Craddock Plays Major Role in Defensive Battle

HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Although the final score wouldn't suggest so, Monday night's cross county battle between High Point (N.C.) Southwest Guilford and Greensboro (N.C.) Southeast Guilford was a defensive slugfest in which Southwest eventually exited with a 20-7 victory.

"They're a physical team," said Albert Craddock, Southwest's starting middle linebacker and fullback. "They fly to the ball, they hit hard – they just play physical. I think the difference was, we matched their intensity and played more physical at the end. They started to get a little timid when the score changed."

At half time, the game was deadlocked in a 0-0 tie, but finally opened up when Craddock, a 6-foot-2 200-pounder, scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge.

"[The call] was 44-boot – it was a lead [run]," said Craddock, who sports the number 44 jersey. "I was just thinking end zone."

Craddock ended the night with 61 yards on 17 carries (3.6-yard average).

Things then reverted back to the defensive chess match until Craddock intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.

"I just saw a man wide open," said Craddock. "Everything going throw my head was go make the play; if you get this, game over."

With the assistance of a Craddock lead block, the turnover was eventually converted to a 12-yard touchdown run by quarterback Darrius Little. The extra point was fumbled to give Southwest a 13-0 edge late in the fourth quarter.

Later, Kabyn Pearson added a four-yard touchdown run to seal the victory.

Southeast scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 14.6 seconds remaining in the game to deny the shutout, but there was no denying the dominance of Southwest's defense, which didn't allow their opponent within their 30-yard line until that final drive.

"In the past we've been having bad practices, but this week we had very good practices," said Craddock. "The scout team showed us good looks and the defense stepped it up this week. We hit hard and we flew to the ball."

Craddock accumulated eight tackles (four solo) and forced a fumble, but it was obvious Southeast game planned around the talented middle linebacker.

"They were double-teaming me," said Craddock. "They were calling out my number on the offensive line. They were keying on me pretty big, but other players had to step up and they did."

During the spring, Craddock made a somewhat soft oral commitment to North Carolina.

"I'm very sure that I'm going to go to Carolina," said Craddock. "I might visit other schools, but I'm not going to change my mind."

Although no dates have been set, Craddock is entertaining the idea of unofficially visiting Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Craddock was not in attendance for the Tar Heels' home opener, but plans to be in Chapel Hill Saturday for the ACC opener against Virginia Tech.

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