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Caverna Football: Colonels will be more disciplined in 2023

By Thomas Wampler, Jobe Sports

The 2022 Caverna Football team finished 3-7 last season in the last year of a 6-year run under former head coach, Eric Lasley. New head Coach, Trevent Hayes, takes over in 2023 just as the Colonels re-enter Class 1A District 1 football play. Lasley led the Colonels to a 5-6 record in 2021, but the Colonels slipped his last season.

Out with the old and in with the new.

Caverna High School’s new head coach, Trevent Hayes, took time during the Colonel’s 2023 Media Day for an interview. Light rain forced the activities inside the gym, but that did not dampen the players’ enthusiasm or the respectful way they addressed the media. Coach Hayes’ complete interview will be in the fall sports specials later this fall in the Barren County Progress and the Hart County News Herald special sports sections.

“I was never a fan of getting out of the district,” began Coach Hayes. “Having the caliber of players we had in that freshmen class last year, there were some kids that could have been statistical leaders in the state and they could not get recognized because we were not in the district.”

Two key players for the 2023 Caverna High School Colonel football team, # 24 junior linebacker, LD Waggoner and sophomore receiver #11, Jaylin Craine.
Photo by T Wampler JPI Sports

Hayes said he has been looking at the three teams they face back-to-back in district play (Fulton County, Russellville, Ballard Memorial–in District 1 Class 1A football) and that Russellville won 1 game, and Ballard and Fulton did not win a game. “You can’t tell by that,” he said. “We believe we can compete with the teams in our district and the teams on our schedule.”

“We are going to have to go out and play against Muhlenberg County (5A),” Hayes continued. “They will have 65-70 players. They will try and wear us down.”

“I think we got the talent to play with them and if we can come out of the Muhlenberg game with a win, I think there is a chance we can be 5-0 or at worst 4-1 going into the Hart County game (6th game on schedule),” Hayes said. “If we can do that, then we’ve got a lot of things on our side.”

Returning on their schedule will be Edmonson County, a team that Caverna has split with in the last two seasons. Since they did not play in a district last season, the Wildcats are the only school returning from their 2022 schedule.


Coach Hayes and the 2023 Colonels will be facing in a 3-game stretch–Fulton County, Russellville, Ballard Memorial–in District 1 Class 1A football action, before finishing their regular season with a new but local area opponent, Monroe County.

Caverna High School new head coach, Trevent Hayes, during the Colonel’s 2023 Media Day. The light rain forced the activities inside the gym, but that did not dampen the players enthusiasm or the respectful way they addressed the media. Coach Haye’s complete interview will be in the fall sports specials later this year in the Barren County Progress and the Hart County News Herald.
Photo by T Wampler JPI Sports

The other teams on their 2023 schedule will be new except rival Hart County. The Colonels have opened with the Raiders in recent football action, but the game has been moved to near the midway point this year and will be played at home on September 22nd.


After the Raider game, the Colonels begin that important 3-game district stretch. The Colonel’s travel to Muhlenberg County (5A) to open the season. They host Fairview (Class 1A District 6) and Eminence (Class 1A District 5) before Edmonson comes to Caverna.

The Colonels travel to Shawnee (2A) before the Hart County game.

The Colonels have 2 seniors on their KHSAA roster: # 5 Conner Mudd and #72 team captain, Cody Ginez. In Hayes’ complete interview in the fall sports specials, the coach will talk about the seniors and other key players for the Colonels in 2023.

One thing that was crystal clear from interviewing Hayes and his players, was that the 2023 Colonels will be more disciplined, on and off the field. Hayes said that was one thing that was very important to him and his coaching staff. Last season, the Colonels were one of the most penalized football teams in the state. “I pointed out to them in our first meeting that they averaged more than 100 yards in flags, in penalties,” he said. “That came from a lack of discipline. Everybody uses the excuse that Caverna’s small, that we don’t have the numbers. We are going to win with what we’ve got.”

One change the 2023 Colonels will have will be at quarterback. Junior Russell Williams will be the starting quarterback for the Colonels. Coach Hayes did not rule out the possibility that last year’s starter, Jaylin Craine, could see action at QB to utilize his experience and running abilities. Craine has moved to receiver in 2023 as his primary offensive position.

Williams said this was his first year at QB, but he has been “playing football his whole life.”

The starting quarterback for the Caverna High School Colonels football team, # 3 junior, Russell Williams. Williams was excited to get the season started as they prepared to scrimmage Friday night. Williams said he had a talented group of receivers and they were “developing a strong connection” during an interview at Colonel’s Media Day last week.
Photo by T Wampler JPI Sports

“I love football,” began Wiliams. “I’ve been working with Coach Hayes and he has been a big help teaching me how to play the position and what he expects from me.” Williams said he has been with Hayes everyday in the weightroom before practice and then he worked with the receivers and his coach on his throwing and timing.

“They look amazing,” Williams answered with a big smile when asked how his group of receivers looked in practice. “I am thankful for all the players on my team, my offensive line and all my coaches.”

Williams said they all have helped and supported him in his progress at quarterback.

“I am comfortable playing wide receiver and safety,” Craine said. “I just want to play my best at whatever position will help the team win.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Craine, when asked if he was ready to be back playing in Class 1A District 1. “I am ready to win the district. That’s our goal and Coach Hayes has the team playing with confidence that we can win the district.”

Craine said he has improved individually in his pass catching abilities by “working hard” and the team has improved in a lot of areas, but especially in the area of discipline. “Coach Hayes believes that we can run and throw the football successfully,” concluded Craine. “We can’t wait for the season to get started.”

More player interviews and photos will be in the fall sports specials.

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