Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Sports

July 20, 2012

Warriors wanted

Caverna hires Middleton as new football coach

HORSE CAVE — Rodney Middleton, the new head football coach at Caverna High School, is constantly on the go. The ex-Marine and former defensive coordinator for the Colonels is either talking on his cell phone or hopping on his motorcycle and heading off to his next appointment. The guy has a lot of energy.

But that energy will serve Middleton well as he takes on the challenge of guiding the Colonel football program to the upper echelon of Class A football in Kentucky. It may be considered by many as a daunting task, but Middleton said he likes challenges.

“My motivation is that we don’t have a lot of the things that some of the other teams have,” Middleton explained. “So, that’s my motivation. We have to prove to them (other teams) that we’re better. We’re going to go out there every night and fight tooth and nail. Whether we win or not, everyone will know we were there.”

Middleton is no stranger to the Caverna football program. He graduated from CHS in 1993 after playing four years for the Colonels. He then joined the U.S. Marines to serve his country. Middleton received an associate’s degree from Southern Maine Community College and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Kentucky University. He is currently working on his Rank I in special education at the University of the Cumberlands.

Middleton replaces former Caverna coach Jon Sindlinger.

“I am from here. I understand these kids and I came from the same mold they’re from,” Middleton said. “I applied for other positions, but I stayed because I am partial to these kids. I want to show these kids that I know times are tough, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I have been with these seniors since they were freshmen and if I left, I would have felt like I turned my back on them and I just can’t do that. I have always been taught if you start something you have to finish it.”

“Rodney is a graduate of Caverna High School and after serving his country he has come back to serve his community,” said Nick Stephens, athletic director at Caverna. “I know Rodney will be a big plus for our football program. He brings a passion and a dedication to the game and great football knowledge. I believe Rodney will do a good job as coach and that he will coach beyond the X’s and O’s, helping these young men grow up to be successful adults in the community.”

Middleton will have some work to do. The Colonels are 6-27 over the last three years, including a 1-10 mark in 2011.

“We’ve been practicing since about the 10th of this month and it has gone well. The decision was made for me to be head coach and some of the kids already knew what to expect,” said Middleton. “They knew I was going to be tough. I told them from the start that I was going to test them mentally and physically.  And up to this point, they’ve responded.”

Besides coaching the high school team, Middleton and his staff also took on the middle school program. A total of 24 players are on the varsity roster with 15 players on the middle school roster. Middleton said the two squads practice together, running the same drills at the same time.

Caverna fans can expect the Colonels to play hard until the final horn every game next year. And if they don’t, they will have to answer to their coach.

“We will be disciplined. There will be a no-quit mentality. No matter what obstacle these kids  face, they will fight you to the end,” Middleton explained. “I expect perfection. Granted that may not be a realistic approach, but if I set the bar any lower, I feel like I am settling for second best. We’re shooting for the moon, whether we achieve that or not, will be based on our effort.”

And that effort, Middleton said, will be obvious to all Colonel fans on both sides of the ball this season. There will be a lot of energy all over the field.

“My offense and defense will take on the same mentality, the mentality of a warrior,” Middleton said.

“We’re going to fight you. On offense, we will run a pretty conventional offense, but we’re going to spread the field a little bit. We have some speed coming back, and I want to isolate that speed and use it to our benefit.

“On defense,  I am attack-oriented. We will play zone and we will play man. But on every down, someone’s coming. You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen, you have to make them happen.”

The Colonels open the 2012 football season on Friday, Aug. 17, at home against Eminence High School. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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