so defenses really don't know how to stop us and we can wear them down," said Lewis-Freeman. "He's a team player and isn't selfish with the ball, and he's said, 'I'd rather block for you than take the ball.' That puts a smile on my face because I know I have a great teammate."
Heath is averaging more than 50 yards per game, running for 112 yards against West Charlotte, and has scored four touchdowns this year.
The running game has been crucial for the Titans, as quarterback Cole Blythe has struggled at times to get the passing game off the ground.
Hopewell only had 262 passing yards going into the West Charlotte game, compared to nearly 900 rushing yards. Blythe had a good game Friday, passing for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-16 passing.
Lewis-Freeman knows the team will have to keep improving if he's going to attain his goals.
"We have some tweaks we need to fix," he said. "If we do, it should be a good battle between us and Mallard Creek down the road."