Football is much more than just winning or losing, it is a team game that can build strong friendships and memories. No one knows this better than junior running backs Steven Clark Jr. of East Providence High School, and Myles Craddock, of Moses Brown High School. The two have been good friends for over six years since first meeting in the East Providence Junior Townies program, a youth football program where they played together for over three years.
Clark Jr. started playing football at age six when he joined the Junior Townies flag football program in 2012. Four years later, in 2016, he met a new kid on his 10u tackle team. That kid was Myles Craddock, who had just started playing football at ten years old. Clark Jr. quickly befriended Craddock and helped him build friendships with other players on the team.
“We were pretty close. [Clark Jr.] was one of the first people I met on the team, and he introduced me to some of the teammates,” said Craddock
Clark Jr. and Craddock’s bond began to strengthen over the years. They played both offense and defense with each other and were constantly on the field at the same time, whether it was in drills or scrimmage. Through working hard and playing hard together, in practice and in games, they made many great memories along the way.
“[My favorite memory of playing with Craddock was] probably during 13u playoffs versus the CLCF Chiefs because we were both having one of our best games of the season with him grinding yards plus scoring and me just dominating on defense,” said Clark Jr.
In high school, both Clark Jr. and Craddock still play defense as well as offense, with Clark Jr. playing linebacker and Craddock playing cornerback. On offense, both Craddock and Clark Jr. are forces to be reckoned with. Craddock leads Moses Brown in rushing yards per game with 145 and total touchdowns with 16. Clark Jr. has been very productive as well, with a physical style of running as well as breakaway speed. When talking about Steven Clark Jr., Craddock had a lot of praise for his former teammate.
“What really stands out about [Clark Jr.] is his hard and gritty toughness. He is one of the toughest people I have ever played with, and it comes out in his character as well. I think my favorite memory of [playing with Clark Jr.] was just his overall being as a teammate. He was someone who was always going to give 100% effort and enjoyed every down of football he played,” said Craddock
Both backs are coming off wins last week for their respective teams, with Clark Jr. leading the charge in a 28-13 win over Burrillville with two touchdowns. This was a must have win for East Providence for them to make the playoffs. On the other hand, Moses Brown was helped by Craddock’s three touchdowns in their 22-14 win over the previously undefeated West Warwick Wizards. Moses Brown is currently undefeated.
Although Clark Jr. and Craddock now go to different schools, and don’t see or talk to each other as often, they still maintain their friendship and keep in touch with each other.
“We show each other love here and there through the football season, but we don’t talk all the time, we both now go to different schools and have tight schedules,” said Clark Jr.
When watching highlights of Craddock and Clark Jr., it is not surprising that they grew up playing together. Both have a great toughness and strength to them, paired with nimbleness and vision, making them both great backs on offense, as well as great defensive players. Craddock and Clark Jr. are both having great junior seasons, and they are proud of not only their own performances on the field, but each other’s as well.
“It gives me a great sense of pride knowing that we are both doing our thing on our own separate teams cause we both know it reverts back to the Junior Townie days. I think those experiences when we were younger will bond us and the rest of the team forever which makes it extra special to see someone like that having a great season,” said Craddock
Clark Jr. also showed appreciation for his former teammate and the season he is putting together, as well as acknowledging his own performance so far.
“It feels good to know I’m having some type of success on the field and knowing all the hard work that I put in on and off the field is starting to pay off, and it makes me feel good to know that my bro I grew up playing football with is starting to make a name for himself and putting in that hard work,” said Clark Jr.
The two longtime friends will each be playing this weekend, with Clark Jr. and the playoff bound Townies taking on the powerhouse Bishop Hendricken Hawks this Friday. Craddock and the undefeated Quakers will face the 2-5 Pilgrim Patriots on Saturday. Both players will look to expand upon their productive seasons and will hope to help their teams continue to be in the win column with playoffs on the horizon.
Both games will be broadcasted live on Fansonlysportz.com
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