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Cameron Smith

Running back carries football for years, leads team to league title

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Any high school or college football fan has heard at least one story about a player who was forced to carry a ball with him at all times after suffering through a bad stretch of fumble-itis. Yet no matter how long those struggling backs of years past may have lugged a ball as punishment, they've got nothing on Concord-Carlisle (Mass.) High junior running back George Craan, who has carried a football with him every single day for the past 11 years.

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"I've always [carried a football] because I love it," Craan told the Boston Globe. "I can't be without it. It started back in elementary school. In recess they'd never have a football, only kickball. So I brought my own. I carried it all the time. And I still do.''

The security Craan gets from toting a football everywhere has helped make him a secure ball carrier, and make Concord-Carlisle a regional power. The Patriots won the Dual-County League for the second consecutive year, earning a bid in the Division 2A state semifinals against 9-1 North Andover.

That's a long ways from where the Patriots were when head coach Mike Robichaud took charge of the program two years ago. Craan has been a huge part of the program's rebuilding job, powering a run-first wing-T attack that relies on having a versatile featured back.

"We're a run-first team,'' Robichaud told the Globe. "Some may call it boring, but we think it's pretty good. We rely heavily on our line and specifically our guards. They kick-start the whole thing. When we get one of those guys out in front of George, good things happen.

"George is a guy - in terms of his focus, his enthusiasm, and how supportive he is of his teammates - he's everything you want in a player. He's a great motivator and a hard worker. Every play, every game, he's going all out. He's not going to overlook anyone or take any opponent lightly.''

If Craan does lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl title, he'll fulfill a promise he made to Robichaud on one of the coach's first days on the job.

"We were at a basketball game and he walked right over. ‘Congratulations,' he said. ‘Coach, we're going to win a Super Bowl.' I laughed and told him we've got a long way to go.''

The Patriots are almost there, thanks to a guy who has carried a football for more than 4,000 days in a row.

"We want nothing more than postseason success,'' Craan told the Globe. "But we're not there yet."

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Sep 3 9:00 am
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