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San Diego High School Player of the Week : Kevin Crawford Takes His Own Path to Success

October 21, 1987|STEVE BEATTY

CHULA VISTA — It hasn't been easy for Kevin Crawford being "Daryl's little brother."

As a senior at Montgomery High School in 1985, Daryl Crawford was the leading rusher in San Diego County. Kevin was a sophomore running back on the varsity that season. Everyone expected Kevin to be as as successful as Daryl, who is now a sophomore linebacker at San Diego State.

"It wasn't fair," said Kevin, a senior. "I'd read in the newspaper, 'Daryl's little brother did this.' Or they'd talk about his rushing title. We're two different people."

But after Friday night's game against Hilltop, Kevin figures he may have finally emerged.

Crawford, The Times' Player of the Week, returned the opening kickoff 95 yards, ran for two touchdowns in the second quarter and intercepted a pass from his free safety position and returned it 55 yards for his fourth touchdown in a 33-14 victory for Montgomery (3-3). Crawford also rushed for 65 yards in 6 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown run and a 19-yard gain that set up his 5-yard touchdown run.

Crawford, who is also a safety, started on offense last season but was not a starter on defense until this season. He had made a lot of tackles, but he did not have an interception until Friday.

Crawford scored 14 touchdowns as a junior, but he had scored only twice before Friday.

"I got off to a slow start, " Crawford said. "It's tough when you don't get a lot of carries. I felt like I was playing all right on defense, but I seemed to get there when everybody else was already there (to make a tackle). It was time to get in the end zone."

Montgomery Coach Steve Summers said Crawford began to put pressure on himself after the first few games when he did not produce big numbers.

"You could see he wanted to do much better," Summers said. "You could see he was really bearing down. I think he knew he was going to have good games, but early on, he was frustrated."

Part of the reason Crawford has not had as many opportunities to run the ball is Montgomery's new wishbone offense that distributes carries among three backs--Crawford, Greg Sallee and junior Chris Charfauros. Crawford had more chances last year when the team ran a two-back system.

"That situation works out well for us," Summers said. "The other team can't just play one guy. Greg is more of an inside runner. Kevin runs outside better.

"Kevin has averaged about 60 or 70 yards a game, which is good for a lot of players. But it wasn't up to his standards."

Or the standards of others, who expected him to be as good as his brother.

"I think he has pretty much shed that," Summers said. "They have two different styles. Kevin makes one or two moves and then has a lot of speed. Daryl was a shifty runner. He made a lot of moves and maybe changed field directions three or four times."

Kevin said of Daryl: "He calls me and gives me advice sometimes. I like that. But I think I'm finally getting away from being compared to him."

Kevin Crawford

Montgomery High School

Positions: Halfback, safety.

Height, Weight, Class: 5-8, 185, Sr.

Last Week: Returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, scored on runs of 40 and 5 yards in the second quarter and returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Montgomery's 33-14 victory over Hilltop.

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