Running back Craig Philpot shines despite team’s tough season


Sean Sweeney

No days off: Senior running back Craig Philpot spends his afternoons practicing to achieve his goal of playing football in college.

For many Grady football fans, the name Craig Philpot is known and can be heard every Friday night as the announcer informs fans as the senior running back entered the end zone yet again.

On the field and off the field, Philpot constantly proves himself as a student athlete.

“Grady football has taught me to get things done in the classroom first, and after that, you are more than welcome to show your talent on Friday nights,” Philpot said, referring to the discipline he gained from the sport.

A tough season ending with a 2-7 record proved to be hard on both coaches and players. Despite harsh week-to-week results, Philpot stayed with the team as other players quit. 

“No matter how the team is, always be a team player and keep your head up,” Philpot said.

Philpot enjoyed a successful season as the lead back in Grady’s offense, averaging 113.7 yards per game on the ground. He scored four touchdowns on the season. Despite the success, the 5’10” tailback flew under the radar for many colleges, as he has yet to receive a scholarship offer.

Despite this, Philpot looks ahead to the next chapter of his life where he plans to go to college and “be the next big thing.” He has explored different options, but looks to Georgia Tech as his number one school in hopes of playing under coach Paul Johnson, who was former coach Earthwind Moreland’s college coach at Georgia Southern.

Moreland, who was dismissed last month, was Philpot’s coach his entire high school career and helped Philpot through the college football recruitment process.

“He has introduced me to many college coaches, and he has taught me not only to play football, but to actually know football,” Philpot said.

After this year, Philpot will go on to the next stage of his life and hopes to leave behind a football legacy. In addition to the athlete’s departure, Moreland will also not return as coach next year. Although the two are going opposite ways, Philpot will always remember the lessons the coach taught him.

“One of Moreland’s quotes that I will always remember is ‘you do not have to do something special to be special, just do your job,’” Philpot said.

Philpot has not only been able to set an example as an athlete but also as a leader.

Teammates look to him for encouragement and inspiration as he pushes the team in every practice.

“Craig talks to teammates when they are frustrated with the coaches, provides a positive outlook on all situations, and puts a smile on everyone’s face in and out of the locker room,” said senior kicker Quinn Cowden, who left the team before the season ended. “He pushes the team to not cut corners and to strive for greatness.”

Philpot joined the team as a starter his freshman year and continued to improve. He didn’t see consistent playing time as the starting running back until this year, being shuffled in as an outside linebacker with little time in the backfield. Philpot’s patience paid off as he was named First Team running back on the All-Region Team for Region 6AAAAA this year.

“Craig has grown tremendously throughout high school,” said Cowden. “He has a tenacious mindset that not only inspires his teammates but also inspires the school.”  

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