The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

October 29, 2012

Tarboro Vikings get No. 1 seed

North, SouthWest earn playoff seeds

TARBORO — All three Edgecombe County football teams are in the playoffs.

After winning three straight NCHSAA Class 2-A state championships and going undefeated during the regular season, Tarboro's Vikings were seeded No.1 overall in the 2-A East bracket, which was released Saturday.

Additionally, North Edgecombe was seeded No. 9 and will host 11th-seeded Weldon in the first round. North defeated Weldon 14-8 three weeks ago to gain the edge in the seedings.

Also, SouthWest Edgecombe received a No. 13 overall seed in the 2-AA East bracket and will travel to play No. 6 seed East Duplin.

For Tarboro, this has become a regular occurrence.

At the conclusion of the regular season each year, Vikings Head Coach Jeff Craddock says the playoffs are a five-week journey that his team has to go on and be successful if they want to achieve greatness and win a state title. The Vikings have done just that the previous three seasons.

Tarboro wrapped up its undefeated regular season Friday night with a 34-0 victory against the Beddingfield Bruins, earning its third Eastern Plains Conference title in four years.

Before the playoff brackets were released, Craddock said he wasn't going to worry about where his team was seeded, because they had done everything possible to get the top seed.

When the seedings came out, Craddock was pleased with the seed but not with the opponent, because the Vikings will be facing the same team they battered Friday night. Beddingfield received the No.16 seed and got into the playoffs as a wild card, finishing the year with a 4-6 record.

Craddock said the top seed was a blessing, but playing a conference opponent isn't.

And a second conference foe in a row could be in line in round two of the playoffs if Tarboro beats Beddingfield and No.8 Kinston defeats No.9 First Flight.

Unlike past seasons, changes in classification mean Tarboro won't have to play the likes of Northside Jacksonville or East Duplin, because those teams are in the 2-AA bracket.

The possibility of playing a familiar foe holds into the third round, should both Tarboro and Edenton Holmes win their first two games. The Vikings defeated Holmes 28-26 to earn its first home playoff game of the year last year in the fourth round.

The Vikings have been one of the best teams in the state the past five years, posting a 67-5 record, but Craddock said that wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for his coaching staff.

"Without my coaching staff there is no Tarboro football," he said. " I have said that for years. I am only as good as the people I have underneath me and they do a tremendous job with our players."

Craddock knows that to win he had to have a coaching staff that was completely focused on making his program better. He said he has enjoyed working with the group he has coaching under him.

"I love working with these guys I have helping me," Craddock said. "We get along awesome and we all have great relationships on and off the field."

The entire coaching staff is with each other seven days a week. It all begins when they start their summer workouts and carries over into August when the season begins.

Craddock said his coaching staff takes the game and teaching each individual kid personally because they want their players to be the best they can be. He said the staff takes pride in how their players perform in every phase of the game.

"If you take my staff away, then we aren't the team that we have been," Craddock said. "I couldn't be more proud of our staff. All of them do a great job day in and day out."

Game time Friday night at Tarboro High School is 7:30.


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