Cayden Cook looks back on Springwood career

Published 5:02 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

Springwood senior Cayden Cook will be finishing his final year at Springwood with a potential playoff berth, but he’s looking more toward the future than the past.

Cook started playing football at the age of six, and he was a Valley Ram before he became a Wildcat in his sophomore year.

“I’ve had five head coaches since I moved to Springwood,” Cook said.

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“It hasn’t always been great, but we’ve always made it fun for ourselves. It hasn’t always been perfect, but we have 11 seniors. It’s been good to have our first winning record. Anybody that’s on the varsity team right now hasn’t had a winning record before this season. It’s a lot more enjoyable than it has been.”

For Cook, he was able to learn from the previous two Springwood senior classes and apply it to teaching the younger players this season.

“I had two senior classes that were awesome to look up to,” Cook said.

“They all helped me mature. I had great coaches that have helped me become a better leader on the field. I’ve become bigger, faster and stronger. I’ve helped myself develop.”

The Wildcats were on the verge of not having a season, but Cook and the other seniors helped head coach Joey Burch put together a region champion team.

“We didn’t have a lot of guys showing up to summer workouts,” Cook said.

“We started telling guys to give it a shot. We wanted more guys to come and just try out. A lot of them were able to find something they enjoyed. We just wanted to make it fun. We want to keep everybody in the right head space, which is what we’ve done all year.”

One of the biggest challenges for Cook was transitioning from 11-man football to 8-man football.

“The biggest challenge is having the full size field but only eight players,” Cook said.

“It’s hard to cover a lot of ground. You have to condition a lot to play half as fast. They aren’t that different, but I like winning, so I like 8-man.”

Cook has enjoyed being a region champion in his senior year.

“It’s been enjoyable for all the seniors,” Cook said.

“We didn’t even know if we would have a team coming into the season, but we ended up having a great team. When we’re firing on all cylinders, we’re a hard team to beat.”

Cook wants to play football in college, but he’s uncertain of where he’ll end up.

“I’ve been trying to talk to more in-state schools,” Cook said.

“I’m trying to get more visits. I’ll take a scholarship or I’ll walk on. I’m fine with anything.”

Cook will finish his career at Springwood under first year head coach Joey Burch, and it’s been an adjustment for him.

“I think the biggest difference has been the chemistry,” Cook said.

“In the past, we always liked each other. I’ve loved the senior classes we’ve had since I’ve been here, but there’s something about this senior class that is almost impossible to not enjoy. There’s no bickering in the team, which is hard to find. Everything has been better this season.”

Cook wants to take what he learned from the previous seniors and teach it to the upcoming classes.

“I hope I can leave behind a state championship,” Cook said.

“I want them to know that you can’t give up on your team. If you stay with it and work as a school, it’ll pay off. They have a bright future ahead of them.”

Cook doesn’t have a favorite memory of playing at Springwood because he believes that lies ahead in the playoffs.

“I haven’t made it yet,” Cook said.

“We still have a home playoff game and the state championship game. I think that will be the one.”

Cook will also miss the people he’s met as a Wildcat.

“I’m going to miss my teammates,” Cook said.

“I’m leaving a great group of guys that I’ve loved playing with. Knowing that most of us won’t play together is tough to get over.”