The nickname was doled out when he was a freshman at Braden River High.
It was in reference to how crazy, in a good way, Craivon Koonce is when making plays on a football field.
Koonce, now a senior, adopted and embraced the name, “Mr. Go Krazy.”
It’s evident with his social media account on Twitter and it came into focus this season.
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“I just go crazy on the field,” Koonce said. “When I’m on the field, I’m in the mode and I don’t have any obstacles. I don’t fear (anything) at all.”
Koonce is Braden River’s second leading receiver with 20 receptions for 496 yards and seven touchdowns and a key contributor to an offense averaging 42.9 points per game in eight full games this season.
But while he’s made some highlight-reel catches as a senior, Koonce spent 2016 dinged up with one injury after another.
“He didn’t get to really showcase all his ability,” Braden River offensive coordinator Eric Sanders said. “This year, he’s been 100 percent healthy and you see it on the field.”
With the offensive firepower showcased these last two seasons with players such as running back Raymond Thomas (now at Northwest Missouri State), quarterback Louis Colosimo (now at Furman), running back Deshaun Fenwick (South Carolina commit), wide receiver/running back Knowledge McDaniel (several Division I interest/offers) and quarterback Bryan Gagg, Koonce was easy to overlook.
Well, at least to those outside Braden River’s program.
“Now you see he’s healthy, and you can kind of see the stuff he can do,” Sanders said. “He’s been balling for us. He’s been doing a great job. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Growing up in Bradenton, Koonce played his Pop Warner football with the Manatee Mustangs. Playing with the Mustangs brought out a competitive fire with standout teammates dotting the field.
Players such as Southeast wide receivers Tyler Stevenson and J.T. Galloway; Palmetto’s Tray Thompskin and Manatee’s Sir Williams were there pushing each other.
That competitiveness only fueled Koonce’s preparation for high school football. He’s one of a few players on this year’s Braden River team that played on the 2015 state semifinal team.
Now a senior, Koonce is shining. And his role is especially important for an extended playoff run if defenses decide to key on Fenwick and/or McDaniel, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday with the Class 7A-Region 3 opener at South Fort Myers.
But through each season and every play that’s called, Koonce has never flashed an ego or questioned how many times he gets the ball, Sanders said.
“He’s always had a team-first attitude,” Sanders said. “He doesn’t care if he’s blocking. He doesn’t care if he’s running. He doesn’t care if he’s catching. He doesn’t care if he’s just out there being a decoy. He doesn’t care about any of that stuff. He wants to win. He’s going to do whatever we ask him to do, and he’s all about the team.”
Mr. Go Krazy, as the nickname warrants, reared up against Sarasota High in mid-October when Koonce leaped for a touchdown catch between two defenders. And then again the next week against Lakewood Ranch when he caught five passes for 146 yards.
Perhaps the best moment this season came in the lead up to Braden River’s busy end to the regular season. Talking with the skill players, head coach Curt Bradley selected Koonce for a jet sweep play designed for the Pirates game against North Port on Oct. 27.
“Everybody was laughing when we gave him the jet sweep, because he’s not one of our most dynamic players,” Bradley said.
So Bradley and Koonce made a gentleman’s wager on whether or not Koonce could pick up eight yards on the play.
When the play ran against North Port, it deteriorated into a busted play and Koonce lost a couple yards. Later, they ran it again and Koonce scored on a 23-yard run.
“We called it a quash after that,” Bradley said.
This week’s games
Manatee at Kissimmee Osceola, 7:30 p.m.
Braden River at South Fort Myers, 7:30 p.m.
Palmetto at Pinellas Park, 7:30 p.m.
Clearwater Superior Collegiate at IMG White, 1 p.m.
Bishop Sullivan (Virginia Beach, Va.) at IMG Blue, 7 p.m.
Jupiter Christian at Saint Stephen’s, 7 p.m.