Josh Crawford recently capped his second consecutive unbeaten season at Edgewood, but this year, the junior added a few roles to his resume. With senior quarterback Taylor Hawthorne missing most of five games with a knee injury, Crawford stepped into the role of quarterback for half of the season, finishing with 10 touchdown passes before relinquishing the duties to Hawthorne in the final regular season game of the 2013 season.
He completed 36 of 71 passes for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns with one interception; rushed for 1,675 yards and 27 touchdowns on 204 carries; caught 33 passes for 491 yards and six more touchdowns; added 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns on seven kickoff returns; had 42 yards on a pair of punt returns; added another touchdown on a missed field goal return; and recorded 40 tackles and a pair of interceptions in spot duty on defense at safety and inside linebacker.
He recently sat down to talk about the 2013 season:
Expectations for 2013 and how Hawthorne’s injury changed his perspective
“Going into the year, we had set it up to play Hawthorne at quarterback and me at running back. We were rolling through the year with a couple of wins and then we got to Autauga and Hawthorne goes down. I think I had started practicing quarterback that week, just in case something was to happen, and I played quarterback until he got back. It was a lot to take on myself because Hawthorne is my main man. But as a team, we stepped up and took on the challenge.”
How you evolved as a quarterback?
“Coach knew I could throw it, heading into the season, and he knew if I was in a (Wildcat) package like that, they would expect me to run it. So when I threw it, they wouldn’t be expecting it. When Hawthorne went down, I stayed extra late to get extra reps in because I knew if I didn’t perform, we were going to lose. But as a team, we fought hard, and they gathered around me and pushed me hard.”
How you can loosen up tight situations or focus when things are lax
“I guess it’s just playing the game for a long time. I played with my brother when I was younger (at Charles Henderson High). I got to watch him be that leader, and I always wanted to be that guy. I feel like I took on that role when I came to Edgewood.”
Extending the state’s longest winning streak and winning four straight championships
“Coach is always saying, ‘Just keep grinding.’ We had a whole lot of people go down with injuries this year, and Coach kept telling us to play one game at a time. We never talked about the streak, but it was always in the back of our heads. It just speaks volumes for our program and how we do things the right way.”
On accounting for 46 touchdowns this season
“I really haven’t thought about it. My focus has been on winning. I’d rather get a win than get seven touchdowns. As long as we got a win, I was perfectly fine.”
What does 2014 look like?
“I feel pretty good going into my senior year. We’re only losing three starters. This past year, we lost all of our starters but three. We’ve got a whole lot of guys coming back. We’re real young, so I feel like we’ll have another good year and make another title run.”
Your goals for 2014?
“Sometimes I do (set goals), but my main goal is to always win a championship. My first year (in 2012), that was my main goal because I had never won a championship before and there were guys in the locker room with four or five of them (football and baseball). I was just trying to get to where they are. This award is amazing. I never thought I’d get it. I really appreciate it.”
Your favorite position in college
“I’d guess I’d have to go with whichever one let me play. If I was to go to a school that had six running backs, but only had four wide receivers and I could play receiver, I’d go play receiver. I just thank God for my ability to be versatile.”
Highlight this season
“Probably the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me was in the first game of the season (against Hooper), and we got a blocked field goal. It fell right into my hands, and I looked to the sidelines like, ‘Am I supposed to run with it?’ Everybody was saying, ‘Go, go go,’ and I took off for about 60 yards and the easiest touchdown I’ve ever had. That was probably one of the craziest things that has ever happened.”