In addition to starring on the gridiron for the Wolverines this season, the senior has also been a standout in the classroom.
“No. 1, he’s a good student — he takes academics very seriously,” said Union Grove coach Paul Burgdorf. “I think his work ethic is unmatched … he leads by example.
“And, he’s a very very tough competitor.”
That same competitive nature and an extraordinary skill set translated into sensational numbers this season. Craine had already accounted for over 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns heading into the Wolverine’s GHSA Class 5-A playoff tilt against Ware County last week.
Craine is built to accomplish feats like that — figuratively and literally.
“Derrick goes 210 pounds … I think [opposing players] would call him a bruiser,” said Burgdorf. “But, he’s got more athleticism than that.”
Just ask previous playoff opponent Bainbridge. Craine, ever the workhorse, churned out 206 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries while helping Union Grove’s stout D pitch a shutout in an 18-0 win.
The same storyline played out the week before that as he exploded for 292 yards on 27 carries while doing his part defensively as the Wolverines topped McIntosh by a score of 35-14.
If his stellar production on the offensive side of the ball was not enough, the senior standout also made a significant impact quarterbacking the Wolverines’ defense from the middle linebacker position.
“He’s got the same personality on defense as when he’s on the other side of the ball,” said Burgdorf. “He wants to make plays … and he’s around the ball an awful lot, like a middle linebacker should be.”
Despite his best efforts to turn the tide, Craine’s season and high school career ended last week at the hands of Ware County on the road.
The Union Grove faithful can take some solace in the fact that their two-platoon star will look to make his mark for his next team on Saturday afternoons, as early as next fall.
Craine has thus far garnered interest from the likes of University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Wofford, Furman and Mercer. Wherever he decides to play his college ball, expect him to put the same degree of work in both on and off the field.
Craine’s exploits make him a bonafide candidate for both the Henry Neighbor 2012-13 “Football Player of the Year” and “Prep Sportsman of the Year.”