“A bunch of people say that it’s weird for your dad to be the coach, but it really hasn’t been weird to me.”
Caden said he started his career as a running back, playing with fellow Buffs senior Cade Harkins on a Boys & Girls Club team that made its league’s Super Bowl and gave Caden his first taste of the atmosphere at Hook Eales Stadium. He moved to quarterback in the seventh grade, then switched to receiver once he got to McAlester High School, making varsity as a freshman and getting on the field on special teams and at defensive back.
Caden can still remember his first tackle as a Buffalo, made on special teams during the 2010 season-opener against Durant at Hook Eales.
“I had no idea it was going to be like that,” Caden said. “I never wanted to play another freshman game after that point. It like consumed me.”
While Caden enjoyed some success his first two years, his breakout year came as a junior in 2012. He took over as quarterback midway through the first quarter of the Buffs’ season-opener against Stillwater, then went on to record about 2,800 all-purpose offensive yards.
“I guess you could say I got in my zone, and then I realized that it was my time to step up,” Caden said.
“Definitely had to get in a groove with all my teammates, and we seemed to work things out pretty well.”
The accolades didn’t end when the 2012 football season ended in the state semifinals. Caden took home regional and state powerlifting titles in March, setting a national record in the 132-pound weight class and helping the Buffs win State in Class 5A, then finished fourth in the state in the long jump at the 5A Track & Field State Championships in May.