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Craddock, Sarlls want to have bigger roles at Georgetown

August 17, 2003|JILL ERWIN

John Craddock and Ryan Sarlls have shared plenty of football memories.

The two were on the 1999 Garrard County squad that upset top-seeded Newport in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.

Now, the two hope to both play key roles for Georgetown as the Tigers aim for their fifth consecutive appearance in the NAIA national championship game.

"We get along great," Craddock said. "It feels good because when you go to college, you don't know anybody, and having someone there is something that reminds you of home. It's just easier as you're getting started."

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Craddock is in line to take over placekicking duties for the Tigers. Sarlls is listed second on the depth chart at free safety. Both played sparingly last year and are looking forward to becoming bigger contributors to Georgetown's success.

"I just want to go out and do as good as I can and play as well as I can play," said Craddock, a junior. "If it's good enough, fine. If not, there's nothing I can do about it. I'm just going to prepare to do the things I can do and let the chips fall where they may."

Sarlls, a sophomore, started on the junior varsity team and saw varsity time on special teams and defense last year. He said he expects to see more varsity time in the secondary.

"I want to play a lot more on defense," Sarlls said. "I'd like to be getting in varsity-wise and play on special teams, too."

Craddock spent the summer doing landscaping work - "I didn't want to be inside all summer," he said - and he was recently measured at 6-3, 230 pounds. He knows that's bigger than most placekickers, but he also said that doesn't bother him one bit.

"That is large for a kicker ... abnormal if you will," Craddock said. "I guess it feels good not to be the stereotypical kicker, but I don't care what anybody else thinks.

"I feel ready. It's kind of like, 'If you put in the time, your day will come.' Of course, my freshman year I thought I had the ability to start kicking. But then (Jason) Coy had been there two years and it was his turn. It seems that's the way it goes. It's not about who's kicking the best or who's got the best numbers, it's who you impress in practice. "

Craddock probably won't have many chances to impress with his field goal attempts. Coy attempted only eight last year, connecting on five, and Craddock didn't try a field goal in the homecoming game against Lambuth, his only varsity action of 2002.

"Their attitude is supreme confidence and to go for three instead of seven is showing inferiority to the opponent," Craddock said. "As far as extra points, you get plenty of opportunities with that."

Sarlls said he is looking for an opportunity to show his stuff on the field. He said he enjoyed the drive to the national championship game last year.

"It's awesome, because I didn't get to play in a state championship game in high school," Sarlls said. "Our defense has been really good the last few years. I'm hoping to do what I can to help the team make it five in a row and redeem ourselves from last year's loss (in the title game)."

Both players say they've found the Georgetown team to be more close-knit than the Golden Lions. Sarlls and Craddock said that was a shock at first, but now it's something they wouldn't trade.

"It's kind of surprising because there's a lot more guys on the team in college," Sarlls said. "We spend so much time together and it's a lot more dedicated than high school was."

Craddock is dedicated to making the most of this year.

"Here's my chance and here's why I'm here. If it's a team that doesn't score much, why would I want to go there?" Craddock said. "Your eyes light up when you see that six go up on the scoreboard. You realize as a kicker, if you make one mstake, everyone knows, but if you do your job, it's just expected."

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