To say Brandon McCladdie is soft-spoken is more than an understatement, but there is one thing the Evans freshman doesn't hesitate to say loud and clear.
Brandon McCladdie, a freshman member of the Evans High School junior varsity team, is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"I want to beat Lakeside," he said. "I want to beat them bad."
It's nothing personal. The Panthers sit between Evans and the County Cup, Columbia County's Junior Varsity championship.
McCladdie, a safety on the Evans junior varsity team, went a long way in giving the Knights a shot at the Cup with a strong defensive performance this past Thursday night in Evans' 20-6 win at Harlem.
"He's a great athlete," Evans junior varsity head coach Bryce Massey said. "When we need a big play we look to him."
McCladdie made two big plays in the area matchup at Harlem.
In a scoreless game late in the first quarter, McCladdie snatched a Harlem pass out of the air and took the interception 70 yards for a touchdown.
The Knights eventually took a 14-6 lead into the fourth quarter, but Harlem threatened to tie the game up late.
That's when McCladdie struck again.
The starting safety grabbed his second interception of the game and returned the pick 27 yards for another touchdown.
The defensive stop was enough to seal Evans' 20-6 win.
"We knew he was a good athlete when he came up from middle school," Massey said. "We didn't quite expect this from him."
Evans remains undefeated at 2-0 in county play with wins over Harlem and Greenbrier.
Thursday's win at Harlem eliminates the Bulldogs from their push for the County Cup and guarantees the Evans Knights a spot in the championship game against Lakeside on Oct. 20.
A week before the championship game, Lakeside and Evans will face each other in their scheduled regular-season meeting. That game will determine home-field advantage for the County Cup game.
"This is a rally cry for us," Massey said. "It's a junior varsity championship, but that sets the tone for the future."
Lakeside and Evans will meet for their final regular-season match Oct. 13 at Lakeside.
The winner will be the host site for the County Cup game.
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