The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


November 13, 2013

Tarboro controls its destiny

TARBORO — The No. 1 seeded Tarboro Vikings have been very productive in the playoffs the past five years where they compiled an impressive 23-2 record during that stretch. The stretch includes three consecutive state championships (2009, 2010 and 2011) and a tough 24-20 loss last season in their final 2-A title appearance.

That loss left a bad taste in Coach Jeff Craddock and his returner's mouths and made them even hungrier heading into this season.

This year they had a new start – in 1-A Two Rivers Conference – where Tarboro dominated every opponent that stepped on the field. They controlled both sides of the football in each game.

Tarboro (9-2, 5-0) has outscored their last five opponents by an average of 47.4 points per game and through 11 games they outscored opponent by 30 plus points. They are producing 330.5 yards per game on the ground and are scoring massive amounts of points. while they are averaging 54.8 points per contest over the last five games heading into the playoffs and 38.4 points this season.

Tarboro had two streaks end this season on the same night. when they lost their first game at home in six years and lost two non-conference games in the same season.

Craddock isn't as concerned about those types of things now that the playoffs have arrived. He sees the playoffs as a new season for his team to conquer more goals such as winning another state championship.

"These guys have been biting at the bit the last couple of weeks, because they knew it was getting close to playoff time," Craddock said. "The opponent isn't going to be the issue, because we will be ready for them, it's going to be about us getting better and trying to play perfect games on Friday nights."

There is one streak in tact that the Vikings don't want to break – making it back to the state championship game Dec. 13 in Winston-Salem.

Before they make it that far though, they have to get through four other opponents in what looks like could be a tough bracket with three other strong programs that they could possibly face. The Vikings will have to face Wallace-Rose Hill in the third round vying both teams win their first two contests. Then they will face either James Kenan, who is the No. 1 seed in the Mideast or Whiteville the No. 2 seed, but that game won't be until the fourth week in the East Regional final.

Tarboro appears to have the right pieces to get better each week, because Craddock has added 12 JV players to his roster. The JV team had an impressive season going 9-0 and only allowed 22 points the entire year. The JV squad has been able to help the varsity team, because their able to give them competition in practice when they run the scout offense and defense.

"Our focus is always on us getting better," Craddock said. "The great thing about having a great JV program is the kids come up and give you that extra energy and make our varsity practice harder and faster."

Tarboro will start their run against the No. 8 seeded Spring Creek Gators Friday night in their five game journey to capture state championship No. 5 for the school.

"We don't play for county championships. Yes it's nice to win them," Craddock said.  "Our ultimate goal is to win a state championship and to do that you have to be as good as you possibly can. Having that goal in mind as coaches and players it is easy to continue to move forward to the next week and get better so we can make it back to the championship game."

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